Friday, March 20, 2009

The Simplicity of the Gospel.

The core of biblical Christianity is the reality that Jesus Christ bore the sins of His own people in full. That is to say, the simple gospel presented in the Scriptures is that all humans have sinned and are damned to eternal hell to pay for sin unless God Himself intercedes.

To my knowledge, every other world religion claims that man plays some part in salvation (paradise, utopia or whatever). But according to the Bible, this only damns a person to eternal hell because no man can ever work his way into eternal life. The simple reason for this is that all humans have sinned (Psalm 143:2). There is no one who does right before God and never sins (Ecclesiastes 7:20). So, this is where we as humans are in desperate need for God Himself to intercede if He wants to save us.

And this is precisely what God did—through Jesus Christ. Jesus is the Messiah who was foretold in the Hebrew Scriptures (i.e., the Old Testament). He is the image of the invisible God (Col 1:15) and the exact representation of God’s nature (Heb 1:3). Therefore, Jesus—being very God Himself—is the only One who is able to save sinners such as you and I from our sin.

He lived a perfect life without ever sinning but yet paradoxically he died a criminal’s death. He died the most horrific punishment having never committed one lawless deed—ever! And this He accomplished for sinners such as you and me.

This means of salvation is only attributed to the sinner’s life by “faith” alone (Eph 2:8-9) in Jesus Christ. Therefore, salvation is totally ‘outside of us’ and is accomplished in full by another in our behalf. When the sinner believes upon Jesus Christ with saving faith—as opposed to the mere intellectual knowledge or sheer temporal faith—he is instantly, supernaturally, and immediately justified by God. That means that the sinner is not only declared by God, the Perfect Judge, to be absolutely sinless but, on the flip side, the sinner receives the absolute perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ. This is the glory of salvation.

This, however, is not the end of the story for the Christian. The Christian, having been justified, then is a “new creature” and therefore “old things have passed away” (2 Cor 5:17). It is inevitable, then, that the redeemed sinner would endeavor to live a life to honor, obey, and serve the One who saved him from all of his sins. This is a life of obedience. This is a life of conforming to the image of Jesus Christ—what is theologically termed “sanctification.” This is the inevitable result of justification.

It is my hope today that God would stir your heart anew with the glory and the simplicity of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Never forget that you—if you believe upon Christ—have been saved by God. For, after all, “salvation is of the LORD” (Jonah 2:9).


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