Gift of the Gospel (week 4)

“That coffee was perfect!”
 is a term we use fairly loosely, because, let’s face it,
nothing is perfect.
Was it ever? The bible says so.

God made a perfect world. No sin. Which means no mistakes, no anger, no selfishness, no pain at the hands of others. No death. When God made humans He made them able to choose whether they would go on in blessing, happiness and friendship with God in harmony with the creation – or to choose their own way of doing things, using their own wisdom.  God promised Adam and Eve that while they lived in obedience and friendship with Him, they would be perfectly happy with Him and each other.
 When Adam and Eve sinned all future generations coming from them would be born in sin and unable and unwilling to be good or do good.  After this first sin and rebellion against God, the promised curse was brought into effect on the whole of creation.  That curse which we live with today introduced death both physical and spiritual, trauma, futility and hardship in all of life, alienation from the friendship of God and a creation wracked with disasters, disease and disorder, a creation that is “groaning” in  the words of the bible.   In this world we see and experience fighting, wars, death, selfishness, perversion, lying, cheating, stealing and hopeless brokenness,  men and women seeking to be god of their destiny, but failing dismally to be the saviours of themselves.  This world and the people in it can feel hopeless and lost but thankfully – not God forsaken.  
We humans asked for this mess we have gotten the world into, and continue to mess up with our behaviour.  Not only that – but the righteous God who requires us to speak right, think right and act right, sees that we are disobeying Him and His laws (spelled out in the Ten Commandments) and requires, just like any fair judge does, that these violations are paid for.  
Unfortunately for us… that spells out an eternity of punishment in hell.  You might think… “well I haven’t ever killed anyone..” In his time on earth Christ pointed out that sins begin firstly in the heart, in our motivation and intentions, not just the actions that come from these beginnings.  Even if we have hated another person in our heart – we have already broken the commandment not to murder.  So there it is.  Doesn’t sound like good news yet! Does it? There’s more.

One of the amazing things about God’s character is the fact that He maintains all His great attributes without one overriding another. God doesn’t stop being Just in His judgement in order to graciously free sinners from eternal destruction. He provides a way for His justice to be satisfied that blows us away with His love. He gives His own son – Christ Jesus – pure and holy, mighty and all powerful – gives him (the Son of God) a human body – to walk the earth without ever sinning, and die a criminal’s death, taking all the anger and punishment from His Holy Father that His fallen, lost and sinful people have earned.   Then he rose from the dead having fully satisfied God’s requirement of just judgement and punishment for sin.
It seems too big a thing to do. But God in His greatness did it.  The message is out there.  Jesus commands all men everywhere to believe it and live like they believe it. 
Those that believe that Christ is the son of God, sent to die for their sins, are adopted into God’s very family.  They are made sons and daughters.  They are promised the inheritance of eternal glory, happiness, peace with their creator and the new heavens and earth to live in with God for ever.
The bible tells us:“The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!””

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
1 John 1: 8 & 9

“…For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.”
Ephesians 1: 4-6
You might be agreeing at this stage that the God set out in this Gospel (good news) sounds good and Just, but it’s not enough to just believe intellectually that there is a God.  Or even that Jesus is the Son of God or even that the Bible is true and the gospel makes sense.  Even the devil and his demons believe these facts and tremble.   We actually have to have the supernatural gift of faith.  Faith that makes us give up trying to save ourselves and wholeheartedly loves, trusts in, and believes in God and His Son Jesus Christ and wants to obey his commands.And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”
Hebrews 11:6
And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing.
 The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake.” 
2 Corinthians 4: 3-5
Don’t be among the blinded, the unbelieving those who are destined for hell.

‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will confess to God.’

This message – the gospel – is not about an organisation, or over emotional sentimentalism or a decision that you need to make.  It is about waking up to reality.
 It’s about your creator and you, the fact that, if you are found on your own before your Creator you are in big trouble, and that He has in His mercy provided a way for you to be right with Him again.   
That way is faith in Christ. 
Faith that brings new life – adopted into a new family – God’s family.  Faith that means you are forgiven and covered by Christ’s righteousness.  Faith that means it is possible to start to live like Christ lived.  Faith that means you are no longer in darkness but enlightened. 

 Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near.”
 Isaiah 55:6

“All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away.’
 John 6:37

Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life.”
John 6: 48


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