Why do I need the Gospel? Continued
In a sinful world of self promotion, every human is driven by their sin nature. Religion
tries to curb it by imposed rules of righteousness but only have inadequate human power to do so at the best of times. Their intentions may be good but usually result in hypocrisy. Christians need to be above board in every area of their walk, but they still have the old man which drags them down see Rom 7. As a result, there is much hypocrisy in the church because believers buy into the mindset of the running after the things and attitudes of the world. It is delight to see a believer who genuinely puts the needs of others before themselves in the fashion that Paul describes in this passage. But this kind of lifestyle is not something that can be conjured up from within our selfish being. It is the description of a person controlled by the Divine nature. It is a picture of the control of the Holy Spirit living out his life in you as you live to please God. It takes a mindset being transformed every day, nay, every moment. The Gospel is the power of God unto righteousness. Without it, true righteousness is a figment of religious people’s imagination.
The Gospel on display
2 Cor 6: 3 We put no stumbling block in anyone’s path, so that our ministry will not be discredited. 4 Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses; 5 in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger; 6 in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love; 7 in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left; 8 through glory and dishonor, bad report and good report; genuine, yet regarded as impostors; 9 known, yet regarded as unknown; dying, and yet we live on; beaten, and yet not killed; 10 sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything. 11 We have spoken freely to you, Corinthians, and opened wide our hearts to you. 12 We are not withholding our affection from you, but you are withholding yours from us. 13 As a fair exchange—I speak as to my children—open wide your hearts also.
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 God of truth and integrity. My Gospel gives you these attributes which come from my Divine nature. You cannot manufacture these attributes from within yourselves. Only my Gospel and Spirit can give them to you and develop them in you. As you live through the difficult circumstances of life, your faith will be tried by the world, the flesh and the Devil. Only I have the power and ability to strengthen you to be like me through them all. The world sees these things in you and cannot comprehend your motives so they call you crazy because you don’t live like the rest of them.
I AM the God of sincerity in love. As you live under the control of my Spirit, the world will see my glory. “All men will know that you are my disciples by your love for one another.” But if you do not, then they your reputation and my glory are impugned. Love lives for others. Love denies your self interests and looks to see how it can bless others. My love is genuine. The world’s idea of love is self gratification and emotionalism. Only my Spirit in you can give you genuine love for others, but usually at great cost and sacrifice to you. “Love not in word or tongue but in deed and truth.”
Christianity is not “pie in the sky”, or a “bed of roses”
Passages like this one remind us that anyone can be Christian when life is going easy. It is when we are out of our element, when we are up to our eye balls in hardships, when people take advantage of us and persecute us for Christ, when things are falling apart at the seams, or when we are “at our ropes end” that his power can be seen for what it is in us. This is when everyone else will see him glorified and we realize that it is not coming from our own resources. All around the globe people are being persecuted for Christ. Anyone who will take a stand for Christ in these days here in America is liable to be sued for offending people of dissimilar persuasions. We live in a day as described in Rom 1:32 where people are praising and encouraging behavior directly in conflict with God’s revealed Word, and prosecuting anyone who stands against them. Paul wrote this passage and most of the New Testament under the rule of a wicked man, so why should we expect any different for us?
More to come,