Behold Your God — Week Eight, Day One

17 Jul

This week as we consider Beholding God and Evangelism we need to start with the gospel. Do we know it? Have we believed it? Have we added to it?

Do we know it?

The gospel is the good news that while we deserve the eternal judgment of the holy God because we have rebelled against Him in sin, this God showed us grace by sending His Son Jesus to earth to live a life of perfect obedience before God and to bear the penalty of our sin in His death on the cross. God raised Him from the dead to validate the worth of His life and death and now the risen Savior stands as the proof of God’s love and as the offer of God’s grace. Everyone who trusts in Him, not leaning on self or sin but on the Savior, has eternal life rather than eternal judgment, is welcomed into the family of God and will be made more and more like Jesus in the course of their earthly life.

Have we believed it?

I am hesitant to tell you whether you have believed the gospel or not. God knows, and you probably know too. There are a few tests given in the book of 1 John.

True believers don’t walk in darkness, make a practice of sinning, live a lifestyle of rebellion against God (1 John chapters 1 and 2).

True believers seek to follow Jesus’ commands and to become like Him (chapters 2 and 3).

True believers love their fellow believers (chapter 2).

True believers do not love the things of the world (chapter 2).

True believers have the hope of heaven (chapter 3).

True believers discern truth from falsehood and hold to what is true (chapter 4).

True believers remain in the love of God, have an abiding relationship with him (chapter 4).

True believers trust in Christ alone for salvation (chapter 5).

Now all of these things are not matters of perfection. We will all fall short in these things to some degree because indwelling sin remains. However, there is a baseline of belief in these first two questions which we can use to consider the answers to these two questions . . . Do I know the gospel? Do I believe the gospel?

And with that we come to the third question . . .

Have we added to it?

The Bible is crystal clear that salvation is by grace alone through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone (Ephesians 2:8-10). So we must be vigilant to not add anything to the gospel, lest we make it something other than good news. If we add works to the gospel, it no longer becomes good news because we will all fall short of works that are perfectly pleasing to God. If we add theological understanding to the gospel, we will exclude many who because of education or opportunity will not be able to grasp concepts of God’s foreknowledge or arguments about the second coming. If we add religious activity or devotion to the gospel, we will one day doubt our standing with God when we can no longer participate in religious activity as we once did and we will tend to judge others by their piety. If we add serving the needy to the gospel we will create a hierarchy of acceptance with God based on our service. All of the things I mentioned above are good. Who doesn’t want to live a good life and understand truth and serve and worship and pray? But if they are added to the gospel, as essentials one must have in order to be saved, they turn the good news into bad news and put the burden Jesus bore for us squarely back on our shoulders. The gospel is good news because Jesus paid it all.

My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness. 

I dare not trust the sweetest frame but wholly lean on Jesus’ name.

On Christ the solid rock I stand all other ground is sinking sand, all other ground is sinking sand.

When we begin to understand how good the good news is, we will want to share it with others. Evangelism is built on the foundation of joy in the gospel.

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