The gospel that Paul preached was the gospel of completion: he was entrusted by God with the commission of completing the word of God, and the gospel he received was not from men but given to him by revelation of Jesus Christ.
The center of the gospel of Paul is God Himself in His Trinity becoming the processed and consummated all-inclusive life-giving Spirit to be our life and our everything. The gospel is not merely something initial for our salvation but it includes the dispensing of the Triune God into us as life to fill our whole being with the divine life for the building up of the church as the Body of Christ.
When we received the Lord Jesus, He came into us as life, and His desire is to be our everything; when we rest, we can take Him as our rest, when we eat, we take Him as our food, and when we drink, we take Him as our real drink. Christ wants to be our real food, drink, and enjoyment, so that we can be one with Him for His eternal expression.
We see all these in the gospel that Paul preached, as recorded in his fourteen epistles in the New Testament. Paul’s gospel is according to the revelation of the mystery; this mystery is twofold: the mystery of God (Christ) and the mystery of Christ (the church), that is, the great mystery of Christ and the church.
We are blessed today to be under the ministry of the age which brings us into a deeper understanding not only of the first four Gospels but also of Paul’s completing gospel.
Aspects of the Gospel as seen in the Gospel of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John
In each of the first four Gospels we see particular aspects of the gospel; each gospel reveals a particular aspect of Christ and of the gospel. Matthew’s gospel is the gospel of the kingdom, Mark’s gospel is the gospel of service, Luke’s gospel is the gospel of the forgiveness of sins, and John’s gospel is the gospel of life.
Matthew reveals that Christ, the Son of David, came as the King to establish the kingdom of the heavens on earth, and the aspect of the gospel emphasized in Matthew is the kingdom (see Matt. 1:1; 4:17; 12:28). In Matthew we see Jesus Christ coming as the Son of David, coming as a king to bring in the kingdom of God.
When He began His ministry He declared, Repent for the kingdom of God has drawn near. When Jesus came, God’s kingdom came to the earth; He was the kingdom of God. God’s desire is to bring His kingdom to the earth and carry out His authority on earth. The aspect of the gospel emphasized in Matthew is that of the kingdom, and the goal of this aspect is to bring people into the kingdom of God.
Mark reveals Christ as the Slave of God to serve God by ministering to His redeemed people, and the aspect of the gospel emphasized in Mark is service (Mark. 10:45). Mark is the gospel of service, and according to Mark’s gospel, Christ came as a slave to serve God by ministering to His redeemed people.
He didn’t come to be served but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for us. Christ didn’t come merely as a King to bring in God’s kingdom but as a slave to serve God, doing things according to His command, so that we His redeemed people might be saved.
Luke reveals Christ as a Man-Savior, and the aspect of the gospel emphasized in Luke is that of forgiveness of sins; in Luke we see that repentance of sins should be preached in the name of Christ to all the nations (Luke 24:47). In Luke we see a wonderful Man, Jesus Christ, who was filled with compassion for the others, touched and healed the sick, cast out demons, cared for man, brought salvation to man, and preached forgiveness of sins.
In Luke we see that Christ came as a man to be our Savior, died on the cross to accomplish redemption and solve the problem of sin so that we may be forgiven, and commanded us to preach repentance and forgiveness of sins in His name among all the nations.
John reveals Christ as the God-Savior who came that we may have the life of God, and the aspect of the gospel emphasized in John is the eternal life (see John 1:4; 3:15; 10:10; 11:25). The Gospel of John is called the gospel of life because it emphasizes the eternal life; in his gospel, John brings us into a full realization of the divine life.
Christ came as life, and He came so that we may have life and may have it abundantly. This life meets all our needs; Christ as life meets the need of moral men, immoral men, impotent men, dying men, blind men, hungry men, thirsty men, and dead men. Christ is the divine life, and whoever believes into Him has eternal life.
Thank You Lord for coming as a King to establish the kingdom of the heavens on earth; now by believing into You we become citizens of the kingdom of the heavens who live a kingdom life under the heavenly rule of Jesus our King. Thank You for coming as a Slave to serve God by ministering to Your redeemed people; You served us to the uttermost by giving Your life as a ransom for us on the cross. Thank You for coming as a Man-Savior to bring us forgiveness of sins and a dynamic salvation. Thank You for coming to us as the eternal life: You came so that we may have life, have it abundantly, and have a full realization of the divine life!
