Thursday, January 21, 2016
The Gospel: Reality's Foundation Part 5
The gospel is God’s answer to man’s dilemma; it is His only solution for our genuinely lost condition. Whenever someone rages, demanding why God doesn’t do something about this world’s evil, the answer is that He has: He sent Jesus to die on behalf of sin, paying the penalty that our sin deserved. There will come a day when God acts to remove sin's presence from this universe, ushering in a new heavens and a new earth but He postpones that day of judgment because to rid the world of sin He would also have to rid it of sinners who have yet to receive Christ as their Savior.
This was God's answer to those who mocked at God's judgment, wanting to see the arrival of the day of the Lord: "Woe to you who desire to see the day of the Lord! For what good is the day of the Lord to you? It will be darkness, and not light. It will be as though a man fled from a lion and a bear me him! Or as though he went into the house, leaned his hand on the wall, and a serpent bit him! Is not the day of the Lord darkness and not light? Is it not very dark, with no brightness in it?" Amos 5:18-20.
Sin is the reason the gospel was necessary, and sin was inevitable because any creature less than God is imperfect and therefore capable of making choices unworthy of God’s holy character. But having a will and the ability to do this was necessary, for otherwise entering into a love relationship with our Lord would be impossible. Love is something we give by choice, and robots or puppets cannot choose. Man possesses the will to choose and must exercise that will to choose to believe, for if we do not believe death will be a certain result, John 8:24.
Sin distorts our view of reality by displacing life's center (God) with ourselves; it is Satanic, because it is our constant effort to establish our autonomy, rather than recognizing and submitting to God’s sovereign rule. Satan wanted his autonomy; he wanted to be his own God and worshiped as God when he said,
Isaiah 14:13-14 “I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God…I will be like the Most High.”
The gospel is historically grounded; it is not mystical. It is an established historical fact, one of the most well recorded moments in history that has ever been.
1st Corinthians 15:3-5 “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen.”
Old Testament prophecy had more than 100 unique criteria for the Messiah to meet before the Jews would know that it was Him. These were foretold hundreds or even thousands of years prior to His first advent. The Bible detailed where He would be born, to whom, from what family, tribe and nation, when He would be born and how He would be born. The Scriptures in books such as Isaiah and the Psalms detailed how Jesus would die, and more importantly, why He died. The books of Daniel and Nehemiah collaborate to even determine when our Lord would die.
His physical burial was historical; His body was taken down from the cross, prepared for interment, and He was laid in a tomb. Various historical writers in the first century, whether enemies of Christianity or otherwise, make mention of His life and death in Jerusalem. None bothered to deny His existence. It would have been futile to do so. Even the Jewish leaders chose to concoct false stories, Matthew 28:13. We ignore and disregard evidence to our own hurt and peril.
Christ rose again, the Apostle Paul tells us, and to bring this statement into verifiable history he adds “He was seen.” Witnesses saw Him, talked with Him, learned from Him, ate with Him, for forty days before the Lord departed back into Heaven.
Painstaking evidences have been left behind to demonstrate the veracity of the gospel; God gives us every opportunity to believe a reliable and historically grounded message, a message of God’s love for mankind, and His offer of reconciliation through Christ’s atoning death.