"It Was Fitting": Why the Gospel Isn't Arbitrary
When some people compare religions with each other, they can come away thinking that they are all arbitrary. Not so with biblical Christianity. The Christian gospel is not merely another clever scheme to provide what Karl Marx called, “the opiate of the people”. The Christian message of salvation has an internal consistency. It fits.
It Was Fitting
In the anonymous sermon-letter to the Hebrews, the writer makes a striking comment about the purposes of Jesus Christ in being sent to live, die, and rise from the dead in order to “bring many sons to glory”. The writer says of this wonderful message in Hebrews 2.10 that “it was fitting” that God would do things this way. There was an appropriateness to it. It made sense based on the kind of God he is. This plan was not out of character. It wasn’t from out in left field. This was a salvation plan that was even resonant with the tones of God’s own character. The plan had a certain righteousness about it.
The Medium is the Message
There is a way that the gospel is designed. It has been carried out as Jesus fulfilled the promises of a Messiah in a manner that only God the Son could do. So if the gospel is ‘fitting’ according to Hebrews 2.10 then there is something inside of God that is put on display. And that is exactly what Romans 3.25-26 says, namely that what Jesus did was, “to show” something about God. What was it? It was to show God’s righteousness. The conclusion of this ‘display’ is this: what was inside of God is revealed outwardly. God’s internal character is shared externally. God’s purpose is to demonstrate, “that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus” (Rom 3.26). This isn’t an arbitrary, fly-by-night sort of plan. This is a consistent, reliable expression of what is consistent within. God is righteous and he wants you to know about it through the good news of the gospel. And in this case, as Marshall McLuhan famously said, ‘the medium is the message’. God is righteous, and the gospel medium communicates that message.
Does it Fit?
One consideration when you are looking at anything from the size of shoes to the size of tires is the question, ‘Does it fit?’ When we speak with our friends, neighbors and cash register acquaintances we can know that the gospel message is not merely one of many arbitrary religious salvation ladders. Our message is consistent with, and comes from the character of God himself. It is fitting. And it is fitting because it is true.