Get Back to the Gospel

“The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction!  But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God.”  1 Corinthians 1:18

Have you noticed that our world is running rampant with a counterfeit gospel, a false doctrine that has nothing to do with Jesus and His death on the cross?

It is a doctrine of good deeds. Sound familiar?  It's the way the devil works--he takes a strand of truth and wraps it all up nice and pretty in a great big lie.  It's worked for him ever since Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.  There is nothing wrong with good deeds, but pretending that they will save us makes us our very own savior.  Much as we, in our all-about-me world might think it rings true, that just doesn't make it so.

Often our culture gets things all backwards.  Lee Strobel illustrates it beautifully with the following equation.  Our world tends to think that:

Jesus + Good Works = Eternal Life

But, the real equation is:

Jesus + Nothing = Eternal Life + Good Works

If we try to follow the first equation, we get away from the gospel message in a couple of very big ways.

First, we begin to think salvation is up to us, or that we can earn it.  The choice is up to us, whether to repent and believe or not, and daily surrender, moment-by-moment surrender of our will to His is up to us, but not the act of saving.

Jesus wants us to depend upon Him as our source, our intimate best friend.  Ephesians 2:8-9 tells us, "For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast."  

Luke 9:23 reminds us that life with Jesus does not begin and end with one prayer for salvation.  It says, "And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me."

Second, the first equation tends to make us think that anyone who does things considered good by the world's standards is a Christian.  But, that's not what the Holy Bible teaches.  The Holy Bible tells us there is none good but God (Mark 10:18; Luke 18:19).  A person who does things the world considers good, who has not repented of sin and believed in the person of Jesus Christ, will not share in the blessings afforded those who believe.

Revelation 20:15 says, "And if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire."

Our God is a loving and righteous judge.  I can't explain it any better than the Holy Bible explains it in 2 Thessalonians 1:5-12, "This is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are also suffering—since indeed God considers it just to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to grant relief to you who are afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.  They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at among all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed. To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power, so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ."

Goodnight, Runners.




Comments

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