Showing posts with the label Gospel

Bless All Nations

Basic to the redemption of humanity is the covenant with Abraham and his “ seed ,” including the promise that “ all the nations the earth will be blessed in him ,” and that he will have innumerable descendants. How and when will the nations be blessed in the Patriarch? And who are his descendants, and most importantly, who is the true “ seed of Abraham ” who inherits and implements the covenant promises?

According to Paul

In Romans , Paul presents his most detailed explanation of the gospel. He is dealing with conflicts between Gentiles and Jews in the church, and he is preparing the ground for taking the gospel to the west. In the process, he addresses several related topics, including death, redemption, the Law, resurrection, and the New Creation. He begins by describing the plight of humanity that resulted from sin, then he presents the solution provided by God through His son, Jesus Christ.

Message of the Gospel

The Gospel proclaimed by Jesus of Nazareth is  NOT  about reforming a fallen society, fixing a corrupt government, or cleaning up an immoral culture. It summons all men and women to repent and join an entirely new and vastly different social order and political reality, namely, the Kingdom of God. If anything, it subverts the political ideologies and popular beliefs of this age.

American Revival

A popular view often voiced today is that what the church and society need is “revival.” Amen! A little revival would be great. However, there is a twist, for it seems that the heart and focus of this idea is “revival” in the United States of America. If mentioned at all, the other nations of the earth are an afterthought.

Wrath Revealed

In Romans , Paul details the gospel, and declares it is the “ power of God for salvation .” Due to humanity’s sin, two forces are at work - righteousness and wrath. In his Son, God has provided the solution to mankind’s desperate plight, one that is available to all men through the “ faith of Jesus Christ .”

From Faith for Faith

Men are not set right before God from the works of the law but from the faith of Jesus Christ . In his letter to the Romans , Paul demonstrates that all men have sinned. Jews and Gentiles violate God’s revealed will, therefore, no one is justified before Him “ from the law .” Jews have the Law but fall short of its requirements. Gentiles have the witness of their conscience yet live and even revel in sin.

Plight to Solution

In  Romans , Paul argues from plight to solution. The gospel is the “ power of God for salvation .” Due to sin, two forces are at work – righteousness and wrath. In his Son, God provides salvation, the solution to the desperate plight of all men that is available to all on the same basis - “ from the faith of Jesus .”

Both Jew and Gentile

The equality of Jews and Gentiles before God is a crucial theme in Romans . Members of either group stand or fall before Him on the same basis. Paul wrote the letter with two purposes in mind. First, to prepare the ground for his visit to the city. Second, to deal with conflicts between Jewish and Gentile believers. In its first half, he explains his gospel. In the second, he addresses the status of the Jewish people and the specific conflicts in the congregation.

Even an Angel

After a curt introduction, Paul begins his letter to the Galatians with a stern warning. What some members are contemplating amounts to replacing Jesus with a false messiah and a counterfeit gospel. To turn from the “ faith of Jesus Christ ” to circumcision and other “ works of the law ” as the basis of the faith is apostasy. Thus, the sternness of his language.

Heir of the World

According to Paul, the covenant promise of land for Abraham and his seed always envisioned the inclusion of the entire world  – Romans 4:13.  God began to redeem humanity with His covenant with Abraham, beginning with the summons for him to leave his homeland for the “ land that I will show you .” Yahweh would make him into a “ great nation ,” and in the Patriarch, He would “ bless all the clans of the earth .” And from the start, the land promise was central to the covenant.

Abraham's Seed

The Gospel of  Matthew  begins by declaring that Jesus is the “ son of Abraham .” This is more than a genealogical notation - it sets the stage for the theme of fulfillment in this gospel account. The lowly man from Nazareth is the Messiah and King of Israel, the promised “ seed ” of the Patriarch. In him, all the covenant promises find their fulfillment.

For All Nations

After his resurrection, Jesus declared - “ All authority in heaven and on earth is given to me, therefore, go and make disciples of all nations! ” As the Lord over all things, he now sends his disciples to proclaim his sovereignty and salvation everywhere - to the “ uttermost parts of the earth .”

Destiny and Purpose

Our “destiny” is to take up the Cross of Christ, deny ourselves, and follow HIM wherever he goes.  As a young man, I found life disturbing. Having developed an early interest in history, the more I read, the more inexplicable reality became. Human society, past and present, was characterized by inequality, injustice, corruption, and warfare. If existence meant a life of struggle followed by death, what was the point of it all?

True Spirituality

Overused today, the English term ‘spiritual’ is virtually meaningless. To some, it is synonymous with religion. To be religious is to be spiritual. To others, it refers to things that are not of this physical universe, things and beings that are supernatural, otherworldly, noncorporeal, invisible, and timeless.

Only SOME Nations?

Is the Good News of the Kingdom of God a message of hope for only SOME nations, or for all?   Often in church history, the gospel has been perverted into  good news  for some nations, but  bad news  for others. This occurs when representatives of the church of the same Jesus who gave his life for the world associate his name and message with certain nations, races, cultures, and ideologies.

Everlasting Gospel - Final Harvest

Whether one follows the Lamb or the Beast, he will reap everlasting consequences as a result in the coming final harvest  - Revelation 14:6-7.  The preceding sections presented two very different groups - the “ inhabitants of the earth ” that render homage to the “ Beast ,” and the  priests of God , the “ first fruits ” of the earth purchased by the blood of the “ Lamb .” Now, an angelic herald issues the final summons to humanity to repent and pay homage to God while time remains and before the “ final hour ” begins.

Light of the World

According to the apostle John, “ life ” is in the “ word ,” and that life is the “ light of men .” At present, it is “ shining in the darkness ,” and the darkness “ cannot seize ” it. This same “ word ” has been “ made flesh ” and become the living word in Jesus of Nazareth. In him, the glory and life of God are manifested.

Everlasting Glory

The resurrection is not a major subject in Paul’s “pastoral” letters, but he does raise the subject when dealing with the problem of false teachers in Ephesus. As he stated to Timothy, “ God did not give us a spirit of fear but of a sound mind .” The theme of “ sound teaching ” is prominent in the three pastoral letters, and the future resurrection is a prime example of the apostolic doctrines.

Mission of the Church

The church’s mission between now and the return of Jesus is to announce the Good News of his Kingdom to all nations  – Matthew 24:14.  Jesus tasked his disciples with announcing his gospel to all nations, the message he summarized as the “ good news of the Kingdom of God .” In Christ, God’s rule is being established on the earth but in unexpected and paradoxical ways. By the day of his return, Jesus will establish his sovereignty over the nations and subdue all His “ enemies .”

Commencement of the Gospel

The gospel of  Mark  opens with a declaration based on the Hebrew Bible that provides scriptural links to the ministry of John the Baptist. And it sets the stage for the messianic mission of Jesus. In this way, Mark begins on a note of fulfillment. The Nazarene is the promised Messiah of Israel and the Savior of the world.