The Gospel Declared
The gospel has been heralded for many ages in God’s Word and it has been the summation of His revealed will since the beginning. With extreme specificity God declared through His prophet Micah His word saying,
“‘But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah (lower Bethlehem), Too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, from the days of eternity.’”
A prophecy that came 500 years before Christ was born declared to us exactly what would happen, just as it did.
God cast the first shadow of prophecy at the fall of man when he said, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, between her seed and your seed; He shall bruise you on the head and you shall bruise Him on the heel.” (Genesis 3:15).
Even more specific is the shadow of prophecy given when God declared through Isaiah, “But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the chastening for our well-being fell upon Him and by His scourges we are healed. All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; but the Lord has caused our iniquity to fall upon Him!” and “By His knowledge the Righteous One, My Servant, will justify the many, as He will bear their iniquities”
Isaiah 53:4-6 and 11
Making Known the Way of Repentance, Faith, & Reconciliation
At the summation of the age, Jesus brought one central message to the people:
“Now after John had been taken into custody, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’”
This message of repentance had been proclaimed by the prophets of old since early times and rejected by most, much to the demise of the men of old, because “their hearts were always far from God” (Isaiah 29:3), but the people failed to receive reconciliation because of their cold hearts.
But God declared through His prophet Jeremiah that, “‘I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.’” (Jeremiah 31:33).
Therefore, Christ came to make every provision to man so that reconciliation could be made (through Him) in the hearts of God’s people. By His provision Paul declared “Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God” (Col 3:16).
Knowing the victory at hand and the judgment to come, Christ declared “repent and believe, for the Kingdom of God is at hand” so that reconciliation might be had.
The Light of our Reconciliation
“Although He existed in the form of God, He did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
For this reason, also, God highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
At the great cost of emptying Himself of all majesty and humbling Himself, Jesus forged and authored the path into the Kingdom for us; now He has been exalted and is the victorious King. Before Him every knee will bow and every tongue will confess. This is inextricably intertwined within the gospel; the gospel cannot be separated from this message. And this is a good thing, for our King is the victor!
So we, as His followers, servants, and brothers, should also have this attitude in ourselves that we would humble ourselves to the point of death in anticipation that we will be seated in the Heavenly places with Christ Jesus the Lord.
In this way God has broken the barrier that separated man from Him. God has endured humility, emptiness, agony, and death itself for a short time so that He could descend to man because man could not ascend to Him.
The Great Love of God
We should see clearly so that no one being surrounded by darkness, trial, and despair would despair to the point of losing hope and therefore doubt the love of God!
What man is innocent of insulting and scorning God? Who has not spat in His face?
Have you ever tried to exploit the grace of God, gloried in the glory of God for yourself, or boasted in the flesh that is not yours to boast in?
But all of this is for the glory of God so that His love might be known to abound all the more! Even as we were cruel and spat upon His gift (that gift is a perfect and innocent Son who endured ridicule and death for our sake), He Himself would be shown to be just and merciful when He forgives us our debts and reconciled us into His presence!
Like a parent that feels the scorn of a child that turns away to follow after a life that is dishonorable and disgraceful to the parent, so we have insulted God. Like children that declare “you are not my father. Rather, your enemy is my father”, so all the world has done when we turn away from God to follow after Satan.
Like a parent that feels the deep pain of seeing his children fight and destroy one another, being consumed by greed and bitterness, so God has endured these things as a patient Father to restore His children in proper love.
“There is no one that is righteous; not even one. No one understands God or seeks Him. They have all turned aside and become dead” (Issaih 55:8-9; Romans 3:10ff).
Perfect love God has demonstrated to us with patience as He has worked to bring restoration, reconciliation, salvation, and hope to His children.
Therefore, “consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” (Hebrews 12:3).
God’s act of love endured such great darkness, trial, and hostility so that we would not grow weary and lose heart! He perfected our faith so that we would not lose faith. To God be praise and glory forever and ever, AMEN!
A Gospel of Salvation and Hope
Reconciliation in Christ goes beyond “touch not, taste not, and handle not”. It becomes a real, firm, and powerful liberation that reconciles the hearts of God’s people to Him and changes them inside out.
