Why do I need the Gospel, the “Good News”, or to be “born again”?
What does it do for me? First off you need to know that you need it. Contrary to the world’s opinion on the matter, people are not born “good”. We are not “OK”. We are sinful; e.g. nobody had to teach my pre- two year old granddaughter how to be selfish, and how to throw fits when she doesn’t get her way, and how to rebuff authority. That comes naturally from her “sin nature”. This is also why there is evil in the world. Romans Chapter 5 is very clear that we are made sinners because of Adam. The authority of Scripture calls us dead in sin, we cannot help it and no amount of psycho babble will dismiss it. Society feeds and enforces (not inscribes) that selfish mentality. People then grow up and use their resources to nurture it. Governments have to make laws to curb it so that anarchy doesn’t overcome the country. Sin is everyone’s problem. Sin is in essence – the worship of self. We do bad things because we are sinners, not vice versa. As with finding the solution to any problem, first we need to acknowledge it by faith and own up to our sin personally before God will do something for us about our sin. This is the whole purpose of the Bible and why Paul wrote this passage. To tell us what he did about our problem. And people called him crazy for doing so, see vs 13.
The Ministry of Reconciliation
11 Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade men. What we are is plain to God, and I hope it is also plain to your conscience. 12 We are not trying to commend ourselves to you again, but are giving you an opportunity to take pride in us, so that you can answer those who take pride in what is seen rather than in what is in the heart. 13 If we are out of our mind, it is for the sake of God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. 14 For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. 15 And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. 16 So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
6 As God’s fellow workers we urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain. 2 For he says,
“In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.”
I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.
As we ponder God’s character from the above passage, I wonder if God would answer our signature question below in the following way…
Who are you Lord?
I AM the holy God who demands justice for the sins of the world. I am the God of love who not only bore the penalty myself, I freely give my righteousness to anyone who will admit that they need it and come to my Son for forgiveness. My love demands that I also give you the choice not to love me. I AM the God who alone can make you holy to my standard. I AM the God who gives true righteousness as an exchange for your sinfulness. I created in you a sense of justice, but your sin nature always contorts it to your own advantage. Your idea of right and wrong is indelibly tainted by your sinful bias thus is incapable of true objectivity. Your standard of goodness is worthless in comparison. Thus man must come to me by the way which I have provided for him via the cross of Christ. All men will one day bow to my justice and admit that I AM Lord, so come now to me while you still can, while you still have the choice.
So what did God do exactly in this Gospel?
In Love, God himself added humanity to his divine nature and he came to earth as a verifiable, historical man – Jesus Christ our Emmanuel (meaning God with us). Having fulfilled the entirety of the righteous requirements of his own Law for us, and fulfilled the prophecies of the prophets, God the Father laid on Jesus (the perfect sacrificial Lamb of God) the entirety of humanity’s accumulated sins (from Adam to the last man who will ever live in this age) and he paid the ultimate price for them, he died. Jesus was separated from the Father for the first time in eternity and went to hell so that you won’t have to go there. Then after three days, God raised himself from the dead and is now offering eternal life to anyone who will acknowledge their need and receive this free gift. Your sins have been forgiven and you too can live in heaven when you allow Christ to do this for you. That is the Gospel, the good news! When you believe his testimony, God places his Spirit in you and you are made a new creation – you are “born again”. It is not something you can earn, or can manage on your own. God died for you and he is the one who places you “into his son and family” as you believe. You are given a new spiritual nature, and then God orchestrates the circumstances of life to grow you as his child into the likeness of Christ over the rest of your life on this earth. Then one day he will take you home to be with him forever.
“Whosoever will” means you can’t blame God
“For God so loved the World that he gave his Son that whosoever believes will not perish but have everlasting life.” The Gospel “… is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last.” All who come to God for salvation must come to him by faith in the work of his son on the cross. Vs 21 above is my favorite verse because it says that God placed my sin on Jesus, and gave me his righteousness in return. Whosoever will may receive the free gift of salvation. Christ died for your sin and has issued the invitation to you so that you have no excuses. You cannot say that you did not know. You cannot blame God for non-disclosure. The liability is on you alone. He has given us two ways to know that he exists; through the miracle of the creation, which declares to us what God is like, his attributes, and his glory, and also more specifically through his word; which also tells us what he did for us so that we can live with him one day. When you believe, you will be made a brand new person inside, one that will live eternally with God. All that is necessary for salvation is to admit that you are a sinner and that you deserve eternal punishment but then believe that Jesus took that penalty for you on himself when he died on the cross. Eph 1:13, 14 “And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.”
What are you waiting for?
More to come,