Very few people have every heard the Gospel or more accurately the "Good News." It is a recognized fact that adversity, calamity and disaster sells better than good news. Thus, most Christians are busy telling the world God is mad at them, in hopes of saving a few from their hardships. The world outside of the church is continually told that they are terribly wrong and sinful. Therefore, God is going to destroy the earth and all sinners with it. He will cast a who have not accepted him into the lake of fire, where they will be tormented forever and ever. There are those who call this kind of preaching "the Gospel." However, let me ask, "Where is the Good News in this message?" It certainly is not what God commissioned us to share with humanity. In this lesson I want to share the Gospel in three foundational thoughts: Redemption, Reconciliation & Salvation.
Redemption is pictured in the feast of Passover, which began about 3,000 years before the birth of Jesus Christ. Passover is described in Exodus chapter twelve. One lamb was slain for every household and its blood was painted on the lintels and doorposts of the family's house. This was done because the Lord of judgment promised saying, "When I see the blood, I will pass over you." (Ex. 12:13; He. 12:23). The family was to eat the lamb with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. It was to be eaten in haste, prior to their departure from Egypt. Moreover, it was to be eaten with a belt on their waist, sandals on their feet, and their staff in their hand. The feast of Passover was kept each year to commemorate Israel's divine deliverance from Egypt (literally limitation) by the grace of God.
Jesus was the Lamb of God, chosen for the final Passover sacrifice. (Joh. 1:29, 34-37) The cross was his destined alter of sacrifice, where he became the redemptive sacrifice for the entire world (Joh. 12:27, 31-33). He was taken as a Passover Lamb to the slaughter. (Isaiah 53:4-7; Ro. 3:22-26; 1Co. 5:7-8) His blood was shed to freely pay the price to redeem (or loosen) humanity from the power of sin or the curse of the law. (Eph 1:7; Ga. 3:13; 1Pe. 1:18-20; Re. 5:9)
God gives the believer, "the word and ministry of reconciliation!" (2Co.5:14-21) That is, God sends the believer into the world to tell those who have not heard the "Good News" that in Christ, God was reconciling the world to himself. He was no longer imputing (or charging) their intentional or unintentional violations of his law against them. He removed every excuse humanity can ever make for not allowing harmony and fellowship to exist between themselves and God. This reconciliation exists between God and humanity no matter what their condition or state of being.
Jesus Christ accomplished this reconciled state for ALL HUMANITY and not just for believers. It is not just the people who are in church, that God loves, but He love and accepts everyone! That's right. The worst reprobate sinner in the world is every bit as reconciled to God as the believer. For when we were yet unable to help ourselves, Jesus Christ died for THE UNGODLY. Moreover, God exhibited his love toward us, in that, WHILE WE WERE YET SINNERS, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:5-8).
Look at Romans 5:9-10— It says that "when WE WERE ENEMIES, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son." Reconciled in this verse is written in the past tense. That is, God has already restored fellowship between himself and the whole world. He did this when the entire world was "dead in sin, rebellion and unable to help themselves." (Rom. 3:23, 11:32; Gal. 3:22, Eph. 1:1-2).
Through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus, God cleansed, forgave and restored everyone on the face of this earth to himself. (Heb. 9:24-28, 10:7-14). All that is left for each human being to do, is receive this reconciliation by believing. Those who do immediately begin experiencing the benefits of it. (2Co. 5:14-21). This is the good word God has given us to understand and share with those who do not recognize they have fellowship with God. If we share this "Good News of Reconciliation" with those who have lost their sense of well being they soon find the restored fellowship that leads to salvation.
Salvation speaks of the deliverance, preservation and safety of the whole human life. We were subjected to a "curse" through Adam's transgression, but through the righteous act of Jesus at Calvary "the curse was reversed." That is, all of the spiritual, psychological and physical adversities of humanity have been rendered powerless through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ (Ga. 4:9). This salvation brings freedom from "sin's dominion" (Rom. 6:6, 14; He. 9:26), "the devil's works," (1Jo. 3:5-11), and "the legal rules of religion." Moreover, a true moral self-rule springs up from within the heart of the person that experiences salvation (Heb. 10:15-17). The fear of death is made void (Heb. 2:14-15) and righteousness, peace and joy become the central experience of one’s life. (Rom. 14:16-19). Let us remember, it was sin that made death so frightening and sin derived its power from the law by creating its destructive force, guilt. (1Co. 15:56)
The apostle Paul clearly declared that GOD IS THE SAVIOR OF ALL HUMANITY. He also said this salvation is special to those who BELIEVE. That is, those who believe are able to experience the continual benefits of salvation within their lives. Moreover, we are commissioned to carry this message to those who have not heard (1Ti. 4:9-11)
"How can a person experience the redemption, reconciliation and salvation that is now available to them through Jesus Christ?" It is simple because the experience of this word is near to each and every human being. It is a word of faith or persuasion that is in everyone's mouth and heart. I am speaking of the word that we proclaim, which declares that God loves, accepts and is benevolent to EVERYONE. All that remains is for each one to personally confess or agree with their mouth that the Lord Jesus manifested God's love and acceptance of them by giving his life at Calvary. Then by believing in their heart that God raised him from the dead, they will begin experiencing salvation or deliverance from those things that have held them back from truly enjoying life and life more abundantly. (John 10:10). For it is with the heart that one believes into the fairness of God, and with the mouth confession is made into salvation. Remember. Salvation is not a one time experience, but a steady forming and growing within the life of the believer until a person reaches the fulness (or maturity) of the Christ life. (2Co. 1:9-10; Ga. 4:19; Eph. 4:11-16) The Scripture says, “Whoever believes into him will not be put to shame.” (Romans 10:6-13).
We are exhorted as believers to make supplications, prayers, intercessions and thanksgivings on behalf of ALL HUMANITY; including ALL who are in leadership and authority. This we do so that we may live peaceful and tranquil lives with all godliness and honesty. It is also right and pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who wants all humanity to be saved and to come to a full recognition of the truth. For there is but one God and one Mediator between God and humanity—Christ Jesus, himself human; who gave himself as the redemption price for ALL—this message is valid for every period of time. (1Ti. 2:1-8).
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