John Piper in Bloodlines:
The gospel of Jesus Christ touches ... [us] in more ways than any of us can see. It has a way of working that goes beyond what we can imagine or predict. It does not simply provide help to do what we think needs to be done, as though we were all-wise and just needed a little spiritual boost to carry out our plans. It goes over and under and around and through our imperfect plans. It destroys some and transforms others. Mainly, it deals explosively with us, not with our plans and strategies.
The gospel is not an ideology. It does not come in as one idea alongside some others and make its contribution. The good news that God sent his Son Jesus into the world to die in the place of sinners, and bear their punishment, and become their perfect righteousness, and absorb the wrath of God, and set us right with him through faith alone, and rise from the dead triumphant over every foe—that gospel does not come as an ideology but as supernatural power.
When this news of salvation from our sin and from God’s wrath is proclaimed in the power of the Holy Spirit, it does not come with compelling ideas that create new thoughts; it comes with supernatural power that creates new people. The Bible calls this being born again. “You have been born again . . . through the living and abiding word of God . . . the good news that was preached to you” (1 Pet. 1:23–25). These new people will live forever with Jesus in the new heavens and the new earth when “the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God” (Rom. 8:21).
The power of the cross of Christ, applied by the Holy Spirit, is not a new philosophy or a new methodology or a new political persuasion, but “a new creation” (Gal. 6:15). Our old, unbelieving, insubordinate self dies, and a new, humble, believing, loving self is created by the power of the Holy Spirit, in the image of Jesus, through the gospel. “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Gal. 2:20).
The gospel is not a heavenly demand of what we must do to be saved; it is a heavenly declaration of what God has done to save us. The added good news is that we cannot earn what he has done for us but only receive it as a gift. And even this receiving—this trust—is a gift of God. It is God’s grace and God’s power from start to finish. This is why it is in a class by itself. It does not fit alongside any politics or ideology or philosophy or culture. It is not one of them. It is God’s breaking in with his own power to create a new spiritual reality—a new you.
This new you is united to Jesus Christ who has risen from the dead, so that your eternal life is secured and all that Christ is, he is for you. This is absolutely new. Before this, we were dead in sin. But now, we are alive in Christ Jesus. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come” (2 Cor. 5:17). We have peace with God. Christ dwells within us. We are not our own. Jesus is our supreme treasure. And our highest joy is to extend the joy we have in his glorious grace to others.