Wednesday, November 30, 2011

What's "The Gospel"?

I watched a good movie called Time Changer this summer. It was stodgy and slow, but I like stodgy and slow. It was set in 1900 and was about a junior seminary professor who writes a book saying that in some cases it is all right to preach living a good life without using Jesus as a moral absolute. A senior professor of the seminary objects to that section in the book and urges the young seminarian to use his secret time machine to go 100 years into the future to see where his beliefs will lead. He arrives in 2000 horrified to experience the cold and pale thing Christianity has become.

What I liked about the end was a scene where he is getting ready to return to the past. He says goodbye to a laundromat caretaker he had met, and gives him a bible. He says the following to the laundromat guy, named Eddie:

"Jesus is coming back soon to set up His earthly kingdom. The requirement, though, to enter this kingdom, is that we must be absolutely perfect, without sin.

Well, that leaves me out of that party.

No one is without sin, Eddie. Not one! All of us face eternal judgment and separation from God. This is why we must accept Jesus Christ into our life as Lord. He is the only one who lived a perfect life, and thus became the substitute for our sins.

For me, too?

Yes, for you too Eddie. He rose from the dead, proving He was God. And He wants to save us from the penalty of our sins, and give us eternal life. But we must first individually receive Him. This is what it means to believe in Jesus.

I never heard it explained so simple, preacher.

God wants us to be reconciled to Himself. So much so that He gave His only so to die for us. It’s all in the bible. I pray that you will consider what I’m saying."

That is the Gospel. Here are some few scriptures that are proof texts for this Gospel:

Jesus and His kingdom: Revelation 20:4, Daniel 7:13-14, Zechariah 14:8-11
Requirements for entry: John 3:5, John 3:3, Titus 3:5
No one is without sin: Romans 3:10
We all face judgment: 2 Corinthians 5:10, Hebrews 9:27, Romans 2:16, Acts 10:42
Jesus is sinless: 1 Peter 2:22, 1 John 3:5, Hebrews 4:15, 2 Corinthians 5:21
Jesus is our substitute: Isaiah 53:4-6
He died for all: John 1:29, "The next day he saw Jesus coming to him, and said, 'Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!'" and John 3:16, "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life." 1 John 2:2, "and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.
Jesus' resurrection: Acts 13:33, Romans 1:4
Believe and you shall be saved: Acts 16:31, Romans 10:9
It's all in the bible: 2 Timothy 3:16

Why was a sacrifice necessary? Why was it necessary that blood had to have been shed? The Gospel is that we believe Jesus the son of God is fully God and fully man, manifested in the flesh, who came to earth to seek and save the lost. He died on the cross, shedding His blood as the perfect, sinless sacrifice. He was buried and resurrected by the power of God three days later. (1 Corinthians 15:1-4).

 Leviticus 17:11 says "For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul.’ " Hebrews 9:22 says "And according to the Law, one may almost say, all things are cleansed with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness."

I do not know why God set it up that the blood is the life, and is the mechanism for atonement, but it is so because we are told that by His word. God had to pour out His wrath for sin upon Jesus, whose shed blood was payment for the sins of the world. There had to be a sacrifice and it had to be pure. Jesus is sinless, and was therefore acceptable to God as that sacrifice. Jesus took on all the sins of the world AND all God's wrath for it. He took our place so we do not have to endure God's wrath, unless a person rejects Jesus. Then they are subject to wrath! Forever!!

That's the Gospel. Please believe it. Your soul depends on it.

13 comments:

  1. I have watched "Time Changer" two or three times. I also like that it shows how the decline of morality/Godly living in the church. For example when the man from the past walked out of the movie when he heard the Lords name taken in vain. Today, many of us Christians do not even give that a second thought.

    ReplyDelete
  2. SO true, Ken! I liked when he showed up for the church activity and expectantly asked how and where they were going to do witnessing and evangelism to reach the lost, and the guy looked at him and said they were going to a movie and grabbing a pizza, like reaching the lost never occurred to him.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I'll have to look up this film, I've never heard of it. Thank you!

    Emily, www.extendingeagerhands.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  4. Not a bad website here. A lot of thought has gone into it. Too bad that you didn't use the perfect King James text. It really is much clearer, and the only unperveted text in which we humans have to read. Just try to reference the other versions from place to place. No decent chain can be developed as the non-KJV texts are changes in so many places.

    When you compare texts, there is only one conclusion. The KJV is King, and the only reliable truth, although a person CAN get saved through any text as this work is of the Holy Spirit, not man.

    ReplyDelete
  5. King James is a good translation. The Geneva Translation, 80 yeas earlier, is actually considered the best. You can read about the Geneva translation here
    http://www.reformed.org/documents/index.html?mainframe=http://www.reformed.org/documents/geneva/Geneva.html

    and you can download a Geneva bible here
    http://www.genevabible.org/Geneva.html

    Don't get hung up on "perfect" King James only. Is the KJV the ONLY translation one should use? Check out the discussion here
    http://www.gotquestions.org/KJV-only.html

    ReplyDelete
  6. I'm not one to argue with a KJV only person, but here's my "by the way" anyway -- look at KJV Gen 1:1, it says God created the HEAVEN, now look at the same verse in a NASB, it says God created the HEAVENS! The Hebrew word is PLURAL, but it seems the folks in the 1600's weren't using their telescopes to know about the HEAVENS and so they refused to put the "s" there! God's Word is PERFECT TRUTH, but no translation is perfect.

    ReplyDelete
  7. You're right that the Hebrew is plural, "the heavens." You can go here and see most of the translations of that verse on one page

    http://bible.cc/genesis/1-1.htm

    One translation not on that list, though the commentary is there, is the Geneva Bible. That translation actually predates the KJV and is a better translation.

    The answer is that it is both, "the heaven" AND "the heavens". When Paul said he was taken up to the third heaven, (2 Cor 12:2) he was referring to not the first heaven, which is the air of earth up to the stratosphere, nor the second heaven, which is the planets and galaxies- space, but the third heaven, where God dwells.

    history of Geneva translation here
    http://www.reformed.org/documents/index.html?mainframe=http://www.reformed.org/documents/geneva/Geneva.html

    As you said, most translations have their place. Some I won't have anything to do with, New Living nor the current Wycliffe controversy. The rest have certain merits. I tend to use NKJV, NAS and NIV most, and refer to Geneva online.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hi Elizabeth,
    I read the NKJV probably about 97% of the time when I am reading and studying the Bible. Once in a while I will casually read the New Living Translation and I thought it was pretty good for such. I am not arguing with your comment, as to do with your reason for not having anything to do with the New Living Translation, but wondering what is your reason. Maybe I am missing something. I take very seriously which translation I choose to read, which is why I stick mostly with the NKJV. Thank you in advance for sharing your insights and God bless,
    Ken

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hi Ken,

    There are 3 ways to translate, word-for-word, thought-for-thought, and paraphrase for paraphrase. W-for-w translations like the KJV and NAS take the closest Hebrew or Greek word and translate that word. The Thought/Thought translations like the NLT and NIV take the thought that was presented in Greek or Hebrew and translate that.

    The third way is paraphrase by paraphrase, like The Message or The Living Bible. I'm not a fan of those at all. I think it is too much of a compromise

    The word for word and the thought for thought translations are both legitimate. They have resulted in good translations. I like to use the online parallel bible (bible.cc) when looking up one verse, so I can compare. It's helpful.

    My own preference is for word for word, just because I like words, lol. But if you've ever used 'Google Translate' you know how clumsy that can be, especially when translating idioms. That's where thought for thought translations like the NIV come in.

    Here is a helpful comparison chart
    http://www.apbrown2.net/web/TranslationComparisonChart.htm

    One of my irks about so many translations is that when a bible teacher reads from the texts, sometimes it is so different from my translation that I can't keep up. This is a case, I think, of too much of a good thing. Also, my opinion is that too much monkeying with a good thing ruins it. Thought for thought translations require more of the translator's personal interpretations than do word for word. My choice is that I'll sacrifice readability for accuracy.

    I won't have anything to do with NLT because it is gender neutral. My opinion is this is blasphemy, because God chose to present Himself as male and He sent His son as a male.

    My recommendation is that people choose the word for word style of translations, of which KJV, NKJV, NAS, ESV are a part, or if wanting thought for thought, the NIV is the most palatable of that group.

    Here is a good page addressing the question "Which translation is best"
    http://www.gty.org/resources/Questions/QA167/Which-Bible-translation-is-best

    thank you for your question! A good one, and I appreciate it.

    ReplyDelete
  10. so how does your teaching really explain the gosple of jesus christ?

    why is it important that christ had to die?

    why couldnt God just come and justify without dieing?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great question Aaron. I see that I was not clear in that regard. I will edit the piece later. First, your question. Why was a sacrifice necessary? Why was it necessary that blood had to have been shed?

      The Gospel is that we believe Jesus the son of God is fully God and fully man, manifested in the flesh, who came to earth to seek and save the lost. He died on the cross, shedding His blood as the perfect, sinless sacrifice. He was buried and resurrected by the power of God three days later. (1 Corinthians 15:1-4)

      Leviticus 17:11 says "For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul.’ "

      Hebrews 9:22 says "And according to the Law, one may almost say, all things are cleansed with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness."

      I do not know why God set it up that the blood is the life, and is the mechanism for atonement, but it is so because we are told that by His word. God had to pour out His wrath for sin upon Jesus, whose shed blood was payment for the sins of the world.

      There had to be a sacrifice and it had to be pure. Jesus is sinless, and was therefore acceptable to God as that sacrifice. Jesus took on all the sins of the world AND all God's wrath for it. He took our place so we do not have to endure God's wrath, unless a person rejects Jesus. Then they are subject to wrath! Forever!!

      Thanks for pointing out a glaring omission in my essay. I appreciate it.

      Delete
  11. no problem. its often that preachers/evangilist/bloggers ect. just assume that people know what sin is and they under stand the justice of god. often you find them delivering the message of the gospel of christ in a shallow way. it's like they give the address but do not give the directions. the biggest delima of the gosple is: how can a just God settle His wrath on the guilty while loving sinners at the same time? its that jesus became sin{cursed on a tree} and is crushed by his father. its only by faith and repentents that one can have salvation {saved from gods wrath}. but anyway great job explaing it in more detail...god bless!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're absolutely right, Aaron, and I'll keep that in mind. I actually just finished a post that chastised myself for falling into an un-thoughtful use of Christian-ese lingo. I appreciate your comments. God bless you too.

      Delete