What is the Gospel? Part 2

The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ ultimately solved the problem of man’s separation and alienation with God because of sin by removing it (Psalm 51:5; Romans 3:10-12, 23; 5:12). Man is guilty before a holy God for breaking his divine law and justly deserves death (James 2:10; I Peter 1:16). Additionally, man’s heart and the world in which he lives are corrupted and infiltrated by sin (Jeremiah 17:9; Mark 7:21-23; I John 2:16). Man tries to find happiness, meaning, and purpose in life apart from God, but this is impossible for those who sin shall die (Ezekiel 18:4, 20). Since man cannot save himself (Romans 3:20; Ephesians 2:1-3), God must do so through Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior (Romans 6:23). The gospel is the good news that the sinless and perfect man Jesus
Christ sacrificed himself for us, taking upon himself our sins, “so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (II Corinthians 5:21). We could have never satisfied God’s wrath for our sin and kept God’s perfect law ourselves, so Jesus did this for us (propitiation) by redeeming us from the curse of the law (Galatians 3:13).

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What is the Gospel? Part 1

A critical question to ask is, “What is the Gospel?” The gospel is the good news of Jesus Christ and the power of the gospel is Jesus Christ. Tim Keller defines the gospel: “Through the person and work of Jesus Christ on our behalf, God saves sinners by grace, rescuing them from judgment for their sin into fellowship with him now in the church and ultimately in the new heavens and new earth. To receive this salvation, we must repent and believe this gospel.” The pre-existent Son of God (John 1:1, 14), Jesus Christ, who took on human flesh and was born of the Virgin Mary (Luke 1:31: 2:7), lived a sinless life (Hebrews 4:15), began his earthly ministry at thirty years old, and became a servant of God who boldly and obediently proclaimed the gospel (Mark 1:14-15). At the hands of those who hated him, he willingly died on the cross for our sins and paid its full penalty, exchanged his life for our life, cancelled our debt, and defeated the power of evil once and for all time (Isaiah 53:4-6; Mark 10:45; Colossians 2:13-15; I Peter 3:18; I John 2:2). He was buried and on the third day was raised from the dead for or sins ( I Corinthians 15:3-6). God’s justice and wrath were duly served with Christ’s death on the cross and subsequent resurrection from the dead so that those who by the grace and mercy of God repent of their sins and put their trust and faith in Christ are justified in his sight (Acts 2:38; Romans 3:24-26; Galatians 3:26; Ephesians 2:8-9).

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The Gospel and Postmodernism

“Postmoderns would support the gospel as normative and acceptable for those who believe and live in a particular community of faith, but they would not take seriously the Christian gospel as the ontological truth for the public square. Private religion would be seen positively, but to say that the gospel is true and valid for everyone would be summarily rejected. The gospel message would be regulated to a particular group (Baptists), but not taken seriously by the entire group (Americans). The gospel would not be presented or believed ‘as a metaphysical first principle that is virtually exempt from cultural and historical conditioning’ (Donald Bloesch). Tragically, the gospel would be taught and treated as one point of view among many with all viewpoints equally valid; consequently, the fact that the gospel message is timeless and contains universal truth for everyone would be ultimately repudiated. Jesus was very clear that the gospel must be proclaimed and taught to all peoples all over the world, regardless of their religion and culture (Matthew 28:19-20). Christians must never adopt the cultural norms of postmodernism since its worldview is fallacious. David Wells observes: ‘Here, then, are what we might call the underlying motifs of the postmodern mind. They constitute a gravitational pull toward three simple affirmations: no (comprehensive) worldview, no truth, and no purpose.’ Compromising the gospel with the culture is always a dead end and must never be considered as an option” (My doctoral dissertation).

