Monday, June 30, 2008

Words of eternal life

Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain (1 Corinthians 15:1-2).

The news about humanity is not good:

“There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, 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 3:10-12).

This is the harsh truth about you and me.

Against this bleak backdrop shines the glorious light of the gospel—the “good news” about which Paul wanted to remind believers: “Christ died for our sins…was buried” and “was raised on the third day” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4).

Why is this good news? I believe Mark Dever, senior pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, DC, states the case accurately when he says, “The heart of the gospel message, the whole reason the church exists, is that every one of us has sinned and separated ourselves from God. But God, in his tremendous and incredible love, has taken on flesh in Christ, lived a perfect life, and died on the cross in the place of every sinner who turns and trusts in him. And he calls us now to repent and to believe in him” [Mark Dever, The Message of the New Testament (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Book, 2005), pp 218-219.].

For people enslaved to sin, alienated from God and under an eternal sentence of death—people like you and me—the gospel is a message of liberation, reconciliation and life eternal. The gospel is the message by which we are saved. Good news, indeed!

Notice, the gospel is “according to the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:3, 4). It cannot be found anywhere else. Think of it: If God had not given us his word, we would have never known the gospel, and no one would be saved. This is why we must “hold firmly” to God’s word; our lives depend upon it. Within its pages are “words of eternal life” (John 6:68).

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