This week my family and I are at Word Alive 2015.
On Day 3 we scooted, bought books (a good and funny one on Church history!), drank coffee and got blown away… literally and spiritually.
Here are my notes from Day 3…
Morning Bible Reading
There is an authentic Christian Gospel… and a lite, pitiful counterfiet gospel that is no Gospel at all: the gospel of works. The gospel of works we are most at risk from is one where I enter the Kingdom by Jesus but I stay in the Kingdom by my own efforts. Therefore we have no assurance of eternal salvation because we might mess up. We also look down on others because we deem them to be improper Christians for one reason or another.
The Good News
Paul has spelt out the bad news, that we cannot earn righteousness by our own (3v20). Now, Paul spells out the good news…
- that we are justified (v24), declared free of sin by God’s mercy and declared righteous in his sight by God’s grace.
- that we are redeemed (v24), paid for at a great price by the blood of Jesus so that we are not just God’s possession, but his treasured possesion. Without redemption, God’s justification would be unjust.
- that we are atoned for (v25), God’s wrath at our sin is satisfied fully on himself in Jesus on the cross.
This is the true Gospel of God. We are either in perfect relationship with the Father in Christ with the Spirit, or we are not. In Christ, the conditional element of our relationship with the Father has been met in Jesus. Therefore, God is never disatisfied nor frustrated nor upset with us, he never sulks at us. God loves us fully on our worst days as he does on our best days.
A gospel of works (wrong religion) is oppressive and one not of provision by God but one of obligation to God, it is a bully that beats on us if we get it wrong. The Gospel of Jesus is one of provision, entirely merited for us by Jesus. Therefore, we do not boast (3v28), for our righteousness comes by faith (3v29), and so we uphold the law because of what Jesus has done (3v30).
Paul’s Gospel is not new. It was the faith of Abraham (4v1ff) and David (4v8ff). It does not depend on law or right (4v9-25) because the righteousness of Abraham, credited to him by faith (4v22), came 400 years before the law to an uncircumcised gentile.
Abraham’s faith credited by righteousness is not just for Abraham but also for us (4v24). Is our hope, our assurance, our righteousness enitrely resting on Jesus? Is he the sum total of our faith?
When we find ourselves asking ‘am I good enough for God?’ or ‘have I done enough?’ we have two possible answers…
- the answer of a fake gospel: ‘no, and so you need to try harder’.
- the answer of the true Gospel: ‘no, but Jesus has done it for you’.
Upon which answer will we stake our life and eternity?