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The Biblical Gospel is True

“The gospel is absolutely and universally true and has a perduring quality to it. It alone has the power to bring healing and wholeness to man and his fractured world and answers his most penetrating questions and deepest needs. At the same time Christians must be aware of false teachers who seek to distort and change the gospel message to suit their own desires (Galatians 1:6-7; I Timothy 4:1-2). Denying the truths contained in the Bible and substituting them for false ones is a recipe for separation and independence from God, personal autonomy, and ultimately the destruction of one’s soul. Our present cultural message is based on the twin “truths” of pluralism and relativism. One of the serious problems with postmodernism is that it supports a relativistic approach to truth; that is, postmodernism is highly skeptical of explanations which claim to be valid for all groups, cultures, traditions, or races. From a Christian perspective, this belief system must be labeled as false and rendered to be dangerous. Postmodernism supports diversity at the expense of truth and believes absolute truth is incapable of being determined” (My doctoral dissertation). “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek” (Romans 1:16).

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The Truth

“The Bible boldly, uncompromisingly, and clearly states that truth is located in God’s Word (John 17:17) and in a person, Jesus Christ (John 1:14, 17). God’s Word is absolutely certain, and is beyond alteration and correction. Evangelical Christianity claims that God has divinely spoken and revealed his truth into our lives and we can know him and his will through a saving relationship with Jesus Christ and encounter with his holy Word. “I the Lord speak the truth; I declare what is right” (Isaiah 45:19). God must be known, worshipped, and loved through his Son Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the unique Son of God who is God’s final word to mankind (John 1:1-18). The personification of truth is found in Jesus Christ who is the truth (John 14:6) and who has come to bear witness to the truth (John 1:17; 18:37). Jesus says himself he is the only way to God (Matthew 11:27). Jesus is not one truth among many, but the truth – about God, the world, and us (John 8:40, 45)” (My doctoral dissertation). May the Lord Jesus Christ who is the Truth be glorified and magnified in our lives on a daily basis.  He alone is worthy!!

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Read the Bible

“The divinely inspired Scriptures are Christianity’s final and supreme authority and the only inerrant and ultimately sufficient and necessary rule and guide for faith and practice. Because God has graciously taken the initiative and revealed himself by clearly speaking to us in Holy Scripture, biblical truths can be learned and incorporated into daily living. Additionally, the Scriptures are unsurpassed in their clarity and witness to the biblical gospel of Jesus Christ. The Old and New Testaments are dynamic and eternal written records of the words and actions of God and man’s corresponding reaction to God’s revealed word, displayed in myriad and varied acts of obedience and disobedience. Examination of the biblical accounts in the Old and New Testaments point to the significance and impact of the gospel to bring spiritual renewal to their people. God addressed his people through his words in concrete situations and historical events” (My doctoral dissertation).  Please take time in your busy life to read the Bible and listen to what God is saying to you.  He wants to talk to us and instruct us every day. I can think of no better and more engaging book to read and digest than God’s Holy Word.  Enjoy!!

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The Necessity of the Bible

“The Bible is necessary for eternal salvation (John 5:39-40), knowing God’s will (Deuteronomy 29:29) and living according to God’s Word (Psalm 119:9, 11). John Frame writes: “Necessity simply means that without God’s Word we have no relationship with him. Without his commands he is not our Lord, for the Lord is by definition one who gives authoritative commands to his people. Without his Word we have no authoritative promises either, so he cannot be our Savior.” Without the Word of God, there is no relationship with Christ, no glorious gospel to proclaim, and no invitation that will set people free from their sins (John 8:36, Romans 1:16); therefore, man ultimately perishes (John 3:36). Without the loving, graceful, and merciful intervention of God’s word into our lives and his sending the incarnate Word to us, we are left with no meaning, purpose, and value in our lives. The power and truth of the gospel gives us purpose, meaning, direction, wisdom, and proper relationships with God, ourselves, and one another; otherwise, life is selfish, insufferable, and tragic. Without the Word God in our lives, we are in danger (Isaiah 8:19-22) and cannot survive (Deuteronomy 8:3). Our spiritual daily nourishment must come from the Scriptures for the Word of the Lord can be known (I Peter 2:2). To neglect the Scriptures would be to neglect the health, vitality, and growth for our souls; therefore, the Bible is critically important, for unless God speaks, human beings perish (Amos 8:11-12). Blessed are those who bind, build, and root themselves in the Scriptures (Psalm 1:2; 19:7-14,; Joshua 1:7-9)” (My doctoral dissertation).

