Did Jesus Preach Paul's Gospel?
How the Gospel of Luke presents the gospel of justification by grace alone, through faith alone, on the basis of Christ's blood and righteousness alone, for the glory of God alone
Average Rating: [see ratings/reviews]
Editor's note: Now there's a provocative article title. It might sound like a heretical question, but think about. Does Paul ever strike you as having a gospel grounded more in grace than what Jesus preached? John Piper delivered the following message at the 2010 Together for the Gospel conference.
Did Jesus preach Paul's gospel?—the gospel of justification by grace alone, through faith alone, on the basis of Christ's blood and righteousness alone, for the glory of God alone.
What I am driven by in this message, and in much of my thinking since my days in graduate school in Germany, is the conviction that Jesus and Paul preached the same gospel. There is a 300-year history among critical scholars of claiming that Jesus' message and work was one thing, and what the early church made of it was another. Jesus brought the kingdom; it aborted; and the apostles substituted an institution, the church. And dozens of variations along this line.
Did Paul Get Jesus Right?
So the problem I am wrestling with is not whether evangelicalism gets Paul's gospel right, but whether Paul got Jesus' gospel right. Because I have a sense that among the reasons that some are losing a grip on the gospel today is not only the suspicion that we are forcing it into traditional doctrinal categories rather than biblical ones, but also that in our default to Pauline categories we are selling Jesus short. In other words, for some—perhaps many—there is the suspicion (or even conviction) that justification by faith alone is part of Paul's gospel, but not part of Jesus' gospel. And in feeling that way, our commitment to the doctrine is weakened, and we are thus less passionate to preach it and defend it as essential to the gospel. And we may even think that Jesus' call to sacrificial kingdom obedience is more radical and more transforming than the gospel of justification by faith alone.
I consider this message as an exegetical extension and defense of what R. C. Sproul said yesterday: "If you don't have imputation, you don't have sola fide (faith alone), and if you don't have sola fide, you don't have the gospel." My goal is to argue that Jesus preached the gospel of justification by faith alone apart from works of the law, understood as the imputation of his righteousness through faith alone.
A Word About Method
First, a word about method. One of my goals in this message is to fire you up for serious lifelong meditation on the four Gospels as they stand. I am so jealous that you not get sidetracked into peeling away the so-called layers of tradition to find the so-called historical Jesus. I want you to feel the truth and depth and wonder that awaits your lifelong labor of love in pondering the inexhaustible portraits of Jesus given us by Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.
John Piper: Follow | Search