God said that he would place reverence in our hearts (Jeremiah 32:40) and seal us with the Spirit as the sign of His covenant (2 Corinthians 1:22) so that we would become living testimonies for Him (2 Corinthians 3:3). When we see the witness of the scriptures declaring the out-pouring of the gospel and do not see this growth in our own life we should pay attention to this warning sign so that we can repent before the Day of Judgment comes.
So what is the way to this reconciliation? This grand message of reconciliation and redemption is the gospel of salvation and hope.
What is our salvation?
In short, Jesus Christ lifted the veil of human flesh and saved us from three dooms: sin (Romans 3:23), death (Gen 2:17), and the eternal punishment of hell (Luke 16).
No matter who you are, living in a sinful world is not pleasant. We have been conditioned to deal with sin, in fact, to even expect and anticipate it. However, the doom of sin becomes apparent to every person that has been betrayed by a spouse, cheated and ruined by greed and envy, been caught in a perilous cycle of addiction and pain that has ravaged their life and relationships and left them utterly empty and void.
The doom of death is terrifying to anyone that has been faced with it, whether or not you have lost loved ones and been totally and utterly shaken, or you are approaching this fate yourself and must come to grips with the limitless uncertainty that is facing you. The sting of death was sin (1 Cor. 15:56), and ever since that first sting, death was laying hold of all mortal flesh without mercy or exception until Jesus Christ. Those who have been sealed in Christ are patiently waiting as death is the last enemy to be overcome (1 Cor. 15:26).
Hell and its doom, whether or not you believe in it, exist as the ultimate destiny of doom. Reserved for the punishment of sin and the continuation of death (which represents the absence of life), this destruction is, perhaps, the most bitter of them all to man.
The efforts of Satan have tried to do away with sin and hell. Through various methods, we have many people who count sin as a finished element that is no longer imputed (on anyone) and they teach that Hell either does not exist or is not an eternal location for human beings.
I defer to Jesus in Matthew 24:50 and Luke 16, and to Paul in Romans 6, Galatians 5 regarding these issues.
For the sake of brevity in this post, I will simply say that removing these elements from the gospel is a shameful and wicked practice that is done to falsely weaken the gospel in an attempt to render it irrelevant to the modern age.
“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. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, ‘But the righteous man shall live by faith’”
The power of the gospel is the power of Christ to “rescue us from the domain of darkness and transfer us into the Kingdom of Christ” (Col 1:13) and to effect salvation from sin, death, and hell.
And what is our hope?
The hope in Christ that sustains us is in His complete victory and return. Without His victory, we are doomed and our salvation is null and void. Without His return, we are stuck in limbo waiting for a salvation that will never come.
Jesus destroyed the works of Satan and took back the keys of death and hades (Revelations 1:17-18, 1 John 3:8). He cast the enemy down from Heaven and claimed all authority (Revelation 12:12). Although Satan is real and works with fury and wrath in these final hours to consume anyone that lets his or her guard down (1 Peter 5:8), our hope is in Christ to sustain us so that we will not despair to the point of hopelessness.
“And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment”
“‘And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
Matthew 24:30 & 50b
Jesus Christ came and sent out His disciples to offer repentance and forgiveness of sins to all people (Mark 1:14-15, 1 John 1:5-9). He suffered death and rose again conquering sin and death and taking the keys of hades (Revelation 1:17-18). He destroyed the works of Satan (1 John 3:8) by bringing redemption to His people and “transferring us into the Kingdom of light” (Ephesians 1:7 & Colossians 1:13). By His death and resurrection we have become new creations, born again by the water and the spirit and set free from the bondage of sin (John 3:3-5; Romans 6:8-11; Galatians 3 & 5).
Because of Christ it is said, “lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
Knowing that, “after death comes judgment, so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin for those who eagerly await Him”
It is our hope that Christ will return and uphold His salvation in us! That when that fearful and awful day comes, when all the world will be judged, our judgment will be made without reference to our sin because of the total sacrifice offered by Christ on our behalf!
Take it Further
- 1 Corinthians 15:1-8, 14-17, 20-29, & 42-49
- Jeremiah 6:16
- Revelation 12:12