Tuesday, January 19, 2016
The Gospel: Reality's Foundation Part 4
The Gospel, which is everlasting (Revelation 14:6) has existed since the primeval promise to Eve that would bruise the serpent's head while the woman's seed would have his own heel bruised, Genesis 3:15. Not only were God's words--prophetic of the coming Messiah--extremely important, but what He did next was equally so. After cursing Adam, Eve and finally the serpent, God clothed our first parents in tunics of skin, signifying shed blood for the remission of sin; it was the first blood shed on earth and God apparently shed it to atone (literally cover) the guilt and nakedness of Adam and Eve. This symbolized the vicarious death He only just spoke of when he mentioned the seed of the woman being bruised while bruising the serpent. Isaiah the prophet understood this when he was led to write about the virgin mother giving birth to one who would be: "Mighty God, Everlasting Father...of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end," Isaiah 7:14; 9:6-7.
The gospel from the first was perverted from without. Religion is man’s substitute for God, as I have said before. Ancient or modern, eastern or western, God's gospel has been perverted into a system of works, attendance and effort to become--not reconciled to God necessarily--but perfected by our own efforts, or even gods ourselves in certain cases. All religion is essentially self-deifying, and the gospel of religion always has man at its center working out his own salvation with God on the periphery, if it acknowledges His existence at all. The religious gospel is out of touch with reality because it never considers what God Himself says concerning our sin-nature and His own perfect holiness. It cares nothing for what Heaven's king has to say about the requirements for entrance. It is a gospel of pride, created to foster and salvage man's ego and hide the very real shame of our guilt in a veneer of self-righteousness, which God hates and rejects, Psalm 138:6; Isaiah 64:6; Luke 18:9-14; Titus 1:10-16.
The religious gospel from Roman Catholicism to Islam to Mormonism and beyond is this: continue to work at it and you will succeed. God will accept you if you try enough, prove yourself enough, and do enough. In essence its always about you doing something. Religion never provides rest, and its gospel never supplies peace or assurance for those who subscribe to it. No one knows when or how it will end, for God is strangely silent about both duration and the amount needed to finally pay that debt or gain that prize. It is rather a worker/employer relationship, which is contrary to the Biblical gospel, Romans 4:1-5; 11:5-6; Galatians 3:1-9; Ephesians 2:8-9. Galatians in general is a very good book when dealing with works salvation.
Religion, and certain pseudo medical treatments like psychology tend to teach that man is naturally good and can be repaired; the gospel of Christ asserts that man possesses a nature that must be entirely replaced, John 3:1-21; 2nd Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 6:15; Ephesians 4:24; Colossians 3:10.
The biblical gospel is religion’s opposite. Here is what the Bible says about the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Romans 1:16-17 “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “the just shall live by faith.””
1st Corinthians 1:18, 21 “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God…For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.”
1st Timothy 1:8-10 “Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began, but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.”
1st Peter 1:22-23, 25 “Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever…now this is the word which by the gospel was preached to you.”