May 2, 2009

The Gospel

More about The Gospel of Jesus

Over 10 years ago, I heard the story that changed my life forever. The story is about life & death, love & fear, good & evil, sacrifice & selfishness. I am compelled to share it with everyone who hasn't yet heard it, with the hope that they too will be transformed by the beauty and power of the greatest story ever recorded.

The story is BEAUTIFUL enough to capture all of your other DESIRES
…It is POWERFUL enough to set you free from the strongest chains of GUILT
…It is TERRIFYING enough to stop you in your tracks and make you flee from SIN
…It is COHERRENT enough to bring understand, and make sense out of REALITY
…It is AWESOME enough to humble the most SELF-RIGHTEOUS
…It is GENTLE enough to lift up and heal the most BROKEN HEARTED
…It is TRUTH and it will bring PEACE to your soul in the darkest hours.

The following pages are a brief summary of the story to help you know whether you want to hear more, or just ignore it and walk away.
If you see the beauty of this message and believe, then your life will never be the same.
If you don’t…well… then you don’t.

The Bible IS what it IS.

An Introduction

There are three simple truths about God which are as plain to everyone as the nose on their face. You can deny it, suppress it, or even forget it, but it is written on the heart of every person.

Creation shows that God exists. Everyone who looks at the vastness of the universe, and the detailed design of every living creature can see that it was no accident. The awesome forces in nature give testimony to the even greater power of the God who made them. While some people may honestly believe that God does not exist, they must first have denied and suppressed what is obvious to every child.

Our conscience testifies to our own guilt. The fact that you have done evil is plain to your conscience. When you do things which you know are wrong, or don’t do what you know is right, you have broken the law, and you have done evil. The law is written on your heart. Your conscience accuses you of your guilt, and although the voice can be minimized, medicated, diverted, or denied it finds a way to remind you of your evil deeds during your sober moments. Although no living person may know about your secret sins, you still know and God still knows. Your conscience calls for a cleansing, it wants forgiveness, and it seeks to find relief from the guilt you are carrying. Some may be successful at hardening themselves against their consciences so that they no longer hear its voice, but still it is impossible to undo the actual guilt of the crimes once they have been committed.

You know the power of God through creation, and you know your guilt through the breaking of laws. This naturally leads you to fear death and judgment. Laws demand justice and require punishment. It doesn’t matter how much time passes between committing the crime and having to answer for your crime. The righteousness of God requires your punishment because you have rejected what is good and chosen what is evil. You are never forced to do wrong, but you choose to do it anyway because of your selfish desires and fears. Anyone can appear to be good when they are satisfied and comfortable, but in moments of fear and want, we discover that our hearts are selfish and capable of doing any evil thing to meet our desires. Take an honest lookat yourself and you’ll see that it’s true. Deceit, theft, perversion, hatred, jealousy, anger, lust, arrogance, and selfishness are inside everyone. Would you want your every secret thought exposed and your every secret deed revealed? Take an honest look at how messed up our world is and you’ll see that is the true of all mankind. It is a big obvious fact, and people are too afraid to admit it, because each one of us is a part of the problem and we have no solution.
These terrifying truths are the birthright of all mankind. You know and feel these facts because they are written inside of you. They are felt by every man, woman, and child on earth, who is willing to face the obvious. This is enough to bring you to your knees seeking relief from your guilt, and mercy for the wrath that is to come. To deny these plain truths is foolish, and to argue with those who deny them is foolish as well. They have already been made plain to every person, they don’t need to be proved or defended. The first responsibility of every person is to seek an answer. The good new is that God has provided an answer for those with ears to hear.

The Solution – Jesus

God is one, and yet the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are all God. My intent is not to explain this mystery, but rather to explain why this truth makes our salvation possible.

In the heavenly court the Father is the supreme law giver and judge. He is perfectly good and loves justice; he blesses all righteousness and punishes every evil. It is right to worship him as Lord over his creation, and to fear him because of his burninghatred toward sin and evil. This is the beginning of knowledge and wisdom. However, because he is also merciful and compassionate he loves the people that he created, even in their guilty and condemned condition. The Father loves justice and must punish every sin, but at the same time he desires to show mercy to the creation which he also loves.

