Thursday, 2 May 2013

The Gospel in Five words

The gospel is exceptionally most important communication of God to man. In Jesus, who is God the Son, The gospel of Jesus Christ is the summary explanation of who he is and what he accomplished for us. The word gospel literally means "good news". It's good news because it's an answer to our basic problem. Gospel is the revelation of God’s love and sacrifice that saves us from God's righteous judgment upon sinners.

In short, the Gospel is the life-altering news that Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, became man, lived a sinless life under the Law, died for sinners and rose again to reconcile them to himself, eternally victorious over every enemy that stood between God and man. Paul said “Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you…… By this gospel you are saved … that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,  that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,” (1 Corinthians 15:1-4)

In this study we will explore the practical issues surrounding, Redemption, Repentance, Reconciliation, Restoration, and Resurrection. The Five major words that we use to summarize the Gospel on what happened when Jesus died will help us to understand how desperately poor we are by nature and how rich we can become by ‘the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ'.

1. Redemption.

The Bible teaches that sin not only separates sinners from God but imprisons them. They are ‘slaves of sin' (Romans 6:17). What is more, sinners are not merely the captives of a sinful principle, but they are in ‘the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will' (2 Timothy 2:26). Most people reject this, but every sinful habit confirms its truth. Jesus said that he had come to ‘give his life as a ransom for many' (Mark 10:45). His death on the cross was the essential ransom price so that God's justice could be satisfied and the sinners in whose place Jesus died set free.

The Bible sees sin as a debt owed by the sinner to God, but those on whose behalf Jesus died receive not only ‘redemption through his blood' but also ‘the forgiveness of sins' (Ephesians 1:7). In the death of Jesus the believer is cut loose from the double burden of guilt and debt and is freely and fully forgiven — forever. When a ransom has been paid, the captives are set free, or redeemed, and this is what happens to those for whom Jesus gave his life. The apostle Paul says that Jesus ‘redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us' (Galatians 3:13). By nature we are under the ‘curse' of God's holy law, which pronounces us guilty in his sight. Jesus was under no such curse, yet in order to satisfy the demands of divine justice he bore the curse of the law in full. The ransom price to bring redemption to helpless sinners was nothing less than his death in their place, and he paid it in full, setting prisoners of sin free to live in a way that is pleasing to God.

The Bible Dictionary describes redemption as “the sacrificial work of Jesus Christ and our deliverance from sin”. The biblical concept translated as redemption refers to the practice of purchasing a slave in order to free him from slavery. In this sense, Christ has purchased us through His atoning blood and frees us from our bondage to sin (1 Peter 1:18–19). Another definition of redemption is “to repurchase something previously possessed and subsequently lost.  Redemption is thus God’s way of reclaiming his children from the fall of man by sacrificing Christ’s redeeming blood as reparation for their repossession.”

Redemption simply is reestablishment of Christ’s ownership of our lives. Redemption is a past, present, and future activity. When Jesus died on the cross, he paid the penalty owed for our sin, breaking its power to condemn us now and forever. Through humility and repentance, we must examine our attitudes, actions, and intentions, allowing Christ to redeem them (to own them), and make them new. This is a process we must undertake every day of our lives, until we are fully, perfectly redeemed in his eternal presence.

2. Reconciliation

Reconciliation means bringing together those who are separated for one reason or another. By nature and choice we are all separated from God because of our self-centred rebellion against his authority and our deter­min­ation to go our own way. As Jesus put it, ‘The light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their deeds were evil' (John 3:19). The Bible also says that because of sin God has become man's enemy: ‘For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men' (Romans 1:18).Yet God  has taken the initiative and done something astonishing to enable man  to be at peace with him by dealing with the root cause of the rift — human sin.

In the death of his Son, God not only punished human sin but also satisfied his own righteous judgment, and in this he way removed the barrier separating him from sinners. This is why the apostle Paul writes, “ For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!” (Romans 5:10) and tells us, ‘But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.' (Ephesians 2:13).  At the precise moment Jesus died, God provided an amazing visual aid to illustrate this. In the temple in Jerusalem, the focal point of the nation's worship, a richly-embroidered veil or curtain separated the ‘Holy Place' from the ‘Most Holy Place', the inner sanctuary that represented God's presence. As Jesus drew his last breath, “At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split' (Matthew 27:51). This miracle was a sign that, whereas under the old religious system the high priest alone could enter the symbolic presence of God, and then only once a year, the death of Jesus had removed the sin barrier between God and man. Now, all those for whom he died could be reconciled to God without any mediator. This why Bible says ‘Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body” (Hebrews 10:19-20).


