Archive for the ‘Gospel’ Category

You Can Add Nothing to Jesus

Posted: March 3, 2010 in Gospel, Quotes

Jesus + Nothing = Salvation.  The Ambassador expresses this creatively:

“Its good news for you, no more partition
You’re free to drink from what’s the no more boss missin
Livin water, you give the order, I’ll start mixin
Wait! There’s nothin to mix there’s one ingredient
It’s Jesus and nothin additional for us to medium
.”

-The Ambassador, Talk A Lot, from the Album The Chop Chop.

Perspective

Posted: November 9, 2009 in Gospel

perspective sun

People in general have an inaccurate or just a bad perspective on most things in life. That’s why we have expressions like, “It’s just a game,” “It’s not the end of the world,” or “There are more important things in life than…” If athletes had a good perspective, most of them wouldn’t pound their chest and think they were ‘the man’ because they realized there are more gifted athletes than them. If the 16 year old girl on My Super Sweet Sixteen had a good perspective, she wouldn’t cry when her dad got her a BMW instead of a Mercedes because she would understand that she’s fortunate to even get a car.  If most Americans had a good perspective, they wouldn’t complain about mediocre food because they know that a lot of the world is scrapping for food just to stay alive. The point is simply this: In general, people (including myself) have a hard time putting things into perspective.

So what should shape our perspective on life more than anything else? Is it not the reality of the cross? Is it not the good news that God has sent Christ into the world to save people from their sin? In light of this event in human history, we can gain a true and good perspective on life. Here at the cross we can see how ugly and vile sin is – for nothing short of God’s beloved Son could satisfy his wrath and hatred against sin. Here at the cross we see God’s immeasurable love in giving his Son as a sacrifice to justify his enemies. Here at the cross we see God’s sovereignty and power in his ability to save sinners. At the cross, when truly grasped, people see that they are ill-deserving, but they get grace solely because of God’s goodness through Christ.

Although perspective can be gained in understanding that there are others with more talent than me, or others with less material goods than me, or even that I am only 1 person out of 6,000,000,000 in the world. Ultimate perspective in life can only come through interacting with the marvelous wonder of the cross. When the Spirit soften ones heart to it; thankfulness, humility, and love will over flow in all circumstances because we are starting to see things with the right perspective.

Atonement

Posted: November 2, 2009 in Gospel

I recently watched the movie Atonement. I don’t necessarily recommend the movie, but the premise of the movie was interesting: A 10 year old girl (Briony) wrongly testified against an innocent man (Robbie) by saying that she saw him commit a heinous crime, when she didn’t actually see the man because it was dark. Her older sister (Cecilia) was in love with Robbie and they got ripped apart when he got sent to prison. To make a rather long story short, both Robbie and Cecilia died young and never got a chance for their love to reconnect. Briony realizes her dreadful sin and spends her whole life caring the guilt of her sin. It torments her as she spends her life trying to make atonement for her lie that ruined the lives of two people. The main thing she does is write a novel and change the reality of what happened to Robbie and Cecilia. In her novel, Cecelia and Robbie get back together and live a happy and full life. After a life of trying to right her wrong she knows that it is not enough to change what she did and at one point she says, “No matter how hard I work, I can’t escape from what I did, and what it meant.”

We are a lot like Briony. We want to make amends for our sins by our own doing and working. But we simply cannot make atonement for our own sin because of the holiness of the One we sinned against. Briony realized that she sinned greatly against Robbie and Cecilia, and she did; but the thing she didn’t realize was that her sin was even greater against God, and far more despicable towards God and his Character. The only way we can atone for our sin, is to recognize that we can’t, and trust in the substitutionary atonement of another, namely Jesus Christ. Only his perfect work on our behalf is sufficient to make us right in the eyes of a holy God. Unless we rest in Christ’s finished work, like Briony, we too will spend a life time working to make atonement on our own, which will be in vain.

Works salvation is so plausible to human nature, and the gospel is counter intuitive because it causes people to rely on someone other than themselves. Works righteousness and self sufficiency is the salvation derived from the natural mind; Grace in Christ is the incredible salvation from the supernatural mind of God. Oh, how hard is it to set aside self, to set aside all goodness and fall fully on the righteousness of Christ. We can’t bring anything less than perfection to God for acceptance, and we cannot provide perfection on our own. God will only deal favorably with those who take hold of Christ’s righteousness and perfect sacrifice by faith, and this indeed is a supernatural wonder!

By nature, we would like to be bringing something to Christ, but that must not be. Not a penny of nature’s highest improvements will pass in heaven. Grace will not stand with works (Titus 3:5; Rom 11:6). That is a terrible point to human nature, which cannot think of being stripped of all, not having a rag of duty or righteousness left to look at.

Self-righteousness and self-sufficiency are the darlings of sinful human nature, which she preserves as her life. That makes Christ seem ugly to sinful human nature. Sinful human nature cannot desire Him. He is just directly opposite to all nature’s glorious interests. Let sinful human nature but make a gospel, and it would make it quite contrary to Christ; it would be to the just, the innocent and the holy. But Christ made the gospel for you: that is, for needy sinners, the ungodly, the unrighteous, the accursed. Human nature cannot endure to think the gospel is only for sinners: it will rather choose to despair than to go to Christ upon such terrible terms. When nature is but put to it by guilt or wrath, it will go to its old haunts of self-righteousness and self-goodness. An infinite power must cast down those strongholds; Christ will look at the most abominable sinner before Him. None but the self-justified stands excluded from the gospel, because to such a one Christ cannot be made justification: he is no sinner.”

-Thomas Wilcox, Honey Out of The Rock

Gospel Provides Freedom to Confess Sin

Posted: September 18, 2009 in Gospel

It’s a hard thing for me to admit when I’m wrong, or have sinned. I have a propensity to blame other people or circumstances for my personal sin. The truth is, although other people are sinful and the world is marred by evil, my greatest enemy and problem is the sin that is living in me. When I get angry, impatience, greedy, self-absorbed, anxious, and unloving I have no problem coming up with a multitude of excuses for why I acted sinfully. This will only create pride and self-exultation rather than the cleansing power of God’s forgiveness. The Bible says if I confess, admit, and own-up to my sin, God is faithful and just to forgive me and cleanse me from my iniquity (1 Jn. 1:9). It’s just plain self-righteous and stupid to try to justify myself before God by blaming others for my sin.

The Gospel creates incredible freedom to admit sin and failure because of Christ perfect substitution on my behalf. You simply have nowhere to go than Christ finished work when you truly take fault for your sin rather than blaming someone or something else. When you say, “I’ve failed, I can’t do this, I’ve sinned,” and take a hold of Christ by faith, God graciously and tenderly cleanses you of your filth.