Spelling Out the Gospel

 

   G-O-S-P-E-L.  Though alone there are only 6 letters, when you put them together they create a word of utmost importance. Gospel is the Good News. We have a Savior, who died on the cross and rose again defeating sin. He gives eternal life to those, who by God’s Spirit, respond in true regenerate faith. But, the Gospel is so much more. The Gospel is God’s story of redemption throughout the entire Bible. So, this multifaceted truth should shape every part of our lives and worship. 

   Firstly, we know the Gospel changes our nature. God exists in holiness, goodness, perfection, righteousness: everything we are not. Since Adam and Eve disobeyed God in the Garden, we have a fallen nature prone to sin where every part of our being and life is infected with sin, set against God and His righteousness. We are spiritually dead wanting to run away from God and His holiness. That’s why we need God to save us; we will never run to Him, left to our own devices. Even if you are “good”, one sin, one tainted good deed, one evil thought is an infinite offense to the infinite glory of God. This one sin is worthy of suffering under the eternal wrath of God in hell. So it does not matter how “good” you are, you need God’s grace.

   Salvation is a gracious gift of God that we do not deserve at all. “Good” deeds do not save us. God changes hearts and causes people to see the sweetness of the Gospel. Through the love of God, the Holy Spirit gives us new life in Christ; He regenerates human hearts. He completely transforms the human soul, which causes us to respond in saving faith to Jesus. We are forever forgiven, eternally secure in Him. 

   The Gospel reveals God’s plan of forgiveness through Jesus. He lived a perfect sinless life obeying God’s commandments perfectly and died in our place as our substitute, bearing the wrath of God for our sins. His sacrifice is eternally sufficient to cover every sin we’ve done or will do. He died on the cross and victoriously rose again on the third day, conquering death and the grave forever. 

   Salvation is not just a one time moment. Salvation also means that we are justified in God’s sight. Jesus bore our sin and we are clothed in His righteousness. Because of Him and His sacrifice, we have a right standing before God. We are adopted into God’s family as children of God; He is our heavenly Father, lovingly and sovereignly caring for us. And for the rest of our lives we should respond in gratitude and seek to live in a way that pleases Him. 

   But, the Gospel is more than being saved from something: it’s being saved to something. We would be subject to the eternal wrath of God, which is poured out on unrepentant sinners. However, through Jesus, we are saved to eternal joy in God forever. We will have rest, perfect peace, and enjoy the sweetness of God’s love. In heaven as believers, we will delight in God free from sin. We will worship our Triune God, the true joy of our souls, perfectly for the rest of eternity. 

   All of these truths should shape our worship and our entire lives. We should be thankful everyday that we have a Savior who intercedes for us, who died specifically for each and one of our sins. All glory goes to God; if someone is saved, it is through Him. This truth gives us humility; we cannot save ourselves. We cannot make ourselves right with the perfect, holy God. We cannot redefine reality. All reality depends upon and all our hope on the resurrection.

   Further, these truths should prompt us to worship through theology. We need to continually learn, read, and grow in the truths of Scripture. We need to daily enrich our souls in the joyous truths of the Gospel. In studying the truth, we must realize that we cannot reduce the Gospel or over emphasize one part of the Gospel. We must be faithful to present the whole truth. The Gospel is God’s teaching; so we cannot insert our ideas into it.

   The Gospel must shape us. All life, worship, and ministry must relate to and revolve around the Gospel. We must worship in light of the cross, serve in light of the cross, fellowship in light of the cross. Everything we do must be for God’s glory; everything we do in this life should point to the Gospel.

   G-O-S-P-E-L. Six simple letters, Yet what we discussed here does not even begin to delve into the depths of this topic. Hopefully it gets us thinking about our incredible Savior and His wonderful story of redemption… what an amazing God…what an amazing truth…what an amazing gift…what an amazing word.


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God is Good

Hello RiverTree family, Lauren here.

We often cheapen the word goodness. We call many things good…that pizza was good…that movie was good…that job was good… and so on. Society often wants to define what is good, telling us in various ways through the use of advertisements, celebrities, social media, and even passing certain laws. The culture seems to always be trying to dictate what is acceptable as good.

However, God Himself is the ultimate standard of good, so only He can define goodness. Since there are many aspects of God’s goodness, the definition is multi-faceted. God’s goodness “means that God is the final standard of good, and that all that God is and does is worthy of approval (Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology). So, we are not at liberty to define goodness. Everything worthy of God’s approval is good. Anything that mirrors his excellence and attributes is good.

So, how is God’s goodness rightly understood and displayed? God is infinitely good. His gloriously perfect goodness characterizes His nature. God’s goodness directly relates to His moral qualities and often theologians consider love, mercy, grace, and patience as facets of God’s goodness. God’s goodness means that He is kind, showing His goodness toward people. He willingly and freely gives to people with no ulterior motive; His generosity goes far beyond what the recipient deserves because we as sinful human beings do not deserve His loving kindness.

Also, since God is good, He is benevolent. Every good and perfect gift and blessing, both spiritual and physical, come from God. He is the source of everything good in the world. Through His generosity, He takes care of all His creatures and meets our everyday needs. Also, His goodness spreads beyond meeting our material needs; in His goodness, He cares about our spiritual needs.

Spiritual blessings are another way we experience the goodness of God. God brings people to Himself and saves them, which further shows that He is good. The most important blessing of His goodness is spiritual redemption. Truly, from the incarnate son of God being born in a manger to His death on the cross for His people’s sin, Jesus showed others God’s true nature and how God acts in goodness toward people.

So, what does all of this mean for us? First, we should respond in thanksgiving. Since God’s goodness coats every aspect of our lives, we should be thankful for every breath and heartbeat and step we take. We should be grateful for the people we love, our food, job, our life. Further, we can see the beauty and goodness in God’s creation and respond in awe and worship. Even in bad days or bad seasons of life, we know God is still good. He is making the situation better than it could be. He knows all things actual and possible and in perfect wisdom, He guides and directs our lives in the best possible way.

Also, we need to make sure our definition of goodness lines up with Scripture. We should not call something good if the Bible clearly explains that it is not or if it contradicts God’s nature. Additionally, we need to show God’s goodness to others; we need to ensure that our behavior and choices relate to the true definition of goodness. Let’s try to restore the true value to the meaning of the word good by letting God’s goodness set the standard.


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