The Gospel’s Dark Backdrop

Wherever Jesus went, his presence brought conflict with the authorities or powers of this world wherever they were found, in the synagogues, in the hearts of the rulers, and in the poor bodies of the sick and possessed, the demoniacs and maniacs. Everywhere behind the outward facade of evil he came to grips with the vast forces of evil that held the world, held the mind in tyranny and darkness. He knew that the sin of man had its root not only in the depth of the human heart and will but also in a vast evil will beyond humanity from which it could not escape. Human hostility to God was part of a whole kingdom of evil over which people had no control. It was into that kingdom of evil that Jesus penetrated in order to do battle with it and to break its power over men and women, to hew a way out of its tyranny and lead them back into the freedom of God’s children. All this is an essential and an indispensable part of the whole life and ministry of Jesus; it cannot be stripped away or be demythologised without fundamental loss to the gospel. This element is so intertwined in the gospel witness to the person and work of Christ that if it is demythologised or stripped away, the essential substance of the gospel goes with it. – Thomas Torrance

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