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The Importance of Prayer III

“It is critical to make prayer a high priority in one’s spiritual life, yielding oneself to the Lord and submitting to his will and purpose. Praying at regular times and finding a quiet place where God speaks to our minds and hearts is crucial. Thomas a Kempis encourages us to ‘set aside an opportune time for deep personal reflection and think often about God’s many benefits to you.’ It is also important to pray that God’s will be done, to persevere in prayer, to be diligent and consistent in prayer, and develop holy habits of prayer. Michael Casey writes about the importance of prayer in relation to the Scriptures: ‘Be learning to love the Scriptures and to use them as prayer we ensure that our prayer is formed by God’s inspired Word. We soon discover that a familiar text can be used to stir up prayer when it is sluggish, or help us with prayer in difficult times. Letting the Word of God flow freely in and out of the mind develops in us an aptitude for prayer that leads to a transformation of life. In time, many sins and deformities are eliminated and the person blossoms. To turn toward God is to become fully alive.’ One learns to pray by praying and making prayer as important a priority in one’s life as eating and sleeping” (My doctoral dissertation). May the Lord bless you abundantly in your praying and your drawing closer and closer to him when you pray.

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The Importance of Prayer II

“Prayer is a sacred time of devotion and surrendering ourselves to Jesus and drawing closer to him in the silence and solitude of a quiet place with humility and faith. Jesus is our advocate (I John 2:1), our mediator ( I Timothy 2:5), and hope (Colossians 1:27); therefore, ‘Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need’ (Hebrews 4:16). Prayer is a time of listening, intercession, thanksgiving, petition, and a giving of ourselves to the Lord. William Law writes: ‘Prayer has power with God, it looses the bands of sin, it purifies the soul, reforms our hearts, and draws down the aids of Divine grace, so we should make whatever hour we can a time of prayer.’ The Lord touches our sinful hearts and speaks softly to our souls, cleansing our hearts (Acts 15:9) and renewing our minds (Romans 12:2).  God becomes the center of our existence and fills in all the empty spaces with his presence and deep love for us.  Michael Casey writes: ‘The test of authentic prayer is growth: growth in goodness, growth in humanity, greater serenity in living and in facing hardship. Above all genuine contact with God effects a real displacement of self as the center of our existence.'” (Taken from my doctoral dissertation). Spending time with Jesus in prayer has so many profound and lasting benefits for the soul. May we find a time and place to be with the Lord who wants to be with us.

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The Importance of Prayer

“Prayer is an encounter and relationship with God whereby the believer spends quality time and communicates on a regular basis with the Lord. ‘Prayer is meant to be a part of life’ (Hugh Feiss). The believer enters into the life of God through prayer, where knowing and loving God has the highest priority and where real change occurs.  Richard Foster writes, ‘To pray is to change. Prayer is the central avenue God uses to transform us. If we are unwilling to change, we will abandon prayer as a noticeable characteristic of our lives.’ The believer makes a deliberate choice to spend time with God and let him speak to their minds and hearts because he is dependent upon God for every area of his life. Prayer is a lifetime of yes responses to God, all in accordance with his grace and movement of the Holy Spirit in our lives (I Thessalonians 5:17)” (My doctoral dissertation).  Is prayer important in your daily living?  Ask the Lord to help you find a time and place to be with him so you can hear his voice and follow him daily.  May the Lord Jesus bless us with the privilege and honor of spending quality time with our Friend and Savior.

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