The Eternal Gospel

Tuesday, December 16, 2014, 4:50 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song, “Praise Be Told.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Psalm 14 (ESV).

No One

To the choirmaster. Of David.

The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.”
They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds,
there is none who does good.
The Lord looks down from heaven on the children of man,
to see if there are any who understand,
who seek after God.
They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt;
there is none who does good,
not even one.
~ Ps. 14:1-3; cf. Ro. 3:10-12​

When God first created man and woman they were perfect, without sin, and they lived in perfect fellowship with God in the Garden of Eden. Then, one day Satan tempted woman to eat of a tree God had forbidden them to eat of, and she sinned against God, followed by her husband. Since that time, humankind has been born with a sin nature, and thus, apart from the saving grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ, we come up short of attaining the righteous life God intended for humans to live (See: Ro. 3). Without Christ, we are lost in our sins, separate from God, without hope, and destined for eternal punishment in hell.

No Knowledge?

Have they no knowledge, all the evildoers
who eat up my people as they eat bread
and do not call upon the Lord?
~ Ps. 14:4; cf. Ro. 1:18-32​

Do unsaved humans have knowledge of God? Yes, they have knowledge! In Romans 1 we read that what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. “His eternal power and divine nature have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.”

It is not that human beings lack knowledge of God but rather that they suppress the knowledge that they have been given and have chosen, instead, to follow after a lie. “For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.”

Instead of honoring God for the holy God that he is, and worshiping him as their One and Only Lord and Savior, they choose to follow after the gods of this world instead. And, so God gave them up to their sins to do the wicked deeds they conceive in their hearts. “Though they know God's righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.”

Even Christians

The even more sad reality of it all, though, is that so many people who call themselves Christians here in America are living like this. They suppress the Word of God, which they have been taught, and they exchange it for lies which give them the “freedom” to continue to sin without guilt, without remorse, and without fear of punishment, because they believe they have their ticket into heaven and that nothing can touch them, not even God. To top it off, they believe they will also be raptured before anything gets bad, so they won’t really have to suffer like other followers of Christ have had to suffer throughout the world. I believe this is pure arrogance!

The New Testament is filled with warnings, many to the unsaved, but also many to the saved. We are warned against falling away, against having stubborn and rebellious hearts that turn away from God, and against having prideful hearts that think God will never punish us. In Rom. 11 we read that we should not be arrogant about the fact that God cut off the Jews who refused to believe in Jesus but that he grafted us in to the vine (root). We are not to become proud, but we are to live in the fear of the Lord, “for if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will he spare you.” It says here that God’s kindness will continue to be extended to us provided we continue in it, but if we do not, we will be cut off.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t think we should just write off all these warnings to Christians as though they mean nothing just because we are under grace. These warnings are written to those who are under grace (See also: John 8:31-32; Romans 11:17-24; I Co 15:2; Col 1:21-23; II Tim 2:10-13; Hebrews 3:6, 14-15; 2 Pet. 1:5-11; I John 2:24-25). And, they are given to us for a purpose. God did not save us just so we could escape hell and so we could go to heaven when we die. He saved us so we would die to sin and live for him while we still live on the face of this earth. He says he disciplines and rebukes those he loves, so if we are living like this, we need to be earnest and repent.

Be Glad!

Oh, that salvation for Israel would come out of Zion!
When the Lord restores the fortunes of his people,
let Jacob rejoice, let Israel be glad.
~ Ps. 14:7​

Jesus Christ, God the Son, left his throne in heaven, came to earth, and was physically born as a baby. His Father was God, and his mother was human. Jesus Christ was thus fully God and fully human, though he was without sin. When he was around the age of 30 he began his earthly ministry. He called 12 men to be his disciples (followers). They traveled with him nearly everywhere he went. Jesus taught the gospel of salvation all over the place – on mountainsides, by the lake, on the road, in people’s homes, and at the temple. He healed the sick and he raised the dead. Many followed him, but numbers of his followers deserted him when they found his teaching to be harder than what they wanted to follow.

The Jewish religious leaders hated him and were jealous of him, so they tried to trip him up all the time, and tried stirring up the people against him. They were Jesus’ primary nemesis during his earthly ministry. And, yet Jesus knew the purpose for which he was on the earth, so he did not falter, but he continued in the work of his Father in ministering to people’s hurts and in sharing with them the hope of salvation which can only be found in Him.

Yet, it was in God’s plan that Jesus should suffer and die for our sins, so one day Jesus was handed over to be crucified on a cross, although he had done no wrong. When he died, our sins died with him, and when he was resurrected back to life he conquered sin, death, hell and Satan. By God’s grace, through faith in Jesus Christ and in what he did for us on the cross, we can be delivered from eternal damnation, be given the hope of eternal life with God in heaven, and we can be set free from the control of sin over our lives, as well as be set free to walk in the righteousness and holiness of the Lord. Amen!

“For it is by grace we have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast” (See: Eph. 2:8-9).

Yet, this does not mean that nothing is required of us. We don’t do anything to earn our salvation or to deserve our salvation. This is true, and yet faith, although a gift from God, is not just some intellectual assent to what Jesus did or some emotional decision we make at an altar. It is not just a prayer we pray and then we are in. A true understanding of Biblical faith in relation to our salvation teaches us that faith in Christ means that we agree with God about our sin and we cooperate with God in his work of grace in our lives by dying with Christ to our old lives of living for sin and self. We have to submit to the cross and we have to surrender to Christ and allow him to conform us to the image of Christ and to make us into new creatures, “created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (See: Eph. 4:17-24; cf. Luke 9:23-25; Ac. 26:16-18; Ro. 6-8; Gal. 2:20; 1 Pet. 2:24-25; & 1 Jn. 1-5).

Jesus Christ died on the cross, again not just so we could escape hell and go to heaven, but so we would no longer live for ourselves but for him who died for us (See: 2 Co. 5:15). His grace teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we wait for Christ’s return. He gave himself up for us, not so we could be free to continue in sin without guilt, but “to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good” (See: Tit. 2:11-14; cf. Ro. 6-8). This is a true picture of God’s grace. True grace does not leave us still under bondage to sin, but it sets us free! It doesn’t give us an excuse for continued willful sin, but it demands submission, obedience and surrender to the cross of Christ.

Praise Be Told! / An Original Work / December 28, 2013

Based off Various Scriptures

He was pierced for our transgressions.
He was crushed for all our sin.
Our chastisement was upon Him.
By His stripes, we now are healed.

He has witnessed all our trials,
And the sins we choose to wear.
Yet, while we were dead in our sin,
Jesus died, our sins to bear.

He himself bore all of our sins
In His body on a cross,
So that we might die to our sin,
And live for His righteousness.

By faith in the pow’r of Jesus
And His blood shed for our sins,
We can be forgiven our sin,
And have life with God in heav’n.

He will lead us and He’ll guide us
In the way that we should go.
He will comfort and protect us,
Because Jesus, we do know.

Though He disciplines for our good,
He will heal us – Praise be told!
Do not fear, your Lord is with you.
Just have faith in Christ your Lord.