Sunday, January 31, 2016
The Gospel: Reality's Foundation Part 8
The nature of the gospel forces one to contemplate the reality of Hell. The Bible does not flinch in its very real, highly disturbing portrayal of the damned being separated from God forever due to their unwillingness to listen to reason. God permits us to reject Him, no matter the evidence presented. But there is no genuine autonomy outside of God; Hell is a place of condemnation, where we will be aware of the choice offered us, and how we declined reconciliation.
Mark 16:16 “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.”
John 3:36 “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”
Hell then is our choice, not God’s.
1st Timothy 2:4 “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”
Ezekiel 18:32 “For I have no pleasure in the death of one who dies, says the Lord God, Therefore turn and live!”
Christ died to pay the penalty our sin deserves; He was our substitute. His death was an offering of payment for man’s sin; His resurrection was a demonstration to all that God accepted it in full. Our issue now is whether we choose Christ’s payment by faith or not. The gospel's message is one of reconciliation, and also one of salvation from what we are due and saved to something that is not ours by right. For those who cannot suffer to humble themselves and submit to our Creator, this life is all the Heaven you will know. For the Christian, this is our Hell. It is a very poor exchange in that light.
Conclusion: the gospel is God’s only answer to man’s separation and sin. It is done by God for us and is accepted by faith.
Ephesians 2:8-9 “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”
1st John 5:13 “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.”
The gospel is received by faith alone; it cannot be earned or purchased. It is an individual decision to trust in the gospel and the integrity or name of the person that the gospel is about. We are saved by faith in Christ apart from any works or effort of our own. We must leave behind religion-which is man's effort to supplant God with human merit-and receive by God's grace the forgiveness we need. God will create in us a new person, one who by virtue of the Holy Spirit, is then made fit for habitation in Heaven with our Savior and Creator.
The alternative, the religious gospel—one of works and/or merit—is a false one that is contrary to how Heaven’s owner instructed us to enter.
Just food for thought: If I invite someone into my house through the door, I would expect them to enter that way. If they try to break in another way I’d likely call the police on them. It’s not our choice HOW we enter, but IF we do. Obedience and faith coincide in the Bible. It is like either side of a coin; they must go together to be whole. Faith produces obedience; even as obedience expresses our love for God. When I invite someone through my door (assuming they have no reason to distrust me) I expect that they simply obey and enter if they want in. Those who come otherwise don't want Heaven to be with God; they want to supplant Him and their actions demonstrate that in their hearts they already have.
As Jesus our Lord states:
John 14:6 “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
God bless us, to lead us deeper into His word and fellowship with Him.