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Yours absolutely free, a gift that cannot be bought nor earned. It is more precious than gold, more enduring than monuments of man. It brings joy unspeakable in this life, and afterwards a home of such beauty that words fail to adequately describe it.
WHAT is this gift?
It is salvation from sin through Jesus. "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God," Eph 2:8. A gift of grace is unmerited or unpaid for by the receiver. Thus we read, salvation is a “free gift", Rom. 5:15.
WHY and HOW is it free?
Man is lost. His sin separates him from God and dooms him to punishment in hell, Isaiah 59:1-2. In this condition, man needed salvation. But there was no material commodity that could purchase forgiveness. Because of his sin, he had no merit to offer for it. God gave Jews and Gentiles opportunity to work out their own righteousness. Both only drifted further from God and deeper in sin. Hence, if any would be saved, God had to give salvation to man. One thing stood in the way: justice. God’s law called for punishment of the offender with death and separation from God, Rom. 6:23.
At this point, Christ stepped in
He volunteered to suffer death and separation on the cross that we would not have to endure it. Thus, "For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men." Tit. 2:11. God made him to be a sin offering in our stead, 2 Cor. 5:21. He was wounded for our transgressions … with his stripes we are healed, Isaiah 53:5. Because of this, the free gift of salvation is yours.
You must trust in Jesus as your sin offering and not your own goodness, Eph. 2:8-9.
You must believe in Jesus, Heb: 11:6; repent of your sins, Acts 17:30; confess your love for him, Matt.10:32; and be immersed in baptism, Rom. 6:3-4. He will then forgive your sins, Acts 2:38. God will add you to his family, the Church, Acts 2:47. Be faithful until death and a crown of life is yours, Rev. 2:10. The gift is waiting, won’t you accept it?
In today's society, it seems like everywhere we turn we are introduced to some type of bad news. Before we go to bed at night, many of us watch the evening news; and usually the first thing we hear about is bad news. When we wake up in the morning, many of us read the newspaper; and normally, the first thing we read about is bad news. When we come home from work, and ask our spouse about their day, frequently, the first thing they talk about is the problems they encountered while at work; more bad news.
With so much bad news in the world, it is no wonder so many people have a gloomy outlook on life. It is no wonder so many people have a negative attitude towards others. It is no wonder so many people live their lives with no joy or hope.
Friends, today I am going to share with you -- not some more bad news -- but some good news that we find in the Bible. The Bible is filled with good news that we need to hear and meditate on!
The first piece of good news that we find in the Bible is that Jesus Christ died on the cross so that we can receive salvation.
Before Jesus took His last breath on the cross, mankind was sinking in sin. In fact (Eph. 2:1) teaches that mankind was dead in their sins. But listen to the good news of what God did for us!
"But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions." (Eph. 2:4)
"But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." (Rom. 5:8)
"When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins..." (Col. 2:13)
"God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God." (2 Cor. 5:21)
Friends, we will never hear any better news than this. Jesus Christ died on the cross and rose again, and through His sacrifice, we can have our sins washed away and be free from the bondage of sin, so that one day we can live in heaven.
In his book "Written in Blood," Robert Coleman tells the story of a little boy whose sister needed a blood transfusion. The doctor had explained that she had the same disease the boy had recovered from two years earlier. Her only chance for recovery was a transfusion from someone who had previously conquered the disease. Since the two children had the same rare blood type, the boy was the ideal donor.
The doctor asked the little boy "Would you give your blood to your sister Mary?"
Johnny hesitated. His lower lip started to tremble. Then he smiled, "Sure, for my sister."
Soon the two children were wheeled into the hospital room -- Mary, pale and thin; Johnny, robust and healthy. Neither spoke, but when their eyes met, Johnny grinned.
As the nurse inserted the needle into his arm, Johnny's smile faded. He watched the blood flow through the tube. With the ordeal almost over, his voice, slightly shaky, broke the silence. "Doctor, when do I die?"
Only then did the doctor realize why Johnny had hesitated, why his lip had trembled when he'd agreed to donate his blood. He'd thought giving his blood to his sister meant giving up his life. In that brief moment, he'd made his great decision.
Johnny, fortunately, didn't have to die to save his sister. Each of us, however, has a condition more serious than Mary's, and it required Jesus to give not just his blood, but his life.
