Updated: Mar 11
This is everything! The foundation of all christian faith! Jesus living, dying and rising! In this video we will look at what the gospel actually is? What the Bible teaches in relation to 'the good news.' What does it mean to be saved? How do we enter a relationship with God and what type of change comes when we do enter a relationship with God!
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When I was asked by Anna to do the word of encouragement/ devotion for CU, my immediate reaction was HECK YES. WHY? Because I had these amazing convictions from God about the gospel that was birthed from what God had been teaching me over these past few year! Then i realised i might have to do a set topic- so that's that out of the window- but Anna said do what you feel laid to do by God! Amazing! So here I am.
Why the gospel? Why not something more applicable and current? There is nothing more applicable and current than the gospel!
Why not something that will inspire/ motivate me like one of those inspirational Tik Toks with the background music that makes you want to cry!? There is nothing more encouraging and motivating than a full understanding of the gospel!
Why not talk about something that will help with what situation/ circumstance i am going through right now!? Whether that be the newness of 1st year, or 2nd year for that matter! Or the pressures of Final year! Or are elite (Peter Linkins and Johnny Heron) who are in the arena of a masters (fair play). Or it might not even be Uni, it might be a family situation, it might be suffering, fear, anxiety, stress, broken relationships (friendship or romantic), it might be an eating disorder, it might be your mental health, it might be the divorce of your parents, it might be the sin that is an inescapable stronghold for you!
Insert whatever… having an understanding of the gospel will may not fix the above immediately! But it will 100% equip you and give you a Christlike lens to look at everything through! And this will HELP. This is why I want to talk about the gospel! Because it is everything! Your understanding of the gospel affects everything- the joy you have, the peace you have, the love you have for yourself, God and others are all dictated by this one thing! The gospel!
For many of us, we have an existing understanding of the gospel, about Christ loving us, and dying for us, we can talk about it with great vigour and excitement. But, I fear, for many, you are where I was with the gospel, you had a basic understanding of the gospel that was handicapping you in growing deeper in your relationship with God.
By the end of this short devotion! I pray, through God’s spirit and the word of God- we will all have a better recognition and understanding of the gospel that will equip us in our day to fight, day to day race and day to day walk with Christ!
1) Understanding our sin!
It's a crazy thought to think, but in order to get to the destination of mercy, we first have to arrive at the destination of our sin. It is our sin that reveals the necessity of God’s salvation for his children. It's like this, sitting in my kitchen right now, I am not in need of a parachute! Because my nature and my ability to simply live in gravity and the laws of nature do not warrant a parachute! But throw me out of a plane 30,000 feet in the air, we have a different story… because of my nature and my inability to counter gravity I am now in desperate need of a parachute! This metaphor proves something true of the gospel! Only when we put ourselves in the correct context of who we are by nature- “Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.” (Psalm 51:5) And recognise our own inability to save ourselves, do we then look to an external force that can save us! “There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one” (Romans 3:11-12.) This is the biopsy of humanity^^ Our nature is Sinful- We are Sinful- We are unable- Do you recognise just how awful and sinful you are? By necessity we need to be saved- here comes the wrecking ball of salvation!
2) Understanding Salvation!
2 Corinthians 5, “He who knew no sin became sin, so that we might become the righteousness of God.” God desired that no man should perish (2 Peter 3), loved the World (John 3:16), that he sent his son not to condemn the world but rather to save it (John 3:17)! It was Jesus who took your sinful nature! And instead filled you with his! (1 Corinthians 6) It was Jesus, the one who was perfect and blameless that crucified both my sin and yours to the cross! So that we could be the RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD! What is going on!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (exclamation marks warranted)
But we must remember our sin to get to this point! It’s like two people who went swimming, both swam into trouble and were drowning, the first saved himself, whilst the second couldn’t and instead was saved by someone else. Who has more gratitude? We too must be filled with constant gratitude and thankfulness; this is why God says “in all circumstances give thanks to the Lord,” because us being saved from the circumstance of our sin should result in us having a constant posture of gratitude! Perhaps you struggle with following the COMMAND to be thankful, to be grateful, perhaps this stems from the ease we have to become like the first swimmer who saves himself, for many of us we know and say it is all Christ, but are we falling into a trap of passivity and forgetfulness. Do you forget how sinful, horrible and grotesque you WERE, and how amazing salvation is that you are no longer that, but instead are placed in the highest company of heaven with Jesus (Ephesians 2).
3) Understanding that it's a choice!
