Tuesday, April 18, 2006

What's So Good About The Good News?

The Gospel message is revolutionary. In Paul’s day it was considered to be heresy by the Jews and madness by the Gentiles. Their evaluation might have deterred a lesser man, but Paul was not swayed from teaching the simple truth.

Now, apart from the Law (of Moses) the righteousness of God has been made known to us, through the testimony of the Old Testament writers. According to them a relationship with God has been made available to us through faith in Jesus Christ and for all who believe. No one can claim any merit before God; for all have sinned and have fallen short of God’s perfect standard of acceptance, but each can now be justified as a bona fide gift by the grace of God through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus. – Romans 3:21-24 (BRV)

The first thing you realize after doing the research on this subject is that the Gospel message is the most revolutionary revelation in the history of mankind. It truly is “Good News”, but it’s even better than most people think. It is definitely better than portrayed by the modern church. Theirs is a Gospel message telling of heavy duties and responsibilities; all owed to a God who stands ready to punish those who displease Him and doesn’t hesitate to do so through trials, tribulations, diseases and financial woes. Though grace is mentioned in the telling of this version of the Gospel, qualified performance is heavily emphasized, to the extent that unmerited favor seems to be trumped by good behavior, making grace virtually meaningless. In this understanding, true faith is always accompanied by certain specific acts that, as it is told; are demonstrative of a real conversion. This expected standard of morality amounts to nothing more than judgment pretending to be righteousness for without grace the Good News isn’t good at all. It’s nothing more than a New Testament continuation of Old Testament Law keeping, but listen to Romans 5:

For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation. – Romans 5:6-11 (NASB)

What seems to be so difficult for many people to come to grips with is that God loved the world so much that He made a way for the guilty to go scot-free. The Good News is not that a few relatively good people could be saved because of their good deeds, but it is that through simple faith, all who approach the throne will be accepted. The Gospel is “the good news about God’s free gift of grace!” (This will be on the test) Let me repeat that. The Gospel is “the good news about God’s free gift of grace!” When asked, “You mean God is letting the guilty go free?” The answer is, “Yes!” No one will be turned away because of sin, because the consequence for the sin condition was eliminated by the selfless acts and spilt blood of Jesus at Calvary.

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. – Romans 1:16 (NASB)

Some have somehow forgotten that the power of the Gospel is in its radical-ness. Our job as ministers of the Gospel is likened to priests who dispense the blessings of God to the people. It is not our job to judge them. Freely you have received, freely give. Grace in, grace out.

I needed to boldly remind you in writing about some important points concerning God’s grace granted to me, a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles, like a priest, dispensing the gospel (the good news message about God’s free gift of grace), offering to God true believers (humbled by the impact of the simple message) certified by faith and sanctified by the Holy Spirit. – Romans 15:15-16 (BRV)

The enemy wants us to forget the true Gospel. He has been largely successful in getting many of God’s people off track and confused about the necessary day-to-day routine of receiving and dispensing of grace. It’s about grace, not judgment. We are not to judge (condemn) others or ourselves – but we must master the daily routine of putting on the shoes of the Gospel of Peace. Yes, this is the peace that passes understanding (Philippians 4:7). It is the peace given to us by the Lord Himself, unlike the peace the world gives (John 14:27). World peace is based on the circumstance of life, but the peace of Christ walks right through the difficulties of life with complete confidence and joy.

Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. – Romans 5:1-5 (NASB)

This is all ours as we come to know the love of God in our hearts through the Holy Spirit. His love, received by faith, transforms us from mortal weaklings into supernatural giants.

Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful. – Colossians 3:14-15 (NASB)

Rev. Bob Ellis

www.MercyToAll.net

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