Oh what a precious, and loving Savior we have in Jesus. He voluntarily gave his life for us so that we may have a new life and a new relationship with God.
The second piece of good news that we find in the Bible is that if we are living our lives for Jesus, we can have assurance of our salvation.
A Bible teacher once asked his class, most of whom were professing Christians, "Can you be sure that you are saved?" Here are some of the answers he received:
"No, there is no way you can know for sure if you are saved."
"I hope so."
"I won't know till I get to heaven -- if I do get there. I wouldn't presume to say I know for sure."
I'm sure that if I asked you the same question some of you may have some of the same answers that these students had. But what does the Bible say about assurance of salvation?
"Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life." (John 5:24)
"These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, in order that you may know that you have eternal life." (1 John 5:13)
The Bible clearly teaches that we can know (eidete; perfect tense; here and now present certainty) that we have eternal life. We can know that we are in a saved relationship with God.
How do you know if you are saved? If you have given your life to Jesus Christ by believing in Him, repenting of your sins, confessing Him to others, and being baptized for the remission of your sins. If you are living a faithful and Godly life; and walking in the light, then you can have assurance of your salvation! Isn't that Great News! What a great burden that has been lifted off our shoulders.
Once a famous British preacher, Charles H. Spurgeon is quoted as saying that he was so sure of his salvation that he could grab on to a cornstalk and swing out over the fires of hell, look into the face of the devil, and sing, "Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!"
Friends, our salvation is not dependent upon hope, it is dependent upon what God has promised in the Bible.
The third piece of good news that we find in the Bible is that one day Jesus is coming back to take us to heaven.
Read John 14:1-4, which says: "Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. And where I go you know, and the way you know."
From this passage, we notice that Jesus is preparing a place for us and He is coming back to take us with Him.
Several years ago, I heard a story about a father who one morning told his son that he was going to Australia to find a job, and once he found a job and made some money, he was going to come back and get his family and take them back with him.
However, the tragedy of this story is that the father did not keep his promise; for he never came back for his family. Year after year, the boy hoped and prayed that his father would return but he never did. He abandoned his family.
My friends, Jesus is not going to break His promise to us. He is not going to abandon us. He is not going to leave us. For the Bible says that one day, Jesus is coming back to get us. "For the Lord Himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever" (1 Thess. 4:16-17).
In closing, every day we should fill our souls with good news -- especially good news from the Bible. Today, we have seen three pieces of good news:
Jesus Christ died on the cross so that we may receive salvation.
If we are living our lives for the Lord, we have assurance of our salvation.
One day, Jesus is coming back to take us to heaven.
We hope and pray that this article has blessed you as much as it has blessed us. If you would like to receive these wonderful blessings, you should not delay any further but believe in the good news and obey it immediately!
"Moreover brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you… For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried and that He arose again the third day according to the Scriptures." (1 Corinthians 15:1-4).
This passage briefly presents the fundamentals of the gospel. The message of the gospel is so simple a child can understand. What is this "good news"?
All Men are Subject to God
All men, races, and nations are accountable to God because He created us all, "And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth… so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each of us; for in Him we live and move and have our being…" (Acts 17:26-28).
Man is Guilty of Sin
From the first day sin darkened the sphere of human life, all men and women have given in to its temptations, "For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:23). That is not only a general truth but an accusation for which we must give an answer.
Jesus Died for Our Sins
Dying for our own sins can accomplish nothing more than deserved punishment, "The wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23). Yet Jesus' death brings forgiveness since He bore our rightful punishment in our stead (Romans 5:6-9).
Jesus Rose Again
More than just a martyr, He shared in death to defeat it, and so we can share with Him in life, "Inasmuch as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death…" (Hebrews 2:14).
Let's consider some of these fundamentals of the gospel!
All Men are Subject to God
There is not a man, woman, or child on this planet who is not accountable to God since He created all, "And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth… so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each of us; for in Him we live and move and have our being." (Acts 17:26-28).
Many people want to choose their own way, and claim to be their own personal standard of right and wrong. It won’t work in the end, "He who rejects Me and does not receive My words, has that which judges him — the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day." (John 12:48).
