The Gospel + nothing = truth

Please. Just give me the gospel and nothing else. Please don’t give me theatrics, and a light show and a sermon spoken with the smooth intonations of a perfectly polished Persuasive Speech.

Just the gospel. Only Jesus Christ and Him crucified. And RISEN.

Yes, we must not forget the resurrection without which we are still in our sins, according to the Apostle Paul.

The gospel is this: Jesus died, Jesus was buried, Jesus rose again.

THAT is the truth. THAT is what we are asked to believe in. THAT is what we are asked to put our faith in. THAT is the message that we are to “hear with faith” and be saved. Saved from hell. Yes, hell. Because you were given a choice.

Eternal life? Or eternal death? Your choice.

So, if you’re not into church with all of its exhibitionism, well then, not to worry. God didn’t ask you to put your faith in church. He’s asked you to trust in the gospel. The gospel plus nothing.

The gospel is a solution to a problem. The problem is spelled out in Genesis chapter 3 where we learn that Adam and Eve died spiritually. They were given a choice. And when they ate the fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, they were deciding to reject God and His indwelling Spirit and to instead believe the words of Satan. God responded with mercy and, right then and there, He promised to send a man who would “crush the head of Satan.”

The Promised Messiah came. He was called Jesus. He was God in the flesh. He came to die to forgive all sin, and then He was buried for three days and three nights, and then he ROSE from the dead to offer His Holy Spirit. . . . THAT is the good news – the gospel!

It is good news because humanity needs the Holy Spirit. The Spirit gives life, and we need to be made spiritually alive. We are all born “in Adam.” Dead in our sins. But Jesus came to save us, to offer good news, glad tidings, “the gospel,” through His death, burial and resurrection.

The gospel is good news. And is it not good of God (more good news!) that the only thing He requires of is to believe in the gospel?

. . . Cause the religious stuff is getting really irritating, don’t you think!?

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I have many other blog posts on the topic of “the gospel.” If you are interested, there is:

Jesus is the Resurrection.

sand dunes during golden hour
Photo by Ralph David on Pexels.com

Jesus said that He wants us to have life, and to have it more abundantly.  He also said, “I am the resurrection and the life.”  And, “I am the way, the truth and the life.”

So, if you want more “life” in your life, then it makes perfect sense to turn to the One who IS life.

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. (John 14:6)

Our job as Christians is to trust Him, the life-giver.  And as you trust Him, you will grow in grace and in the knowledge of Jesus Christ.  And that makes for a glorious, abundant life!!!

As you grow to know Him and His love for you, and perhaps more importantly, His acceptance of you, you will begin to understand what Jesus meant when He said:  “I came so that they might have life.”

“In Him was life, and that life was the light of men.” (John 1:4)

There is no real life apart from the Lord.  Everything else is just a false substitute for life.

John 5:26 also talks about this “real life.”

“For just as the Father has life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself.”

Life begins by responding to Him in faith, and by believing in what He has already done for you: Jesus Christ died, was buried and then He rose again.  When you believe in the gospel you receive spiritual life.  The life that you receive is Him, His Spirit.

Real life begins there… and it never ends.  Believers have been given an eternal life.  As we walk in the Spirit, we are trusting Him.  We trust Him today, tomorrow and we will trust Him for all of eternity.

Let’s continue trusting Him every day and in every circumstance.

And hey, Happy Easter.

Written April 10, 2020

Do Roman Catholics know the truth?      

Maybe.  It depends on the person.

In my case, the answer would have been no.  I did not come to know the truth of the gospel, the truth of Jesus Christ, until I left the Catholic church.

I think I could have been saved during my 20 years as a Catholic; not because of what was taught, but because of what was SUNG.  This story illustrates what I mean . . .

After I became a believer, I moved to Southern California to attend Bible College.  One of the students was an adorable blonde surfer-type-girl who had a Volkswagen van with flowers and Bible verses painted all over.  What stood out the most to me were the words of the Lord Jesus, “I am the resurrection and the life.”

Those words are from John 11:25, “Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies.'”

Those words — I am the resurrection and the life — were the most prominent; they took up an entire side of her van and were painted in huge colorful letters.

I wondered why she made that choice.  Why did she choose those words?  What did they mean, anyway?

I had no idea.

Of course, I knew that Jesus had resurrected from the dead, but still . . . that sentence that Jesus spoke – I am the resurrection and the life – I didn’t really understand it.

At this time in my life, I had been saved two years.  And although I never once read the Bible growing up (like most Roman Catholic families, our Bible was not for reading, it was displayed on a special table on a special stand in the formal living room), the funny thing was, I knew the words well.

Though Catholics hold the Bible at arm’s length, the songs they sing at Mass are often direct quotes of Bible verses.  Growing up, I often sang these words, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in me will never die.  I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in me will live a new life.”

Singing that song every Sunday offered me the opportunity to know the truth.  If I had cared, I could have searched and discovered the truth.

That song preaches the gospel! 

So that is why my answer is maybe.  A Roman Catholic MAY know the truth if they are a person who cares to know the truth.  God can reveal the truth to anyone.

And, by the way, I understand the importance of that Bible verse now (John 11:25).  I understand why that girl painted those words on her VW van.  The resurrection is everything to a Christian.  Without the resurrection we are still in our sins.  If Jesus Christ had only died on the Cross for the forgiveness of sins, well, we would be forgiven dead people.  It is the resurrection that gives us life, that saves us.

He had to take care of the sin problem first, but once that was accomplished, He could then rise from the dead, ascend to heaven, and make the restoration of LIFE available to all who will believe and receive Him.  The Holy Spirit of God is now available to anyone who will receive the message of truth . . . even to Roman Catholics.  🙂

“For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.” (Romans 5:10)

 

March 18, 2017