Our "no" is a human rejection of God's claim on us as our creator, sustainer and lord, a rejection that produces alienation and isolation, even from ourselves.
What's the Gospel in Seven Words?
According to both Irenaus and Athanasios, God became like us so that we might become like God. Clement observes that through obedience one "becomes a god while still walking in the flesh."
The gospel begins and ends with God. Jesus makes God's action good news. But the word "Jesus" alone doesn't help me; such Jesus is a nice guy, but I need Jesus Christ, God's anointed.
But not everyone will grow and change.
Christ effected our reconciliation with God and invested in us, so that we may become teeming vessels of witness and service to others.
We asked God to say something definite and God, getting personal, sent Jesus Christ. We were surprised.
When my daughter was confirmed in the Christian faith last spring, I gave her Emily Dickinson's poem, "I dwell in Possibility."
God was in Christ, proclaiming and demonstrating the good news of the kingdom (or commonwealth). This new way of life challenges us to rethink everything in our lives that resists reconciliation.
We use flippancy and irony to shield ourselves from feeling. We relegate love to the realm of the romantic and sentimental, and dismiss it.
Got your own summation of the gospel in seven words or fewer? Add it as a comment to this post.