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What is Gospel Truth?

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Are you tired of merely existing? Does your heart yearn to be a part of something meaningful? Wouldn't it be great if you could start living today like a champion?

The Devil wants you to suffer, but God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life. He wants all of his children to experience peace and happiness. At this moment, you are just getting by, but God wants more for you than minimum wage. Jesus said, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly” (John 10:10).

Did I forgot to mention that this life of prosperity is absolutely free? All you need to do is believe. What are you waiting for? With nothing to lose and the world to gain, trust in God today and watch Him turn your relationships, health, wealth, and life around!

Charles Spurgeon once said, “Discernment is not simply a matter of telling the difference between what is right and wrong; rather it is the difference between right and almost right.” The above is an example of an almost-right gospel. In our day and throughout the record of human history, nothing has been more distorted than the saving message of Jesus Christ. Many people with good intentions buy into the pack lies that I just fed to you. Even in our churches today, there are people who would unwittingly entangle themselves in a web of deceit such as the one weaved in the previous paragraph. My aim today is to show you from the scriptures a clear picture of Christ's salvation so that we might not fall for its pathetic counterfeits.

The first masterpiece in the gallery of gospel truths that we must consider is God Himself.

You see, although the gospel floods our life with blessings, it is primarily not about us. Understanding God's character in relation to the gospel that's sort of right versus the gospel that's actually right is the dividing line between heaven and hell. Often times God is treated as a divine butler who's total reason for being is to make you happy, but Santa Clause is not synonymous with Yahweh. Isaiah writes: “For the sake of My name I delay My wrath, And for My praise I restrain it for you, in order not to cut you off. Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction. For My own sake, for My own sake, I will act; for how can My name be profaned? And My glory I will not give to another.” (Isaiah 48:9–11 NASB)

God does not restrain his wrath because His people deserve it. He does so ultimately for the glorification of His name. However, why is God even angry with people in the first place? An equally forgotten truth about God is His goodness.

God is good. Let that sink in.

The LORD of glory is impeccably righteous, absolutely just, and incapable of doing evil. David writes, “God is a righteous judge, and a God who has indignation every day.” (Psalms 7:11). Being the unchanging standard of good, God won't sweep your iniquity under the rug. His sleepless eyes witness the exhaustive extent of human activity and it invokes His wrath daily.

Why?

Here's the simple answer: God is good, and you are not.

All men are born wicked. This is the bad news of the good news. Contrary to the popular idea that says there's something good in everybody, the Bible says that there isn't anything good in anybody. I think its hard to misunderstand Paul when He is so clear: “As it is written: 'None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one. Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive. The venom of asps is under their lips. Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness. Their feet are swift to shed blood; in their paths are ruin and misery, and the way of peace they have not known. There is no fear of God before their eyes.'” (Romans 3:10-18)

Notice that this condemnation of our race is universal. It does not say that some or even most have sinned. It says that no one is righteous and that all have turned aside, becoming worthless.

Thus far, the question becomes not "how can I have my best life now", but rather "how can I stand before a just and holy God?" If God is just, then He can't forgive you, for that would be unjust. All men have sinned and therefore they ought to be paid the wages of their work: death (Romans 6:26).

However, look at this seemingly contradictory description of God: “The Lord passed before him and proclaimed, 'The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children's children, to the third and the fourth generation.' And Moses quickly bowed his head toward the earth and worshiped.” (Exodus 34:6-8 ESV)

God forgives all types and kinds of sin, yet He will not leave the guilty unpunished. How on earth can this be? How can God uphold His justice while at the same time justifying those who deserved to be punished?

The answer to this critical conundrum is found in the person and work of Jesus Christ.

Before the world was made, the Father planned to redeem a people for Himself from every language, tribe, and nation. However, His wrath towards sinners would not be abated unless the demands of justice were first met. Thus, the Son is sent into the world. Taking on humanity, this Divine person lived righteously under the law so that He might redeem those who could not live up to its standards. On the cross, all of God's righteous indignation towards His people was poured out on His Son, His only Son, whom He loved. “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor. 5:21). His death was the payment, and His bodily ressurection was it's vindication. This is why Paul was able to say that God is just, and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus (Romans 3:26).

Lastly, we must consider our response to such good news. Notice that Paul says that God justifies those who have faith in Jesus. Christ accomplished a great salvation, but it is only those who exercise trust in His redemptive work that benefit from all that was bought in Calvary. By the way, did I forget to mention that it's free? However, this free gift will cost you dearly. Unlike the gospel counterfeits of our day, Jesus doesn't promise health and wealth. Jesus is not a means to an end.

The awesome reward of the gospel is God Himself.

Paul writes, “Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.” (Philippians 3:8).

What is the gospel? “For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4).

This is the one and only message of salvation. Let us, by God's grace, labor to protect it from it's man-centered imposters. After all, “For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.” (Romans 11:36).

Posted by Jon Howe with 0 Comments

God Has Spoken

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Although it might seem like just another year, 2017 marks a special anniversary for a historic event. Five hundred years ago, in 1517, a monk by the name of Martin Luther nailed His ninety-five thesis to the castle door in Wittenberg, Germany. Appalled by the Roman Catholic Church's horrific twisting of God's word, Martin Luther felt compelled to oppose the tyranny.

