Thursday, May 11, 2017

The Gospel

The Gospel
    The gospel is important. So important, in fact, souls hang in the balance. It is the message of life. The gospel is important to the lost and Christian alike. The lost need the gospel in order to hear the soul-saving message of Christ. Christian's need the gospel in order to grow, continually repent, praise God, be assured, be filled with joy, and be humbled. The gospel needs to be studied so that it can be appreciated and shared. It needs to be heard and treasured. It humbles and exalts. Humbles the sinner and exalts the Savior.
    I write on the gospel because I love the saving message of Christ. I love the Savior of the gospel. The God of the gospel is astounding. What demonstrates the glory and grace of God more than his plan of redemption? The gospel is glorious, life-changing, God-honoring, breathtakingly complex, yet simple enough for a child to understand. What is the gospel?
Gospel Begins with God
    Lest we over complicate matters, let us keep the gospel simple. The gospel begins with God. God is the righteous Creator who purposed to save fallen sinners by grace through faith in Christ. “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (Gen. 1:1). “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God” (Eph. 2:8). God is holy and filled with wrath; he will punish them who do not trust his Son. “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him” (Jn. 3:36).
     Why did God send his Son? Why does man need saving? Because man is sinful; mankind is unholy, ungodly, lost, unrighteous, rebellious, and spiritually dead. “[F]or all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked” (Eph. 2:1).
God Sent His Son
    But God sent his Son. Christ joined himself to the nature of man. He obeyed the law perfectly to satisfy the justice of God because we perfectly disobey. He then died upon the cross, bearing the curse of sin and the wrath of the Father toward that sin. He was buried but rose to life on the third day, thus vindicating himself and testifying to the world that the Father accepted his work. “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law” (Gal. 4:4-5). “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us” (Gal. 3:13).
Repentance and Faith
    Sinful man is now commanded to repent and trust Christ alone for salvation. This is the only response that sinners could have toward God's good gift. “[T]estifying both to Jews and to Greeks of repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 20:21). “For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death” (2Cor. 7:10)
    Allow me to quote two passages at length which will explain the gospel. The gospel is not neatly packed into a convenient summary, but it is spread throughout the Bible. There are a few very enlightening verses, however, which do explain the gospel very thoroughly. They are Romans 3:19-26 and Ephesians 2:1-10. I will simply reproduce them here. I will not offer commentary or elaborate on them. Read them for what they are- the very words of God that reveal his amazing salvation by grace through faith in Christ for his glory. Read and ponder what has been read. Repent and trust Christ; search out his unsearchable riches.
    “Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. For by the works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it- the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus” (Rom. 3:19-26).
    “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience- among whom we all once lived in the passions of out flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, eve when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ- by grace you have been saved- and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Eph. 2:1-10).