Aspects of the Gospel as seen in the Gospel of Paul, the Gospel of Completion
In the gospel of Paul we see all the aspects of the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John; in his writings Paul speaks of the kingdom of God, the serving Christ and our serving others in His life, forgiveness of sins, and the life of God.
Furthermore, as he testifies in Col. 1:25, Paul became a minister according to the stewardship of God to complete the word of God, and his gospel was the gospel of completion.
In his gospel – the gospel of Paul, the gospel of completion – Paul speaks of many things that are found nowhere else in the other Gospels, such as,
- Christ is in us as the hope of glory (Col. 1:27). This is a great mystery which has been unveiled to us in Paul’s gospel: Christ came into us to be our hope of glory, and He operates in us to saturate our entire being until even our body will be transfigured. Right now He’s the mystery within us, but at the end He will be glory to us!
- Christ lives in us (Gal. 2:20). Only Paul speaks of Christ living in us – this is something unique to Paul’s gospel. Christ living in us is not an exchanged life, our life going out and His life replacing us, but – no longer I (the old I without Christ) who lives but Christ living in me, and the life that I (the new I with Christ within) live in the flesh, I live in faith, in the organic union with the Lord. We live together with the Lord: we have one life and one living.
- Christ is being formed in us (Gal. 4:19). Paul travailed, labored as in pains of giving birth, so that Christ might be formed in the saints. In our care for the new ones and for one another, we need to participate in Christ’s sufferings for the producing and building up of His Body, that is, for Christ to be formed in the saints. We need to have a mother’s heart of love and care for the saints so that they would grow in life.
- Christ is making His home in us (Eph. 3:17). Only Paul speaks of Christ making His home deep down in our heart. Christ wants to build His permanent residence in our heart; He wants to make our heart His permanent dwelling place. For this, our thoughts, emotions, and will need to be adjusted, and all the inner chambers of our heart need to be opened to the Lord so that He may make His home in us and establish us for the building up of the church.
- We are being filled with Christ to be the fulness of God (Eph. 3:19). If we allow Christ to make His home in our heart, we will start to apprehend with all the saints what the universally vast dimensions of Christ are, and we will be filled unto all the fullness of God. Christ is the One who fills all in all, and we need to be filled with Him by daily exercising to be unloaded and emptied of ourselves so that He may fill us in a fresh way.
Thank You Lord for coming into us as the hope of glory! Hallelujah, Christ is in us as a mystery, spreading in us day by day to fill us with His divine life, and one day He will be glory to us! Lord, we want to have our daily living one with You so that we may have one life and one living. May You be the One being formed in us, and may You be formed in the saints. Oh Lord, make Your home in our heart a little more today, so that we may apprehend all Your riches and vastness with all the saints, and together we may be filled unto all the fulness of God!
References and Hymns on this Topic
- Inspiration: the Word of God, my enjoyment in the ministry, the message for this week, and Life-study of Galatians, pp. 13-15 (by Witness Lee), as quoted in the Holy Word for Morning Revival on, The Gospel (2016 International Chinese-speaking Conference), week 4 / msg. 4, Paul’s Gospel — the Gospel of Completion.
- All Bible verses are taken from, Holy Bible Recovery Version.
- Hymns on this topic:
# Jesus Christ You are the Man-Savior / Expressing God; / Beautifully, sweetly, and pleasantly. / Jesus Christ, the genuine, complete, / Moral, perfect Man revealing God; / In His saving grace to fallen man, / In the Jubilee of grace. (Song on Christ in Luke)
# Christ is God incarnated, / How wonderful! How marvellous! / Incarnated so that He could / Live inside of you and me, / He’s mingling now with us. (Song on Christ in John)
# Glory, glory, Christ is life in me! / Glory, glory, what a hope is He! / Now within my spirit He’s the mystery! / Then the glory He will be to me. (Hymns #948)