When his list of contentious points was discovered by the people, a wildfire of argument and discussion broke out and eventually led to what we now know today as the Protestant Reformation. Out from this era of spiritual awakening came five Latin phrases: "Sola Scriptura” (Scripture Alone), “Sola Gratia” (Grace Alone), “Sola Fide” (Faith Alone), “Solus Christus” (Christ Alone), and “Soli Deo Gloria” (To God Alone Be Glory). Although these concepts of grace, faith, Scripture might seem commonplace to you, they were life-saving rediscoveries during this bleak period. 

Although all of these points of doctrine are absolutely essential for retaining Christian orthodoxy, there is one of them that lays a firm foundation for the rest to stand upon, and without it we would kill ourselves by doing what is right in our own eyes, no matter how noble the intentions might be. 

Sola Scriptura basically teaches that the Bible alone is are highest authority. This doctrine does not sympathize with any teaching, tradition, or idea that can't point to a chapter and verse to establish it's validity. Your bright ideas, creative solutions, and innovative tactics concerning life, godliness, and church must all bow the knee before "Thus saith the LORD."

God has spoken.

His word is true. His voice expects to be obeyed. Divine retribution is extended to those who think lightly of this authority. However, don't take my word for it. Let’s examine this ancient book to see if that's what it claims. 

As we peek inside this library of heavenly revelation, we find this issue of authority to be of critical importance extremely early on in the biblical story. The first conflict of the human mind between good and evil is fought in the historic battleground of Eden. God made the heavens and the earth and it was all very good. Man enjoyed a blissful paradise as long as he submitted himself to God's word concerning the tree of knowledge of good and evil (Gen 2:15–17).

However, you know how the story goes. All of that happiness ended when mankind doubted God's Word and bought the Serpent's lie, "has God really said...?" (Gen 3:1). Because they disobeyed God by eating the forbidden fruit, all the sons of Adam are born hostile towards their Creator.

Let's consider another example. This one was recorded for us by Moses in Leviticus 10. The nation of Israel has just been redeemed from the iron clutches of Egyptian oppression by the sovereign hand of their omnipotent God. Now at Mount Sinai, Yahweh is revealing His perfect law to the people in very specific details. Observe what happens when we think lightly of the Consuming Fire's written Word: Now Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took their respective firepans, and after putting fire in them, placed incense on it and offered strange fire before the LORD, which He had not commanded them. Fire came out from the presence of the LORD and consumed them, and they died before the LORD.

Then Moses said to Aaron, "It is what the LORD spoke, saying, 'By those who come near Me I will be treated as holy, And before all the people I will be honored.' So Aaron, therefore, kept silent.” Leviticus 10:1-3 NASB. What is happening here? Has God gone off the deep end? Isn't this a bit of an overreaction? The crux of issue is that of worth. When you or I think lightly of or disobey God's clear commands, it necessarily portrays a low view of our Maker.

We're basically saying to the world that God is not worth the time of day. This type of attitude tells our peers that the uncreated One is of so little consequence that it really doesn't matter if you take Him seriously. That is why He says "By those who come near Me I will be treated as holy, And before all the people I will be honored" (Lev 10:3).

At this point in the article, you might be tempted to think that the current New Testament era in which we live is void of this kind of language. Please don't kid yourself. Our God, the LORD, does not change (Mal 3:6). Jesus had stern words for those who let their customs overrule what was written:

“Then Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said, 'Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat.' He answered them, 'And why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition? For God commanded, "Honor your father and your mother," and, "Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die." But you say, If anyone tells his father or his mother, "What you would have gained from me is given to God, he need not honor his father." So for the sake of your tradition you have made void the Word of God. You hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy of you, when he said: "'This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.'"” Matthew 15:1–9 ESV

If we allow the commandments of men, no matter how good the intentions may be, to dictate the way we do worship, church, evangelism, marriage, family, and the preaching of the gospel, then we'll be nothing more than a people who honor Christ with our lips while our hearts are far from Him.

This scarlet thread of supreme loyalty to the voice of our good Shepherd is seen distinctly in the ministry of the Apostle Paul. When departing for Jerusalem, Paul warned the elders from Ephesus that from among their own selves false teachers would arise. His last words of wisdom commended them to God and the word of His grace (Acts 20:32). Paul commanded young Timothy to devote himself to the public reading of scripture (1 Tim 4:13) and to the teaching and preaching of that scripture (2 Tim 4:1-2). Paying close attention to the book ensured salvation for the teacher and the taught (1 Tim 4:16).

Much more biblical evidence could be investigated, but I hope that you are beginning to see what the Bible thinks of itself. Israel wanted to be like other nations, and God drove them into exile because of it. Today churches want to be thought of as relevant and cool, so we try to dumb down the gospel so that people won't be offended by it. If you're afraid to take God at His word, you'll lose the saving message of the cross faster than you can say apostasy.

If you do a little research, then you'll find out that this is exactly what the Roman Catholic Church was doing. No Biblical literacy among the common man added with the fact that the Pope's words were considered to be of equal weight as God's word gave birth to a horrible damning man-made religion of works.

How then shall we escape if we neglect this so great salvation? Let us heed this Divine mandate: “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth” (2 Tim 2:15 ESV).

God has spoken. Your responsibility is to abide in His Word. Remember your beloved Savior and the immeasurable riches of His love towards you. Let Calvary capture your heart and compel you to stay faithfully following your King.

We're saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone as revealed in scripture alone to the glory of God alone!