What is the meaning of the gospel?

The meaning of the gospel, the good news, is that Jesus Christ has finished the work of forgiveness. Because of the gospel, you are a forgiven person.

We heard the gospel message and we responded with faith: we believed in, relied on and put our trust in the gospel. Immediately, we were made into a new creation. We were born again!

We have not only received a second birth, but we have also been given a new identity. Our new identity is that of a forgiven person.

It is uncommon for a believer to understand this in the beginning of their new life with Jesus. Most of us spent years wandering in the wilderness of “works” trying to get forgiven. We spent years asking Him to forgive us; we continually repented and rededicated ourselves to a life of obedience.

But hopefully, by now, you have been set free from the legalistic way of life and have been set free from a religious mindset. Hopefully you have left behind the ‘wandering in the wilderness’ and have come to lie down in the green pastures of the Promised Land of Rest.

The book of Hebrews talks about this promised rest. The author tells us that there remains a rest, a Sabbath rest, for the people of God.

“For if Joshua had given them rest, then He would not afterward have spoken of another day. There remains therefore a rest for the people of God."

Hebrews 4:8,9

This rest occurs when we stop trying to get forgiven. You will find rest when you let go of that cursed life of wandering in circles in the wilderness of religion, of legalism, of Churchianity, of works-righteousness, or whatever you want to call it!

We enter His rest when we come to understand the true meaning of the gospel: that we are forgiven people.

Trust that Jesus has finished His work through His death, His burial and His resurrection: through the gospel. The work is finished, and He is RESTING!

Since God is resting, we may enter His rest as well.

For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His.

Hebrews 4:10

P.S.: for more on this topic of forgiveness, please listen to this excellent audio series by Aaron Budjen of Living God Ministries.

Christian Dream Interpretation — God drew me closer to Him through a dream — Part 3 of 3.

It’s been said a lot, but it is true:  “Christianity is not a religion; it’s a relationship.”  And it is because our God’s main concern is having a close relationship with us, it is for this reason, that He gave me “The Black Crows dream.”

In the dream I was looking up into the sky at a large white sail that was being carried by half a dozen crows.  As I continued to watch them fly away, I realized that they were not carrying a sail, but a robe.  It was my own white robe that the crows were taking away from me.  I looked on, bothered by this fact, and meanwhile I was chewing a piece of raw meat.  I just stood there, watching and chewing.  I was not able to swallow the meat; it was impossible to swallow.

Upon waking, I deduced that since the crows had taken my “robe of righteousness” (Isaiah 61:10) it must be that God was clarifying His disappointment with me, and telling me that I had become unrighteous.

During this time, I was listening to the “Spiritual Warfare” series produced by Living God Ministries, and thanks to the truth presented through these messages, God began to show me that the dream was actually a really clever way of teaching me about Law versus Grace, the lie versus the truth.

God saw that I was in danger of believing the devil’s lie, so he chose to “wake me up” through a dream.

He used this dream to show me what NOT to believe; to reject the lie that my sin makes me unrighteous. . . . Because believing that lie prevents me from being able to eat “the meat” of the Scriptures.

God is amazing!  And so personal!  He knew exactly what I needed to hear.

The interpretation that God gave me is this:

Satan is a liar who wants me to believe that I can lose my righteousness.  The devil condemns me, accuses me, and gets me to think that my inability to overcome certain sins makes me unworthy and unholy.  Satan wants me to believe that he has the legal right to remove my ‘robe of righteousness’ (he uses his minions, his demons, represented by the crows, to accomplish this task.)  And as long as I believe the devil’s lies, I cannot swallow the meat of the Scripture.  I will not grow in grace and in the knowledge of Jesus Christ.  My Christian life will be stunted and stagnant, as I remain a baby, one who can only drink milk.

I then memorialized what He taught me by writing this poem in my journal:

The black crows carried an ivory sheet,

Five birds flying with a large white sail.

But on second look, it was a cloak.

A robe.  A symbol of my righteousness.

They were stealing it, taking it, flying away.

But it was not theirs to take.

I was watching it happen while eating the meat

that had become inedible.

The theft was induced,

By iniquity and shame.

The theft was produced,

And I granted their gain.

My enemy is skilled with thievery and lies,

I doubted not the black crows’ rights.

Yet robbers they were.  I began to see,

That the white cloak remained on me.

Our God wants to have a close relationship with us, and He wants us to trust in the fact that He has completely forgiven us of all our sins – our transgressions have been removed as far as the east is from the west.

The images in dreams are often symbols or types, so if you think He has given you a dream, ask Him for the interpretation, and He just may tell you what all the symbols mean!

For me, the meaning of the dream was all about His acceptance of me.  He not only loves me, but He accepts me and relates to me in the midst of my sinful condition.  . . . Because of the fact that Jesus finished the work 2,000 years ago.

The New Life

woman walking on pathway while strolling luggage
Photo by VisionPic .net on Pexels.com

 

I was pretty shocked when I began to hear the Lord speak quietly to my heart that it was time to quit church.  “Not so, Lord,” I said, in the spirit of Peter from Acts 10 and 11.

 

But I finally relented.  . . . Although it seemed as though I was having an inner temper tantrum in my “obedience” to my Lord and Master, Jesus the Messiah.  (Good job, Lisa.)

 

The following Sunday, it was a huge surprise to me when Jesus made Himself known.  His presence was manifested to me. “Oh!!  Jesus!”  I said.  “Well, hello there!  It’s been so long!”  And His glorious joy was poured out to my spirit.

 

Of course He had never left me nor forsaken me.  But I had forsaken Him.  For 15 years.  Why?  Well, heck, I was trying to be a “good Christian.”

 

Before quitting church, the Lord had been stripping me of a belief system that was based on rules and regulations.  I was all about, “you have to do this, and you shouldn’t do that.”

 

He led me to quit church in 2004, and by 2006 the only ‘law’ I was still holding on to tenaciously was that we  “have to ask forgiveness for our sins.”  Finally, the Lord gently removed that one last requirement through learning the proper meaning of 1 John 1:8&9.  Simply put, John was speaking to unbelievers (most likely the Gnostics in his audience) in verses 8 and 9 of chapter 1.

 

So, I came to understand that I did not have to ask for forgiveness; that His death on the cross had already accomplished my forgiveness, and I simply had to believe that “it is finished.”

 

Realizing that I no longer had a Christian To-Do List, there was simply nothing left for me to do.  Except to love Him back.  To trust Him.  To rely on Him.  To depend on Him.  I began to live my life in a totally different way.  I trusted Him to lead me and guide me.

 

The way I parented our three kids became completely different; the way I viewed God began to line up with reality; I began to give my husband grace, and stopped trying to change him into a repentant and obedient ‘godly man.’  The TREE OF LIFE became my daily food; I had left behind the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.  I now live every day with Jesus, worshiping Him in spirit and in truth.  It’s a glorious life.

 

And if you’re wondering, no, I don’t go to “church.”  Well, I never went back to “formalized” church.  Yet to this day, I do gather together with believers on a regular basis, and there is more true fellowship in my life now than there ever was in the days when I went to church four times a week