This aspect can’t be left out of the gospel

I recently saw a church sign that read:

“The Gospel in Six Words: God Loves, We Fail, God Forgives.”

I believe I understand the point the sign is trying to make. The world needs to know about God’s love! After all, God’s love is the root of John 3:16. And you can’t have the gospel without that! So to that extent it’s a good sign.

But if I were to describe the gospel in six words, I believe I would have to include an aspect that appears to get left out quite often in modern theology:

“God Commands, We Fail, God Forgives.”

God forgives because we fail, but the concept of our failure is not based on God’s love – the concept of our failure is based on the giving of God’s command. It is this failure in particular that necessitates God’s forgiveness. God’s law precedes our failure and then our failure is followed by an opportunity to find forgiveness (1 John 3:4-5).

Whether we’re talking about Eden, Calvary or Heaven, access to the tree of life revolves around the existence of a command, a failure and a second chance.

And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” … So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings. … And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.” (Genesis 2:16-17, 3:6-7, 15)

#basic-principles-of-the-gospel, #commandments, #whole-counsel-of-god

The things that some people stumble over

Now if Christ is preached that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?” (1 Corinthians 15:12 – NKJV)

You can almost hear the bewilderment in Paul’s question. There were some at Corinth who had previously obeyed the gospel of a resurrected Jesus Christ (15:1-8, 13-19) but yet they were now stumbling over the idea of the dead being resurrected in the future…or even at all! Unfortunately, the bewilderment of people stumbling over basic gospel principles continues to this day. For example:

  • One may accept a resurrected Jesus, but stumble at the virgin-birth?
  • One may believe that Jesus will return to judge the world, but stumble at the world-wide flood?
  • One may teach that a literal man named Jesus was the second Adam of redemption, but stumble at the teaching of a literal first Adam bringing sin into the world?
  • One may hold to the Bible’s teaching about Jesus walking out of the tomb after three days, but stumble at the world being created in six days?
  • One may be convinced that Jesus died for the sins of the world, but stumble at the existence of a place called Hell?
  • One may place his or her faith in the idea of Jesus living a sinless life, but stumble at the idea of God being able to leave an infallible book that teaches us about it?

It’s wild! It’s head-scratching! It’s sad! But such examples display only a few of the biblical ideas that “believers” stumble over today. And such examples should serve as a warning-sign to any individual being taught that the former can be trusted while the latter stands in doubt…that’s even if they teach the former can be trusted to begin with.

When He had come to His own country, He taught them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished and said, “Where did this Man get this wisdom and these mighty works? Is this not the carpenter’s son? Is not His mother called Mary? And His brothers James, Joses, Simon, and Judas? And His sisters, are they not all with us? Where then did this Man get all these things?” So they were offended at Him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own country and in his own house.” Now He did not do many mighty works there because of their unbelief.” (Matthew 13:54-58 – NKJV)

#basic-principles-of-the-gospel, #denominationalism, #stumbling-block

The 3 declarations of 1 John chapter 1

Here’s a trend involving the word declare in 1 John chapter 1 (NKJV) that I noticed last Sunday night during the scripture reading.

John’s first declaration is that eternal life was personified in Jesus Christ:

  • the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us –” (vs. 2)

John’s initial declaration is made for the purpose of declaring to others that we are able to enjoy the same fellowship that he has with God:

  • that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.” (vs. 3)

John’s final declaration is that this fellowship opportunity being made available through the gospel is a relationship with an ever holy and unchanging God:

  • This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.” (vs. 5)

Summed up, 1 John 1:1-5 is declaring that the message of salvation is meant to be 1) shared, 2) understood and 3) life-changing.

Such may be the reason why John ends his letter by saying:

And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life. Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.” (1 John 5:20-21)

#1-john, #bare-bones-outline, #basic-principles-of-the-gospel, #jesus

August 2015 Issue of Christian Worker (Foundational Principles)

Here’s a link to the latest PDF issue of the Christian Worker.

Here are the topics that you will find:

  • Jesus, Our Saviour (Cody Westbrook)
  • Hear Sam (Willcut)
  • Believe (Mike Vestal)
  • Repent (Mike Bonner)
  • Confession of Faith (Jerrod “Boogie” Doss)
  • Baptism (Robert Jefferies)
  • Living a Faithful, Growing, Godly Life (Rob L. Whitacre)

Christian Worker is an edification effort of the Southwest church of Christ in Austin, Texas.

You can subscribe to the email version of the Christian Worker paper by clicking on the publications link on their website and then following the given instructions…or by clicking on the link provided here in The Fellowship Room under the “Friends” category to your right.

Copyright © 2015 Southwest church of Christ, All rights reserved.

#basic-principles-of-the-gospel, #christian-growth, #christian-worker, #confessing-our-faith, #confession, #hearing-the-gospel, #how-to-become-a-christian, #jesus-christ, #jesus-our-savior, #necessity-of-faith, #purpose-of-water-baptism, #repentance