Monday, June 12, 2017

Recovering The Gospel Of God's Grace

This is close to my central passion - recovering what has either been lost or simply missed in the gospel and then making it clearly and widely known. Oftentimes the gospel gets cluttered with a lot of baggage and dismissed by preconceived ideas. In this article I aim to share a summary of the central message, the climax of the ages; the good news of eternal life through Jesus Christ.
· What this is NOT
First let me clear the ground and tell you what I am not doing - I have not just unearthed a fantastic golden key for unlocking all mysteries, nor am I going to tell you to your open-mouthed amazement that I have just dug up in the Gobi desert, near fossil dinosaur eggs, a scroll that gives a whole new slant on Christianity! Neither am I sharing how to meditate your way into the centre of divine consciousness. With those ideas cleared out of the way, we must ask, "Just what is the gospel - the central biblical message?"
· Christianity is Christ
This is where I am positively sharing the Lord Jesus Christ - he is the centre. In his humanity, Jesus was descended from David, a king of Israel. He who made all things, the eternally pre-existing second Person of the triune living God, was born in Bethlehem. At around 30 years of age, Jesus began his public ministry. He taught with astonishing authority as he announced the imminent royal reign of God, freely shared God's compassion, gave sight to the blind, cleansed lepers, welcomed moral outcasts and raised the dead. These mighty acts accredited and confirmed both Jesus' message and his Person, as Israel's long-awaited royal deliverer - their Messiah and Son of God (see Luke 5:13, Luke 18:41-43, John 11:44, Acts 2:22-24).
· God in action on behalf of others
In his crowning work as both God and man, Jesus gave himself into death as the final, divinely appointed sacrifice for sin (see John 1:29 & Hebrews 10:12), when he was publicly crucified by command of the Roman Governor of Judea, Pontius Pilate. But on the third day Jesus was raised, bodily resurrected by God, with many compelling evidences, as Lord over all for ever. All of this fulfilled what the Old Testament prophets had foretold. All was 'in accordance with the Scriptures' (1 Corinthians 15:3 & 4).
Jesus' setting in history shows that Christianity is rooted in a real person who fulfilled many Old Testament prophecies. We are not merely talking about wonderful ideas, but carefully recorded teaching and events that can be checked out as to their time and place.
· Jesus is Lord and Saviour
Following Jesus' resurrection and ascension to his rightful place of universal Lordship, he began to pour out the Holy Spirit empowering his disciples to spread the news of salvation to all the nations. God has spoken! He has made himself known in Scripture and supremely in the Lord Jesus. Now we may know that as well as creating all things and being himself the moral foundation of the universe, the eternal Son of God has gone to the limits of love, paying the awful price of sin, so that all who turn to him in repentance and faith may be freely forgiven (see Acts 13:38 & Romans 3:23, Ephesians 1:7, 2:8-9). Now they live for him who gave his all for them!
· How much we need to be saved!
The New Testament Scriptures explain how the terrible revolt against God's authority means we all share in the consequences - we are all law-breakers, sinners who continually miss God's perfect standard. We stand condemned, guilty and under sentence of eternal banishment from God. This was the sentence that Jesus willingly endured when he died on the cross. That is boundless grace and love - the self-sacrificing love of God that we see focused - at the cross.
· Grace is always more than you think!
God's grace is at the heart of the good news: Jesus' death is God's grace in action. Now he calls people to receive peace with God and to be justified by faith. And all freely on account of the perfect sacrifice for sins made by the Lord Jesus, God's sinless Son, when he shed his blood, dying upon the cross. Nowhere else will you ever hear of such love as this! This is the extraordinary good news of the grace of God. This is why when God's Spirit moves your heart and mind; you must call upon the Lord, trusting HIM to save you - rescuing you from sin's condemnation.
· You are never too bad!
None are too bad for such a great Saviour! Many indeed, would have written themselves off in their awful excess and hardness of heart unless the Good Shepherd had not lovingly pursued them. Many have felt a great weight of sin and guilt, before they simply trusted that the Lord Jesus has taken their place and died for their sins - Oh, he did it for me, and it can never be undone! They grasp that by faith they may be freely justified - declared 'not guilty'! Oh, the joy that follows - their utter sense of amazed wonder that God would welcome and freely forgive, even THEM! Here in salvation, we see the overflowing riches of God's grace in action! (See Ephesians 1:6 'glorious grace' and 2:7 'the immeasurable riches of his grace'). The Bible is very clear that 'salvation belongs to the Lord!' (Jonah 2:9).
· No-one has reached God's standard
Perhaps you feel you are not that bad and hardly need a Saviour at all, compared with many. This is where you must turn away from such pride, comparing your own performance with others! For, 'All have sinned'! (Romans 3:23).
This is the wonder and astonishment of the ages that God would forgive even those who have little idea how seriously he views their rebellion against himself! Are you amazed that God would freely forgive all who turn to him in repentance and faith? Then seek the Lord while he may be found and get right with him today. Prove that he also is the God of grace for you - overflowing in undeserved favour, as you trust his promise in 'the gospel of the grace of God' (Acts 20:24)!

Article Source:

No comments: