What Do We Need the Gospel for Anyway?
If the just, by faith, shall live, then the antithesis must be true. The unbeliever must die. Some are aware of their plight — the pending second death — while others operate oblivious to their condemnation. Men are blinded by the devil (2 Cor 4:4), but the whole world shows a man that there are consequences to unrighteousness (Jn 3:18; Rom 1:18).
Men underestimate the standard of perfect righteousness, and they imagine their half-hearted endeavors to be a “good person” makes them right before God. The works of men stand in direct contrast to the righteousness of God. The filthy rags men put forth as “good works” are worthless (Is 64:6), in attaining the righteousness God demands of man. Righteousness, God’s work, is required for there to be reconciliation and right relationship.
Some pit human works against faith, but faith is not the counterpart to works. Righteousness is set against human works, while faith is the evidence that righteousness has been conferred by God, upon an elect soul (Rom 12:3; Gal 3:22; 5:22; Eph 2:8–9; Phil 1:29; Heb 12:2).
Faith illumines the mind, heart, and will of man. If faith is true, then, the thoughts, affections, and actions of a person will reflect this glorious transformation. Love for God, in Christ, will mark the man or woman belonging to the Savior. One, devoid of the Spirit (Rom 8:9), will have no love for God in her life (Jn 5:42).
Integral to Satan’s economy is false teaching, which aids people in their unbelief. Having erroneous information about God, and Christ, ensures the status of enmity. The fruit of unbelief is disobedience to all that God commands.
When God issued the Law, it served to further illumine man to his total depravity (Rom 5:20). Instead of seeing himself as an utter failure (Gen 6:5), in the realm of righteousness, man went to work to achieve his own righteousness, by attempting to keep the Law. In essence man said, “God would never punish me. Look at my earnest efforts to try and be obedient to all God has commanded.”
Exposed for being wretched (Eph 5:11), man was distracted from hearing God’s Gospel message. By ignoring or avoiding the preaching of the Bible, God’s written Word, man consciously denies himself access to the very means by which God imputes righteousness, to those who do have ears to hear.
The bad news of the Gospel of God must be considered, first. Man must have an honest history of his existence. He must be confronted by the sinfulness of sin. He must realize that no advantageous access to greater knowledge, of his failed status before God, could change the fact that he remains unrighteous, whether he is religious or an atheist.
The apostle Paul has penned the most relevant and succinct history of mankind in Romans 1:18–3:20. Others have contributed tome after tome, but voluminous verbiage does not promise an accurate presentation of the plight of man (Gen 6:5; Jer 17:9; Rom 1:18–32; 3:10–12, 23; 6:23; Eph 2:1–3; Heb 9:27; Rev 20:11).
People presume humanity is evolving. They point to the advancement of culture and technology. Still, the nightly news tells a very different story, regarding humanity’s progress.
Job’s question should be every man’s question, “How shall a man be right with God (Job 9:2)?” The Bible answers that only God can make a man to have right standing before the Almighty.
First, God must choose the man for salvation (Eph 1:4–5).
Second, the man must have a substitute payment for his iniquities (Rom 5:8; Eph 5:25; 1 Pet 2:24).
Third, only God can provide an acceptable substitute (Gen 22:8).
Fourth, God has provided His only begotten Son (Jn 3:16). His mission: to die on a Roman cross, shedding His blood for the remission of the sins of God’s chosen people (Mt 1:21; Eph 1:7). Christ has merited right standing, as a man, before God (Heb 8:1; Rev 5:1).
Fifth, a man must have the alien righteousness (another’s right standing), in order to be in the holy glory of God’s presence (Rom 1:17).
Finally, God imputes Christ’s righteousness to those to whom He sends His Spirit (Jn 14:17, 26; 15:26), to baptize and permanently indwell (Mt 3:11; Acts 2:38; Rom 8:9, 11). The Spirit gives righteousness and the benefit of faith, which is evidenced (Gal 5:22).
The glory of God is in His free will, and His free grace, to do this work…all of it, on behalf of His grateful people. This is His story of salvation. We need to hear about it because when some hear it, they believe it (Rom 10:17). The Word of our salvation is our salvation.
Spokane Valley, Washington
December 12, 2021