How can God uphold justice by punishing sin, and at the same time mercifully provide a way to escape the punishment that justice demands? The answer to this question is found only in Jesus! The Father loved mankind by sending his Son into the world to pay the enormous price for ALL the sins that EVERY person has ever committed. Each sinner owes a debt of eternal death and suffering, but the holy, sinless, priceless blood of the infinite and all-powerful Son was worth far more than the debts of all mankind. By His horrible suffering and sacrificial death on the cross, Jesus offered to the Father something infinitely more valuable than the debts of every person. Because Jesus paid the debt that Justice required, he will freely offer mercy to any sinner whom He chooses. Those who love him, trust him, and follow him are the ones who will receive this gift. Anyone who rejects his love will instead receive thejustice that they have earned.

The good news is simply this…that Jesus loved us by giving his life to provide salvation for every person who will believe and follow him. Because Jesus was more powerful than death itself, he overcame the grave by rising from the dead, and returned to heaven where he sits as king on the throne. He will come again when it is time to set up his kingdom and restore the earth. Then, he will judge the lives of every person, and give them justice or mercy.

His judgment will no longer be based on keeping the law, which condemns you, but he will judge whether you truly love and believe him. If you hear the message of Jesus, agree that it is good, and follow him by faith, he will pay your debt and set you free. Following what is good (even though you are not good yourself) at any cost, reveals that you love him, and your reward is that he will transform you to become like him. He calls us to follow him by laying down our lives for others in the same way he laid down his life for us. This is good. We are free to love people like this because he promises to raise us from the dead, in the same way that he raised from the dead. If we believe, we no longer need to protect our lives, but are free to lay them down knowing that we will get them back in the resurrection. If we try to protect our lives, and hold on to them in selfishness, we will lose them forever on the Day of Judgment. What good is it if we get everything the world has to offer but lose our own soul?

How to Follow Jesus

Jesus alone has the power to pardon sins and ransom you from the demands of Justice, so you must follow him if you want to be saved. When Jesus returned to heaven he sent the Holy Spirit to live within his followers, and to lead them. The Spirit of God has the ability to guide you in truth and to convict you of sin. Those who hear his voice and obey it are His children. If you do not continue to follow because of fear, temptation, or laziness you will be lost. There is no other way to be saved than to follow Him to the end.

Work hard to know Jesus, because this clearly reveals that you love Him and are willing to sacrifice all other things to have him. Read the Bible and measure all things by its patterns so that you can follow Him without being led astray. Look for others who are doing the same and work together to understand what the Bible says. By doing this you will grow in your knowledge of the Lord.

Sin is when you break the law, and do not conform to what is right. When you realize that you have sinned, or been led astray, Jesus expects you to repent and obey him. This goes beyond saying “I’m sorry, please forgive me” but rather paying the price necessary to fix what you have done, and to stop yourself from doing it again. It doesn’t do any good to say “sorry” and then go do it again. Your works and your deeds will reveal what you truly want. True repentance requires a deep change where your innermost desires become like God’s. When you find yourself disobeying, be afraid. The problem is that you want what you want; even if you know that you should want something else. Humbly turn to God and ask Him to change your heart, because this is something only He can do. Confess your sins to other children of God and put them out in the open so that you will be freed from their hold. You must deal with reality and refuse to conceal what is true. Expose it to the light, no matter how ugly it appears, and you will find freedom.

God expects you to maintain a clear conscience at all times, and to do what you know is right. Do not be afraid that you are committing sins which you are not aware of, trust God to reveal them in his time. You will find mercy where you are ignorant, but you are responsible to obey everything that He does reveal to you. The one who is faithful with what they have will be given more, and the one who is not…even what he has been given will be lost.

This path will always lead you away from sin and toward the cross. You will follow Him by laying down your life for the needs of others, knowing that you will also follow Him to the resurrection where you will enter His kingdom with an eternal inheritance and reward. The way is difficult, and has great cost, but it is right that we should offer back to God the very life which he gave us. He clearly says that if you try to keep your life, you will lose it, but if you lay it down for His sake you will keep it eternally. What good is it if you gain the whole world, but lose your soul?

There is much more to know about Jesus and his promises, but this letter contains enough to help you decide whether you want to keep asking more questions. You are being offered an opportunity to follow God himself, and you will either believe him or reject him. If you hear his voice, do not harden your heart.


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