Many people want to hide themselves and their actions from God. They don't want to answer to Him. It won't work, "And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account." (Hebrews 4:13).
Many people want to deny God and run from Him. It won't work because, their own conscience won't allow it, "For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things contained in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves, who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them." (Romans 2:15-16).
All men are subject to God whether we want to be or not, whether we admit it or not, whether we adjust our lives for it or not. One day we will face God. Many people want to defy God, rebel, and leave His presence. In eternity He will honor that choice (2 Thessalonians 1:7-10).
Man is Guilty Of Sin
From the first day sin darkened the sphere of human life, all men and women have given in to its temptations, "For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:23).
Not only is that a general truth, but it is also an accusation which we must answer. And since the implications of those sins is so serious — "For the wages of sin is death" — we must address those sins and find the solution for them (Romans 6:23).
This guilt is a personal guilt We are not sinners because we inherited the sin of Adam, and are then saved because we inherited the righteousness of Christ. Sin and death entered the world through Adam's sin, but they come to us because of our own sins, "Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned." (Romans 5:12).
The problem with this sin-guilt is that we cannot personally do anything to absolve it. Covering our own transgressions brings greater judgment upon ourselves, "He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy." (Proverbs 28:13).
So without divine intervention this problem cannot be resolved. God must step in and work to relieve this guilt. Jesus Christ was His answer to the dilemma of sin (Romans 3:23-26).
Jesus Died for Our Sins
Dying for our own sins could accomplish nothing more for us than delivering our deserved punishment, "The wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23). Jesus' death brings us forgiveness because He bore our rightful punishment in our place, "For when we were without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him." (Romans 5:6-9).
An angel announced Him as the one who would take away our sins, "And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins." (Matthew 1:21). John the Baptist announced Him as the one who would take away the sins of the world, "The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, 'Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!'" (John 1:29).
God's plan was that Jesus come into the world and live a sinless life (1 Peter 1:18-21). Then when He died, Jesus did not die as sin's prize, but as a willing offering (John 10:11,17-18). God made Him sin for us, so that those of us who are sinners could be considered righteous (2 Corinthians 5:20-21).
In this way, God could be both just and merciful — not having to betray His nature to save man's soul, "being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth to be a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time his righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus." (Romans 3:24-26).
Jesus Rose Again
He was more than just a martyr. He shared with us in death so He could defeat it, and so we can share eternal life with Him, "Inasmuch as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is the devil, and release those of us who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage." (Hebrews 2:14-15).
On the third day after Jesus' death — when everyone assumed Jesus' work was finished — it had just begun! The tomb was empty because He arose victorious over death!! His resurrection was more than just a victory for Himself. It was a victory for us. His resurrection from the dead assures us that ours will follow, "But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead…" (1 Corinthians 15:20-26).
When Jesus rose from the dead, He wrestled death from the clutches of sin and the devil, and He assures us, "I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death." (Revelation 1:18).
Simple Gospel Message
The message of the gospel is simple — the whole world needs salvation, and can do nothing on its own to obtain it.
We are lost in sin. Salvation is by God's grace (Ephesians 2:5-8). We respond through faith (John 3:16). That grace teaches us to obey (Titus 2:11-14).
All of us have sinned (Romans 3:23). Sin separates us from God (Isaiah 59:2). It brings a death sentence upon us (Romans 6:23).
Jesus is the foundation of salvation—there is salvation in no other name (Matthew 1:21). His death made it possible for all of us to be saved (1 Timothy 2:3-6). Our own obedient response to His sacrifice makes it possible for any of us specifically to be saved (Hebrews 5:9).
To find salvation in Jesus Christ, we must hear the gospel (Romans 1:16; 1 Corinthians 1:21). We must believe that Jesus is God's Son, that He died for our sins and was raised from the dead (John 3:16; Romans 10:9). We must repent of our sins, changing our actions (Acts 17:30; 2 Corinthians 7:10). We must confess our faith in Jesus as the Christ, the Son of the Living God (Romans 10:9-10; Matthew 10:32). And then we must be baptized into Christ for the forgiveness of our sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38).
Jesus stands at the door and knocks (Revelation 3:20). He will not force Himself into your heart. You must let Him in. One day the door will be barred forever. Won't you let Him in?
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