Over the last few weeks, we have been exploring, “What is the Gospel?” We’ve allowed Paul, in 1 Corinthians 15, to outline and answer that question for us. Now it’s time to summarize and wrap up our series by discussing the final piece of the Gospel story. What does it mean for God to be “all in all”?
Outline of the Gospel Story
To briefly review, we have said that the Gospel is comprised of seven essential points:
- Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures.
- He was buried.
- He was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.
- In Adam, we all die, but in Christ, we will all be made alive: Jesus is the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to him.
- At his coming, he will deliver the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power.
- He must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet and the last enemy to be destroyed is death.
- When all things are subjected to the Father, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him, that God may be all in all.
To restate that, we might say that because of sin, humanity was dead and dying; not in some “spiritual” sense, but very literally. Because of the “fear of death,” humanity was “subject to lifelong slavery” (Hebrews 2:15). In keeping with all of his promises in the Hebrew Scriptures, God sent the Messiah, the Priestly King of Israel.
The Messiah offered himself as a sacrifice for the sins of Jews and Gentiles. And because of his faithfulness to the Father, the Father raised the Messiah from the dead. The Messiah’s resurrection is the first of many resurrections. Eventually, all of the people the Messiah has redeemed from death will be raised to live forever.
God currently reigns as King through the mediation of the Messiah. However, one day all of God’s enemies will be vanquished and the Messiah will no longer need to reign as the mediator between God and man. The Messiah will submit his rule and reign to God the Father after all of his enemies are put under his feet.
This leaves only the seventh and final point, “When all things are subjected to the Father, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him, that God may be all in all.” What does this mean that God will be “all in all”?
God is All in All
For Paul, God being “all in all” seems to be the main point, the conclusion and pinnacle, of the Gospel story. This is where this entire story of Jesus is heading. If that’s true, it seems rather important for us to understand what it means for God to be “all in all.”
Consider how some paraphrases have rendered 1 Corinthians 15:28:
“Then, when all things are under his authority, the Son will put himself under God’s authority, so that God, who gave his Son authority over all things, will be utterly supreme over everything everywhere” (New Living Translation).
“But when all things have been placed under Christ’s rule, then he himself, the Son, will place himself under God, who placed all things under him; and God will rule completely over all” (Good News Translation).
“When everything and everyone is finally under God’s rule, the Son will step down, taking his place with everyone else, showing that God’s rule is absolutely comprehensive—a perfect ending!” (The Message).
This is the conclusion of the Gospel story: When the Messiah tramples the last enemy, death, the Messiah will submit himself to the reign of the Father and all things will have been brought into submission to the Father. God will rule completely, comprehensively, and supremely over all things everywhere.
What a perfect way to end the Gospel story, but this brings us back to our original question and the reason we started this blog series in the first place. Is this the way we typically tell the Gospel story? Is this the main point of the Gospel story, in our minds?
Summarizing the Gospel
Isn’t it interesting that we typically say things like, “The Gospel is about Jesus dying for us so we can go to heaven.” That’s not just an oversimplification, it’s simply inaccurate.
Here is one way we might summarize the Gospel a little more accurately:
The Gospel is the Good News that Jesus, the long-awaited Priestly King of Israel, has been victorious over death; he will eventually destroy sin and death and will bring all things under God’s rule.
Yes, that summary needs more explanation and it may be harder to share with people on the street, but that is the true Gospel. If we want to truly help people become followers of Jesus, we will share with them the actual Good News story.
I love you and God loves you,