Romans 1:7; 5:17; 7:12-20; 11:6; 16:20
The Gospel simply put is "The Good News" of what Christ has done for you and me. This is the message and meaning of who and what Jesus is and has done. He forgave us who were unforgivable because of our sin and separation from God, so we could have salvation and eternal life. Even though we were separated and alienated from God, Jesus, through His love and grace for us, allowed us to be received and reconciled to God by the faith He gives. Through our faith, we accept Him as Savior and Lord. He is our source, hope, and reason for being, and He gives us the faith and abilities to persevere in life and in ministry.
I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all the peoples on earth will be blessed through you. Genesis 12:3
Genesis 12 is a preamble of the Gospel, and what I believe is also one of the main themes of the Bible-that God will use us to spread His Word by our actions through His Grace and Spirit. Grace is a promise and a reality for the Christian, but it is also a responsibility. Grace is not a divine excuse for us to rationalize our will and desires, thinking it is a "get out of jail free" card. Christ delivered us from the curse, not the responsibility.
So then, the law is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous and good. Romans 7:12 NASB
The law reflects God's character; it is HOLY! And, God is JUST. So, our responsibility is to reflect this in our actions (yes this statement will be repeated at times, because most of us just do not get it!). The law was not the curse, it was only the container for it, and the curse was for those who did not follow it. Yet, God promised redemption, which we have today in the person and work of Jesus Christ. God promised a blessing to the people who followed Him, and a curse brought on by themselves to those who would not follow. Today, we Christians have the problem of accepting Grace with a shallow pan, which only holds the promise but will not hold the responsibility. We focus on the love and acceptance, yet we are not loving and accepting to others. We think we have a license to kill-as in to sin, with no contract or covenant with the provider of the Grace. When we do this, our opportunities to glorify Him are muted and we may face judgment that will continue, as the loss of our culture to sin will also continue. When we know what Grace and the Gospel really are and submit to them, then our misplaced judgments and actions will be nullified. There will be room in our lives for something greater than we are, something binding and permanent.
So, are we focusing on ourselves or on what Christ has done? Are we following God's law or our own? The law does not save us, but it will point to our responsibilities and to the Holiness of whom we serve, that we may learn to submit to the authority of Christ with the attitude of trust and gratitude for what He has done. What becomes of us? Growth and maturity, a life filled with blessings flowing from our walk with our Lord to those around us. Our fruit becomes love and care. If not, we will have a life filled with unhappiness and contempt.
Our thinking that we need and deserve more is what keeps us from our focus on Christ. He gives us more when we can handle it and in His timing, which is best. However, we must guard ourselves from the fallacy of thinking that we deserve more. This was the lie of the devil to Eve in the garden-that she deserved more than what God had already given her. When we have the idea of I do not have enough in my life, whether material possessions or blessings, our attitude starts to be contemptuous and soon becomes corrupt. Then, from this corrupt attitude flows discontent and self-pity. We need to protect our rights and especially the rights of those who cannot defend themselves, such as children. But, we are not to keep the focus on our rights over and above our responsibility. Our focus needs to be on our gratitude for the gift of grace, and not what we did not get so we do not become consumed with ingratitude and then have it turn into hostility.
When we fully recognize our acceptance and dependence on Christ and fully feel the love and approval we have from Him, then our spiritual walk will increase. When our walk increases, then the flow of love and care will proceed from us in a powerful and focused way onto others, even those we may feel are beneath us. In Christ, no one is beneath another; we are all equal in Him (Galatians 3:26-29). We will see that we already have all that we could ever want or need. All that we are, and all that we could ever strive to be is found in Christ.Questions
- So, are we focusing on ourselves or on what Christ has done?
- Do you have a grasp on your personality and your areas of strengths and weaknesses?
- Are you accountable to a group of people or a person who knows you well?
- If not, you may soon fall short of making the most on the road of life; don't allow your pride to cause you to crash and burn.
- Is your head full of Scripture, but your heart full of sin and contempt?
- Remember Psalm 10:4
- Knowledge puffs up, but love and care build up; do you agree with this?
- What can you do more to focusing on what Christ has done?
We must ask ourselves if our deepest desires in life and pleasure of living are dedicated to please Christ. Can we take a hard look at our lives and see how others see us, how God sees us? Are our actions in life the result of our will, our desires, our inspirations, and our motivations, or are they the result of living our lives to please God? Is there a distinguished reality of the Lordship of Christ, versus the menagerie of living the lie of our desires? We must be set apart to be promoters of our Lord's Kingdom and Grace, to live that life of distinction, a life that honors Christ and motivates and encourages others. Then we will have a church that points to His glory without legalism and hypocrisy. I know we can do this if we choose!
What grace really is: Genesis 12:3; 6:8; Psalm 45:2; 84:11; Zechariah 12:10; Hosea 14:4; Luke 2:40; John 1:16-17; 10:4; 14:13; Acts 4:33; Romans 1:7; 5:17; 7:12-20; 11:6; 16:20; 1 Corinthians 9:25; 15:10; 2 Corinthians 8:9; Galatians 3:13-15; 5:4; Ephesians 1:7; 2:7-9; 3:2; 4:7-16; 6:24; Philippians 4:1; Colossians 2:7; Titus 2:11-12; Hebrews 6:18-19; 12:28; James 1:2-4; 4:6; 1 Peter 1:2; 5:12; 2 Peter 3:18 (Just think how you could grow your spiritual life and attitude if you took one of these passages each day, read it several times and asked God how you could receive and apply it more?)
© 1998, 2001, 2003, Richard J. Krejcir, Ph.D., Discipleship Tools www.discipleshiptools.org