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.

Can God be our best friend?

Aaron Budjen has a really interesting take on Proverbs 20:27; the insight he reveals is unique, and as always with Aaron, his teaching points us directly to the heart of God; to a closer relationship with our Savior.

I’ve never heard any other Christian pastor teach the way Aaron does, and this is especially seen in his take on Proverbs 20:27 — you can listen to his teaching on this verse found here.

Proverbs 20:27 says, “The spirit of a man is the lamp of the LORD, Searching all the inner depths of his heart.”

His heart? Whose heart? In his radio broadcast (linked above), Aaron explains that “his heart” is referring to the heart of God. And that our born again spirit — “the spirit of a man” — has been created as a lamp that can shine light into the very heart of our living God. Our spirit is the part of us that is brand new, the part of us where our God resides, the part of us that was resurrected from the dead (we were spiritually dead in our sins and trespasses, and God has made us alive together with Christ; Eph 2:4-5).

Our God wants us to know Him and He has given us the ability to “search all the inner depths of His heart.” This verse in Proverbs shows us that this is the way that God intended for us to relate to Him. We relate to Him by growing to know Him. We grow to know Him as our spirit searches and reaches out for the depths of His heart.

We are encouraged in the Bible to grow to know our God. Think of the words of Peter telling us to grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18). Our goal as born again believers in God is to grow and mature in the knowledge of Him, Jesus our God.

When people look at me, they see my “outer man,” my flesh, my shell, my tent, my “jar of clay.” But the REAL me is on the inside, the “real me” is my spirit. To get to know my spirit would take some effort on your part, it would take some time, it would take patience. Most people don’t know the real me, and if you think about it, you will probably agree that the majority of people that you interact with do not intimately know the true, inner part of who you really are.

The same is with our God. He does want to be our best friend, and I can testify that He is my best friend. This has taken effort; this has taken time; this has taken patience. But as I have grown in grace, as I have come to understand all that I have been given in the New Covenant, in my inheritance in Christ . . . I have grown to know how gracious He is, I have grown to actually know the heart of Jesus Christ. I know Him better than I know anyone else. He truly is my closest and best friend.

This has been made possible because he has created my spirit to be like a lamp, like a light that can shine into the innermost parts of the depths of my God. He has revealed His goodness to me, and I can attest that He truly is the best thing that there is in this universe.

Please check out the audio message by Aaron that I linked above. I’ll share it again here. This is completely 100% possible: God CAN become your best friend.

Let me know your thoughts and if you can say with me that God is your best friend.

God’s Righteousness

anonymous religious hasidim jews during pray near western wall
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

 

I was told once that Christians can be divided into three groups:  Modern-day Pharisees, Christian Eeyores, and lastly, the Grace Community.  And I was told that I was the modern-day Pharisee type.  A lot of you were as well.  You know, the really annoying, judgmental, legalistic type?

 

But, c’mon, unless you used to be an Ultra-Orthodox Jew, you were nothing like a Pharisee. Neither was I.

 

The Pharisees were hard-core religious zealots who devoted every minute of their lives to being righteous; they were sincere and serious. Their zeal was based on the Laws that God spoke to Moses.

 

“For I testify about them that they have a zeal for God, but not in accordance with knowledge.” Romans 10:2

 

Not according to knowledge?

 

The apostle Paul goes on to explain in Romans 10 that their religious practices were “their own” attempts at righteousness, and had nothing to do with God’s.

 

Yes, God gave the Law to Moses, but He did not give it so that it would lead us to Him.  To a life of faith, of reality.  The Law was given to increase the knowledge of sin and to lead us to despair and to the feet of the Lord God. (Romans 5:20)

 

So, if you desire righteousness and holiness, your efforts at being ‘good’ will not succeed. The Bible is so clear.  Again and again we are told that, to be righteous in God’s eyes, you must have FAITH.  Before Jesus came, one had faith in God and the words He spoke to one’s heart.  After Jesus came, one puts their faith in the death, burial, and resurrection.  It is THAT that spells out the good news, the gospel; it is that that saves a soul from hell.

 

Paul calls the gospel “the word of faith.”  The gospel is “the word of faith” because it has to do with assenting to what God reveals to your heart, it is about saying yes, having faith, and telling God, “yes, I believe that Jesus is Lord and that God raised Him from the dead.”

 

The Christian life is a life of faith.  “From faith to faith,” as it is written.  We are saved through faith by grace, and then we grow to know Jesus through faith by grace.

 

Faith is the noun form of the verb “to believe.”  Faith is about trusting God.  It’s about        believing Him. You trust Him for salvation and you continue to trust Him every day afterwards.

 

. . . yet with most of us, there was a slight detour into “works.”  For me, it was a 15 year detour.  Although we were not as serious and sincere as the Pharisees, we church addicts were still nonetheless trying to establish our own righteousness based on “law.”  Our lives were guided by rules and principles and standards (not by the Lord.)

 

But God brought me back to Himself.  He asked me to quit church, to give up my religious idols. To surrender my pride to Him. He asked me to stop TRYING to be righteous.

 

It’s great news because anyone can do this; the gospel applies to anyone and everyone!    God’s idea of righteousness is attainable.

 

We don’t have to be modern-day Pharisees to be righteous in God’s eyes.  I’m still blown away by that!  So, thanks for listening. 🙂

 

“Christ is the end of the Law for righteousness to everyone who believes.” Romans 10:4