Published January 31, 2008
Gal. 1:6-9, 11-12; 3:1-9
Related Sunday School Lesson, Bible Studies for Life, Feb. 10
The word “gospel” is often associated with truth. Even from the mouths of those who deny the person and power of Jesus Christ the word has often been used as a stamp of approval to something believed to be absolutely accurate.
The “gospel” goes deeper than that, however. The gospel is God’s love letter to man. It is a beautiful report about His Son, Jesus Christ, who came to the earth in the form of an infant, lived a perfect, holy, blameless life and then died at the hands of cruel men on a cross for the sins of the world. The love letter concludes with the defeat of death and the grave when three days later Jesus arose offering eternal life to those who are willing to accept His wonderful gift of hope and salvation.
The gospel story should make men merry and glad because it is the Word brought to life. It should be joyously proclaimed as man’s redemption achieved through the sacrificial, pure blood of the Son of God. This story has offered religious and spiritual freedom to those who are slaves to sin. His wonderful, matchless grace has given man hope that is undeserved.
The word “gospel” is not only associated with truth but also with God’s love for all mankind in the absolute Truth found in the person of Jesus Christ. Therefore, it should be the desire of all believers to proclaim this blessed message for all to hear. The framework of the message is …
Centered on Christ
Paul’s letter to the Galatian church is saturated with concern over the infiltration of a counterfeit gospel. The Galatians were embracing a “different gospel” (v.6), and the perversion of the truth that often leads to total disparate teaching. Paul reminded them that the gift of salvation comes by grace alone and is not accompanied by the works of man. His reminder also included a stiff warning: “To those who teach an erroneous gospel, may they be set aside for destruction.”
It is imperative that God’s people teach an accurate gospel centered on Jesus Christ because the souls of men are hanging in the balance. A distorted, diluted, and lukewarm gospel simply will not do. “Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are well known to God, and I also trust are well known in your consciences” (II Cor. 5:11).
God will hold the believer accountable one day for the message that is proclaimed. Therefore, it is important to keep a clear conscience by declaring a message centered on Christ alone. The force of the message is …
A work of God
Paul’s declaration is that the message he received could not have come from man. It is God who reveals truth and as a result, the message is completely trustworthy.
God’s people can have that same confidence because of the person of Jesus Christ. He serves as the tangible evidence that solidifies God’s perfect story. His person cannot be denied! This concrete evidence is the force of the gospel and it is what gives believers the authority to speak boldly and joyfully in the name of the Savior.
The gospel leaves the believer without excuse for participating in God’s eternal plan. “Who can separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written: ‘For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 8:35-39). The function of the message is …
Received by faith
Paul’s admonishment to the Galatian church was not to be charmed by the teachings of a counterfeit gospel. He reminded them of how clearly Christ’s death was portrayed. The message was expressed so well that it was as if they had seen Him with their own eyes, and believed. Salvation by grace did not need special consideration. Abraham had faith and it was “accounted to him for righteousness” (Gen. 15:6) even before the Law was written. His acceptance was based solely on God’s grace.
True righteousness comes by faith, not by obedience to laws and traditions. God is not looking for impressive spiritual resumes. Yet many people are diligent to do good works hoping it will make an impact on personal righteousness. It is more pleasing to God when He has a people who live by faith. “For without faith it is impossible to please Him” (Heb. 11:6).
People who respond to God by faith are grafted into a right relationship with Him and nothing else is required to achieve salvation. “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” (Eph. 2:8-10).
God’s story is simple. He loved us so much that He sent His only begotten son, Jesus Christ, into the world so that whosoever would believe in Him would not perish but have everlasting life. Jesus is the centerpiece of our salvation.
The grace God, the Father, extended to us through Jesus Christ, the Son, if received, draws us into a righteous love relationship that results in action. Just as the love of God was put into action through Christ, so can we manifest our love for Him as we live out our faith daily.
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