Without choice, love could never really exist! You may acknowledge your sin! You may acknowledge the beauty of salvation! But you must make a choice and respond- Ephesians 2:8, “for it is by grace you have been saved through FAITH, this is not of yourselves, but is a gift from God.” What is faith! Faith is something we hope for, it makes true of that which cannot be seen (Hebrews 11:1). Jesus presented people with a choice, he did it with his disciples, he did it through his invitations and his teachings! (Luke 14:15). The greatest interaction that displays this is the story of the rich young man! The young man said “What must I do to receive eternal life,” Jesus replied, “go sell all you have and give to the poor!”, Jesus acknowledges a potential barrier for this young man. In deciding whether to accept Christ, we must acknowledge that Jesus calls us “to take up our cross” and follow him! That is to say it will be difficult, but don’t let people say that it requires sacrifice, because think about it! If we get to be a part of God’s kingdom, and do anything for Christ! That includes carrying a cross, i do not see this as a sacrifice, but rather a privilege made possible by the gospel! Do you see things as a sacrifice? Or instead a great blessing given by our king?
4) Understanding why it is a choice! Why can I be saved from my sin? Why is this salvation possible! The answer… God is love! 1 John 4, “God is love.” Love is not a concept, an ideal, something we aspire towards, LOVE IS GOD. Love is a person, when we love, we operate in God- this is like ‘inception’ crazy. If you want to see what that means, read God’s definition of love in 1 Corinthians 13:4! Then you will see what fuels the gospel!
5) Understanding our identity in Christ! Something happens when the internal work of salvation begins… We become children of God! (1 John 3) Which is better than the previous title we held (Children of wrath/ Ephesians 2:3). We became new creatures (2 Corinthians 5), so when you talk about yourself as a sinner, this is past-tense, you must understand that you are no longer that person, you have been crucified with Christ (Galatians 2:20), you have been set free (John 8), you are now temples of the holy spirit! (1 Corinthians 6) Do you understand your new identity in Christ! Do you derive your value from anything that is ‘i who live’, or is your value… your everything… ‘Christ who lives within me (Galatians 2:19-21) THE ONLY TIME YOU SHOULD LOOK AT YOUR PAST IS TO SEE GOD’S GRACE/ OR TAKE SOMETHING PRACTICAL THAT WILL HELP MOVE YOU FORWARD.
6) Understanding Works! (we will leave this for another time) James 2:16, “Just as a body without a spirit is dead, so is faith without works.”
7) Finally understanding Sanctification! Throughout the New Testament you will see that Salvation is definitive, but also ongoing. We are BEING redeemed and BEING conformed (Romans 5/ Philippians 2), these verbs show that the gospel has both the ‘DONE’ and ‘BEING DONE’ statements at its centre! We will continue to fall short of God's glory, we will continue to sin, we will continue to require God's mercies that are renewed every morning! Sanctification (process of being made clean/holy) is a quintessential part of the gospel that cannot be forgotten! Don’t treat salvation as a one time thing- yes when Jesus saves- Jesus saves for good and there is eternal security (John 6:39) But we need God’s grace and redemptive power everytime that we sin! Don’t diminish the gospel, never say my sin is too great, because what you are really saying is my sin is greater than God, my sin is greater than what Jesus did on the cross! Last time I checked, I served the ONLY ALL POWERFUL God of this universe, Jesus’ precious blood is bigger than any sin. Don’t dilute the gospel, don’t let grace and repentance precede the act of sin- eg. ``I will do this sin, but God will forgive me.” If you love Christ you will hate sin and want to obey God (Romans 7/ John 14). But also, don’t bypass your sin, remember to get to salvation you first must recognise your sin, it is a full circle process and the same with sanctification, you must recognise your sin- feel absolutely horrible that you would hurt your father the way you did, go into a state of mourning (James 4:9), lower yourself, as that is where we belong by our own power, AND THEN be lifted up by Gods grace and his mercy. Confess your sin to which God is faithful and just to forgive (1 John 1:9), forget that sin as it is past-tense and (Philippians 3) God CHOSE to no longer remember your sin. (Hebrews 8:12). If God no longer remembers it, who do we think we are remembering it.
SO THAT'S IT
THE GOSPEL IN A NUTSHELL
A Lot more could be said, but let this be a springboard for you to explore God's word deeper, ask questions, listen to podcasts, sermons, and ask mentors!
Understanding the gospel is key, and having a correct understanding of everything that makes the gospel, will totally transform and change the trajectory of your life!
LOVE MERCY WALK
HUMBLY WITH YOUR GOD