Jesus’ death on the Cross doesn’t automatically save and forgive everyone. Repentance is the key to achieving the maximum blessings through both redemption and resurrection. Redemption is a key component of repentance.  Although Jesus died for all people’s sins, they cannot receive God’s forgiveness and pardon unless they personally receive this forgiveness through repentance and faith in Jesus. If they refuse, God is heartbroken and they will not be saved. Repentance is more than confession. It is being truly sorry for the way we lived and forsaking all the sinful ways. “God commands All men everywhere to Repent!” (Acts. 17:30) “He that conceals his sins shall not prosper; but whoever confesses and forsakes them shall have mercy.”  (Prov. 28:13.)

I heard a story about a man was condemned to death for a violent crime. His friend was able to obtain a pardon from the governor. For some strange reason, the condemned man refused the pardon. A special court was called to decide the case. The decision was “The pardon was valid only if the condemned man would receive it. Because he has rejected it, the pardon cannot take effect.” The man was executed. Nobody was sadder than the friend who had tried so hard to save him.

“Let the wicked forsake his way, and the evil man his thoughts and let him return unto the Lord, and He will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon” (Isa. 55:7). Jesus said; except you repent, you will all likewise perish (Luke. 13:3, 5).

Restoration, like redemption, is a process. I believe God desires all broken relationships to be mended, and for all broken and hurting people to have a renewed sense of purpose, unity, and joy in the body of Christ. The restoration process should always seek to restore that which was lost first: a personal sense of identity and purpose in Christ. No one sins without first forsaking his or her identity in Christ and call to live in him. Restoration of identity and purpose begins in the repentance phase of the process by addressing those areas in a person’s life that do not match up with God’s character, will, or truth. In the redemption phase we seek to bring those areas from darkness to light so Christ can renew and redefine them. Restoration of self finds its completion when one is able to authentically accept who one is in Christ, and who Christ is calling him or her to be. At this step in the restoration process, one should see evidence of authenticity, humility, and a renewed passion for holiness. Sin never hurts only the sinner; it hurts everyone in relationship to the one who sins. Family, friends, and communities all can be affected. Restoration in terms of relationships is largely given, not earned. Someone who has offended another can work hard to repent, change, grow, and build trust, but restoration of relationship with the offended is a gift of grace and trust.

There is no greater joy than this to see sinners repent, people redeemed, and relationships restored. As you navigate people through the deep waters of sin, repentance, redemption, and restoration, prayerfully remember the words of Solomon, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5, 6).

Romans 5:1 say “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” The word Justification comes from the law courts. It describes what happens when a judge declares that the prisoner before him is not liable to any penalty demanded by the law and is to be treated as though he had never broken it. Yet, as sinners stand condemned by a God whose eyes are ‘too pure to look on evil' and who ‘cannot tolerate wrong' (Habakkuk 1:13, NIV), how can we possibly be declared ‘Not Guilty' in his sight and treated as though we had never sinned? Jesus provides the answer. His perfect life met all the demands of God's law — he was ‘holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners' (Hebrews 7:26) — and his death paid in full the penalty that God's law demands. Jesus was punished as though he had never been holy, so that those in whose place he died could be treated as though they had never been unholy. God declares a person righteous on the basis of the life and death of his Son, who was acting on that person's behalf. This is why the apostle Paul claims, ‘Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ' (Romans 5:1). The justified sinner is brought into God's favour and family and received as though he had met all the demands of God's holy law. To be justified means to be made right with God for time and eternity.

