Monday, March 01, 2010

Mentoring a Brother: 1

Hello Reform-Shire Friends,

I'm working on a mentoring program with a friend.  If you would like to join along on here, I'll try to post what we are discussing (that isn't personal) on here.  Please send me a note if you are following along and I'll make sure I post on a more timely basis or at least let you know what is going on. 

Coram Deo!!!

Since we are focusing on the Gospel.  I guess we need to know exactly what the Gospel is and what I really mean specifically by the Gospel. 

Gospel means good news...  I think we may have all heard that before.  It comes from a Greek word Euangelion
When you break it down you've got Eu (Good)  angel (messenger) ion ...  I don't remember what the "ion" part is...

The prefix to the word Gospel has Eu which we find at the beginning of words like
euphemism = a good word for a bad thing. 
eulogy = a good statement at a funeral
euphonious = good music or good sound

The second part of the word is Angel and the chief function of an angel is to be a messenger

So, that translates into Good message or Good News or Gospel.  Don't worry I learned this from RC Sproul.

Anyhow... The good news that we are always talking about is in light of bad news.

So, what exactly is the bad news????

God is Holy. 

That's it...  And the fact that we are not Holy..

I know that may sound strange at first blush...  But that is the main problem.  In fact I would be bold enough to say that...  This is what the whole Bible is basically about.

The whole Bible is about how God is Holy.  We are not Holy.  And God reveals in scripture how He is going to fix that problem and it was no suprise to God it was part of His Sovereign plan. 

God and His son love each other and they create this humanity in their image.  And they are going to fall into sin.  They are going to need a redeemer and a savior.  God wants to give His son a gift of humanity, but Jesus has to go and redeem them and save them from their sin, which is ultimately saving us from the wrath of God.  And ultimately because He loves His Father and because he loves this gift the Father has given to Him.

So, in a nutshell.  We are saved by God... from God.  I'm not too sure everyone follows it to that conclusion when they talk about salvation.  But, that is really what it is about.  It really all points us to the person and works of Jesus Christ.

So...  Here is how I try to remember this and how I try to share the gospel in a simple way, and it is a good way too look at the Bible as you are reading and studying it.   

So we start with God and His Holiness and we can look at the bible through that lens and see Guilt, Grace, and Gratitude.
I would challenge you to read these passages below and eventually get the RC Sproul book or DVD series on the "Holiness of God' that is a tremendous study.

1. God is Holy (Isaiah 6)
2. Guilt (Romans 3) We are all guilty and we are totally without a way to approach a Holy God (Bad News)
3. Grace (Ephesians 2) Unmerited Favor - God somehow awakens us from death and brings us to life eventhough we are sinners) (Good News was preached and God enabled us to finally hear it)
4. Gratitude - (Romans 12) We now want to live our lives out of Gratitude for what Christ has done for us.
This is how I describe it..

In light of a Holy God, we realize He is so far from us and that we are all fallen with Guilt and we have no hope and nothing to offer for ourselves.  No excuses, no good works, nothing. 
So God by His Grace provides a savior and He also awakens us from our spiritual darkness and brings us into the light of His holiness and makes us alive.  So, as we see all that God did for us and we contributed nothing.  We now live a life out of Gratitude for what God has already done for us. 

So, now a book like Galatians will show you the "Freedom" that we have in Christ and show how we are no longer under the curse of the law.  And we don't go and continue to sin and live it up since God loves to forgive and I love to sin...(what a great relationship)... but we just don't even want to sin because of our longing to please Him and to obey him.  We then can delight in His laws and commands and actually have a chance at growing and following Him and His teachings.  This is called Sanctification and it begins at salvation and contnues as we grow.  Yes we are going to sin but now we have the freedom and the gratitude to hopefully not sin and strive for holiness.... a humbled holiness.

The word that comes to mind is Justification.  Some people refer to that as a "churchy" word.  Or they may complain that now we are talking about doctrine and getting away from the practical.  But, the doctrine of Justification is at the very heart of the Gospel.

If you were to ask a hundred people in church "what is Justification?" you would be suprised that many people don't know how to answer that.  And the people that do answer or at least heard the word may say something like.  "Just as if I had never sinned"  But, no that isn't what the Bible means by Justification. (that is actually a Roman Catholic answer I think)  It is more like a declaration at a trial by a judge.  The judge says you may go because you have been declared righteous because someone else has justified you.

Jesus has done 2 things.

1. Jesus is treated as if He lived the life that you did to satisy God's wrath against sin. (Propitiation, Atonement)
2. We are treated as if we lived the life that Jesus did so we can be declared as righteous by receiving Jesus Righteousness to our account.

Luther called this the "great exchange"

Grace and Peace,

Coram Deo!!! (Before the Face of God)

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