The Transforming Power of the Gospel: 1

Posted on January 17, 2013 by

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Bible

Image courtesy of Arvind Balaraman/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

” Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care,  trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of the Messiah and the glories that would follow.  It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you, when they spoke of the things that have now been told you by those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. Even angels long to look into these things.”   1 Peter 1:10-12

If the Gospel is indeed true, then it stands at polar opposition to any other religion, philosophy or world view.  If it is true, it is, by its very nature, the most unique thing in the history of the world.  If, it is true, only God could have come up with it!

You see, only in the Gospel do we see a God suffer on behalf of His rebellious children, only in the Gospel do we have the chance to confess our sins and be fully forgiven and restored.  Only in the Gospel do we find the humility of knowing the depth of our brokenness along with the confidence that comes through understanding that we are so loved that God gave His only Son for us.

Tim Keller says that every religion (as well in every secular philosophy) goes something like this, “If I obey, I’ll be accepted.”  If I follow the rules, God will bless me, if I work hard at my education or career, I’ll be rewarded with achievement and respect. Every religion and worldview says that I must bring something of value in order to be allowed access or entrance to the group, favor from others, acceptance from God.

Only the Gospel says, “I am accepted, therefore I obey.”  We cannot earn our acceptance with God, but He has freely given it to us through Jesus Christ.  In Galatians 5, the Apostle Paul tells us that ‘it is for freedom that Christ has set us free.’  In Ephesians, Paul tells us that it is by grace that we have been saved through faith, not by works so that no one can boast.Because of our sin we cannot earn God’s approval, but it is given to us freely by a Suffering Servant. Because of this radical acceptance, we are free to love God and love others without demanding anything in return.  Our attitude in drawing close to Jesus Christ by faith is gratitude and a genuine response to the love He has shown us by His dying for us and rising again.

If the Gospel is true, then it is for Christians as well as non-Christians.  Growing in our faith is not about earning God’s approval by our devotions and prayer times, of trying to be a better person or by reforming our lives since we have a ‘second chance’.  Growing in Christ means going deeper and deeper into the Gospel and understanding the love that God has for us and responding to that love, not the fear of trying to keep God’s Law perfectly from now on- or else.

For my next few blog posts, I will be looking at the depth and meaning that is only in the Gospel- how it changes us, our relationships and our ministries.  If the angels long to look into the Gospel every day, so should we.  As Peter says in his letter, there are glories to come following the sufferings of the Messiah.  And those glories all start and end with the Gospel!

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