What is more, the justified sinner receives eternal life immediately. When one of the criminals crucified alongside Jesus turned to him in faith, Jesus promised him, ‘Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise' (Luke 23:43, emphasis added). Their bodies would soon be buried, but the spirits of the sinner and his Saviour would by then be in heaven. Left to ourselves, how poor are we? We are exposed to God's righteous anger, spiritually dead, prisoners of Satan and sin, helpless captives, hopelessly in debt to God, sworn enemies of our Creator and guilty without excuse or escape. How rich can we become because of Jesus' death? We can escape sin's death penalty, find favour with God, be set free from prison, escape from our self-imposed captivity, have all our sins forgiven, have spiritual peace and be right with God for ever.


“But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. Since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive” 1 Corinthians 15:20-22. 

Now, no man would dispute that all men die sooner or later. We also know that the Bible plainly speaks of a great day of judgment coming upon the world. The Bible speaks of physical death, spiritual death and eternal death. All men die physically because they are the sons of Adam. All men are born spiritually dead because of Adam's original sin. If physical death overtakes a man while he is still in the condition of spiritual death, he will experience eternal death which the Bible describes as eternal punishment, separated from the presence of God. The moment a person dies physically, the soul departs the body and goes either into the presence of God or into hell to await the final Day of Judgment. That is the reason why the Bible tells us " is appointed for men to die once and after this comes the judgment." If a person is not prepared for the final Day of Judgment, they have every reason to fear death.

Death is the enemy of man; but it is the glory of the Gospel of Jesus that it teaches us how we may meet this last enemy with triumph. When Jesus Christ was on his way to the grave of Lazarus, he proclaimed, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; 6 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die.” (John 11:25-26) When Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life,” He was claiming to be the source of both. There is no resurrection apart from Christ, and there is no eternal life apart from Christ. Beyond that, Jesus was also making a statement concerning His divine nature. He does more than give life; He is life, and therefore death has no ultimate power over Him. 

Resurrection of Jesus made all the difference in the world. The death of the body, some day, is strangely linked, in a way that we do not fully comprehend, with the death which is at work in our inner lives, right now. That is, death is all one thing, whether it takes place and affects the physical body some day, or whether it is taking place within the spirit of man today. It is all of a piece. And that inner death is what we experience in a thousand ways - sometimes as loneliness, bitterness, emptiness, despair, depression of spirit, and sometimes it is malice and resentment and violence. Whatever it may be, it is not what God intended for man. It is an enemy which has seized man and lives with him and haunts him in everything he does. The glorious hope as it is in Jesus, is that Jesus Christ, in dying and rising from the dead, that he defeated it by his risen power. And the result  is peace instead of restlessness, acceptance rather than guilt, love in place of lust or hate, power to replace weakness, joy for mourning, beauty for ashes, hope for despair, courage in place of cowardice, and cleansing from all dirt and filth of spirit.

The reason Jesus Christ means so much to the world is because he brought mankind a great new hope- The hope of life beyond the grave. He robbed death of its sting and the grave of its victory. He brought life and immortality to light through the Gospel. 2Tim.1:10. Until Jesus Christ came, men died without hope. Death was feared, for death was an enemy. Men hated it, fought against it, and dreaded its arrival. Jesus promised a life of endless bliss and joy, a life where there would be no more pain, sickness, and death. Never before had men heard of such a glorious resurrection and a life of endless bliss with Christ. A life with Christ in place where there would be joy unutterable and peace indescribable. 

In his great chapter on the Resurrection, the Apostle Paul taught: about the Resurrection Body
He said “But someone will ask, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body will they come?” ……………, There are also heavenly bodies and there are earthly bodies; but the splendor of the heavenly bodies is one kind, and the splendor of the earthly bodies is another.  The sun has one kind of splendor, the moon another and the stars another; and star differs from star in splendor. So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable;  it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.  …………. I declare to you, brothers and sisters, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed—  in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.” (1 Corinthians 15:35-52).

The spirit and the body shall be reunited again in its perfect form; both limb and joint shall be restored to its proper frame, even as we now are at this time. . . . And even there shall not so much as a hair of their heads be lost; but everything shall be restored to its perfect frame. this mortal body is raised to an immortal body, that is from death, even from the first death unto life, that they can die no more; their spirits uniting with their bodies, never to be divided; thus the whole becoming spiritual and immortal, Bible says "For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: so shall we ever be with the Lord" (1 Thess. 4:16-17).