For over a century Westerners have been reinventing the gospel and mission with disastrous results.
Jim Hamilton helps blow away the confusion with a careful study of the central theme of the book of Acts. This is what he concludes on the gospel in Acts:
God’s justice is seen in his righteous reversal of the unjust condemnation of Jesus, in his just calling to account of those who perpetrated that crime, and in the proclamation that forgiveness of sins is available through Jesus.
Forgiveness is available through Jesus because Jesus has satisfied God’s justice in his death on the cross. Thus, the justice of God is of a piece with the salvation of God. God demonstrates his mercy by making a way for sins to be forgiven through the death of Jesus. Upholding his justice through the death of Jesus, God can extend mercy to guilty people who deserve only justice.
This mercy is offered to those who crucified the Messiah, and the redemptive mercy of God is put on display through the healings and teachings that the witnesses to the resurrection do in Acts.
God’s justice and his mercy balance one another. The justice keeps the mercy from becoming insipid sentimentality, while the mercy keeps the justice from crushing all with just punishment. Justice and mercy serve a higher aim … for both display God and evoke the glory that God rightly deserves.
Luke wrote his Gospel and Acts as one story told in two halves.
Acts shows that at the heart of mission is the spread of the gospel resulting in disciples and churches to the glory of God.