Thursday, April 26, 2007

The Gospel of God

I never really noticed it before, but some events in the last couple years have led me to the belief that the Gospel of the Grace of God is largely being neglected amongst Christians today. I'm not talking about those who overtly attack the Gospel: not Russelites or Mormons. I'm talking about Evangelicals who have (usually for some "good" reasons) let it slip. So I wanted to take a post to present, and possibly discuss, the Gospel of God (Romans 1:).

The Gospel of God is simply this: all men (and women) are ruined, hopeless sinners (Romans 2:1--3; 3:9, 23). We are incapable of being "good enough" for God (Romans 3:20), and thus have no hope of earning God's approval; rather, we are certain of eternal damnation (Romans 1:32). But God has provided something for us, the "righteousness of God", which is apart from anything we can do (Romans 3:21--22). That is, that the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, has come here to earth, and has died as a sacrifice for our sins (Romans 3:24--26). Based on this sacrifice, God will declare anyone who believes Him, who accepts His offer, as righteous (Romans 3:24--26; 4:5). There is nothing to do, no commitments to make; the only stipulation is, that you believe God, which means you stop trying to earn His favour (Romans 4:5). You're not good enough for God, and can't possibly be. You can't earn God's approval. The righteousness that God offers is totally free: no strings attached. But He won't let you try and add anything to it: no good deeds, no bargaining chips. Sinners who believe God are justified. God doesn't justify good people, He justifies "the ungodly".

"But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness." (Romans 4:5).

That's it. That's the Christian gospel. If you don't trust me, read the first four chapters of Romans several times through. It'll fill in some details (none of them flattering to you), but the main points are pretty much the same. And after the first four chapters, you'll read the first verse of the fifth:

"Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:" (Romans 5:1).

That's the point of the Gospel of God: that sinners like you and me and have peace with God.

There are a myriad of issues we could discuss that result from this, but I think I'll save those for another day. Let's just bask in God's goodness for now.


KingJaymz said...

It is the fact that it is not complimentary to the pew sitter that this truth has been watered down. It disaffirms one's fleshly self-esteem, even though it boosts that of the spirit. Too many evangelical churches unwittingly pander to the desires of the flesh in "making nice." I don't think they see it that way, but Catholics do not see their doctrine on the Virgin Mary as denying the sufficiency of Christ, either. Both do it in their own way. But, I think we all have blind spots that could lead to that.

Further proof that "God is good...all the time."

clumsy ox said...

Well said!

I think something the more Calvinist of us have done wrong is, we've spent too much time elaborating on our own sinfulness. I do it all the time, I'm not trying to point a finger at everyone else here.

But too much time spent extolling our own lack of virtue essentially becomes self-occupation, which is contrary to our place as worshippers.

This seems to be at least more Scripturally-based than the standard "feel-good" stuff, but I think we take it too far.

It's about Him, and we need to reflect that.

But like you say, God is good all the time.