Friday, May 3, 2019

The Gospel

 black Bible on gray surface
In the last few weeks I've listened to several Paul Washer sermons. I watched the documentary "American Gospel" (review coming in the next few weeks) and learned about the false gospels that are out there.

And as I listen to Paul Washer, I wonder: Is he right?

Is he right that the mainstream American church has the gospel all wrong? Are many people in America missing the true gospel?

As I thought about what he had said, I realized he is right. And so, rather than trying to explain what Mr. Washer said, I'm going to take this blog post and try to answer this question: What is the gospel?

The gospel begins with a person. Or, rather, a being. God. God, who existed eternally before creation and will exist eternally into the future. He has no beginning and will have no end. God, who is incomprehensible. God who we cannot understand. God who is big, and powerful. So powerful he could create the world by merely speaking. God, who is holy, righteous, set apart. God, who has no evil in him. God who is good to the core. God, who has never done any bad thing ever. God, who is so much higher than us, so much greater than us, that when we think about him properly, we should feel like dust.
 Image result for god is holy

Enter the next character in this great story: Us. Mankind. You and me. The human race. Sinful, unrighteous, filthy, evil to the core, limited, small, weak. Sinful. Let me emphasize this: SINFUL. FILTHY. DIRTY TO THE CORE. EVIL. Not one of us is righteous. Not even a tiny little piece of us. Nothing good can ever come from us. NOTHING GOOD. We are so horribly evil, sinful, disobedient...we turned our backs against our creator.

So here is the conflict: GOD, is infinitely righteous, perfect, good, and holy. MAN is evil as evil as evil could possibly be. We are separated as far from God as we could ever get. Polar opposites.
Image result for all our righteous deeds are as filthy rags
God is also just. Because he is holy and we are not, he is just and righteous to destroy us completely. To punish us. It's what we deserve for the greatest act of treason to ever be committed. We deserve death. God would be completely just and fair and righteous to give us exactly what we deserve. Our wages for our sin and evil is DEATH.

Until you understand what I just wrote, the rest of the story will not seem amazing. So read it again.

But you have to understand something else about God. God is LOVE. Not that God is just loving, or that he can love, but is very nature is LOVE. He loves us. Why? Not because we are righteous and deserving. Not because we loved him first. He loved us when we were evil to the core. Nothing about us was good. We could never do anything good our own and we didn't (and we never could) love him first. We had our backs to him, our hands over our ears, ignoring God and destroying our lives. We were pitiful, evil, death and hell doomed creatures. But God loved us. He desired to have a relationship with us. He wanted to show his mercy and his grace and his forgiveness. And so he set into motion a great rescue story so that he could put all of his attributes fully on display.
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Because God is love, he sent his only son to earth. Jesus lived the perfect, sinless, holy, fully righteous, never disobedient life that we could never live. He was 100% man AND 100% God...something we can never fathom. Another part of our incomprehensible God. Jesus was God in the flesh. He walked on earth, was tempted as we are tempted, felt pain, sadness, death of friends, joy, love....but he felt all of those things without sinning once.

But God didn't stop there. Remember, for our treason against the Most High God we deserve death. So Jesus took that punishment. He died on a cross, bearing the full weight of the wrath of God against mankind. Why? So that you and I don't have to. He paid the price once and for all.
Image result for all i have is christ video
His sacrifice was enough. 

So what do we have to do? Many will tell you that you have to work to repay Jesus for his sacrifice. But that is NOT what the Bible teaches. The Bible teaches that salvation from sin is a free gift from God the Father. You receive this gracious gift by accepting it by faith. Believe. And then Repent. Turn away from your sins. This is a daily, moment-by-moment choice to choose God's ways over the world's ways. Repent. Confess that he is your Lord. Make Jesus your Lord, accept him as your savior, repent and follow him for the rest of your life. You don't have to do good works. You can't do good works! But one day, when you stand before the throne of God, if you have believed in Jesus, God will not see your filthiness. He will see the righteousness of Jesus. "That one's mine," Jesus will say. And you will be able to spend eternity with God...not because you are holy, but because Jesus is holy.
To read my post talking about what it means to wear Christ's
righteousness, click here.

This is the greatest story.

This is what the Bible teaches. So I'd say Paul Washer is right. The mainstream American Church often has it wrong. Because all too often, you will hear a gospel preached that is not the gospel told in the Bible. I thank God for the leaders at my church who are committed to preaching God's word accurately. I pray that they continue to be committed to truth no matter what.

And I pray that you, reader, will enter God's family, today, by faith. 
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