Monday, January 25, 2016
The Gospel: Reality's Foundation Part 6
The gospel is God’s rescue mission to restore mankind to His intended state for us; one of fellowship and worship forever. Our present condition is not God's purpose for us; the suffering endured in this life coupled with the reality of death's finality demonstrate this elegantly. Man needs restoration; and this can only come from the willing offer made by his Creator. God freely offers the free gift of His gospel and the sacrifice of His Son to any and all who will simply and truly believe, Romans 5:15; John 11:25-26. This gospel is everlasting, and it reunites us, God’s wayward creation with its Creator.
Revelation 14:6-7 “Then I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth—to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people—saying with a loud voice, “Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come; and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water.”
We are told that failure to acknowledge God for who He is was man’s first step on the downward spiral that brought us to our current state.
Romans 1:18-21 “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.”
What transpires after this amazing passage shows the progression (or regression) and explains why mankind is in our present sinful, fallen condition. Mankind professed wisdom outside a proper understanding of God's person and purpose for us and immediately became fools. We willfully exchanged a holy God, incapable of corruption to an image more comfortable, one as corruptible as ourselves, Romans 1:22-23. Because their worship of God had been perverted and the genuine God had been replaced by fraudulent copies God gave mankind over to fraudulent sexual practices that perverted sex's intended place in the creation, Romans 1:26-28. More than this: since it pleased humanity to jettison God from their conscience God in turn loosed them to all the error that sin provides. Scripture gives us a terrible look into what really lurks in the human heart, and while this does not obviously described every individual it does comprehensively cover debased human nature apart from Christ's healing influence, Romans 1:28-32. See also Jeremiah 17:9-10.
Next we shall briefly discuss the gospel perverted from within: namely the error of legalism and license. Erring by stressing fear or perverting freedom.
License is by definition absolute carnal freedom to serve one's own will because, being saved, we can no longer suffer the punishment of God's wrath. Paul answers this succinctly in this and many other verses throughout the New Testament. Romans 6:1-2 “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?”
Legalism by definition tries to maintain a godly lifestyle by coercing the flesh through threat of punishment. It is conveniently forgotten that the flesh profits nothing, and a Christian's motivation in our new life is love, not fear, John 6:63; Colossians 2:20-23. Consider for now 1st John 4:18: “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.”