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.

Written December 29, 2021

Can you be friends with God?

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.

October 23, 2021

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.

Written May 3, 2020