Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Only Message of Hope

Have you ever heard the good news, "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners"? Paul penned those words to Timothy which we have recorded in the Scriptures. This is the great message of the gospel of Jesus Christ. He did indeed come to rescue sinners from their ugly plight. This is the simple yet profound message for Christians to proclaim. This is the message of Christ's bride the Church. The message of grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone is the message of hope. The only message of hope for everyone is the gospel. Paul says the gospel is the message of first importance (1 Cor. 15:3-4). But I wonder how many churches put this gospel front and center in their services. How many churches are getting this message right?

I recently began pondering this question when I had some conversations with some people about God's saving work in Christ Jesus. I also heard a message from Thabiti Anyabwile titled "Will your gospel transform a terrorist"? Great question. As I've had the privilege to talk with people I am learning there can be a disconnect between the message that has saved them and the message for those who seem to be unreachable. As if the message of the gospel is for "good" church people only. But here is the deal; good people don't need the gospel. They may know the message of salvation because they have heard it but rather than depend on Jesus Christ and trust in him alone they cling to their morality. All of us can fall into this trap which is why we need to remind ourselves of the gospel. As we remind ourselves of what Christ has done in dying in our place we will begin to realize that we are not good people. No one is good (Romans 3:9-20) and as Christians we should be the first to understand this reality. We should understand that if God saved me he can save anyone. Good people don't need Jesus but the truth is everyone needs Jesus. Therefore all of us need the gospel. From those who are in the church constantly to those sitting on death row it is the same good news for everyone: "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners".

Next time you are tempted to think God would not or could not save a certain person: repent. That is a lie from Satan. It is a sin because it takes the God of the Bible out of the equation and therefore diminishes God as God. It is also a sin because of the pride rooted in the heart that thinks they are better than another person. It is by grace alone that we are saved (Eph. 2:8-9) and by grace alone that anyone else is saved as well. If you have the tendency to find yourself superior to another person than you are clinging to morality not Christ which is a sin. The cross is a loudspeaker telling others we are not good people. Let's stop trying to fool ourselves and others about who we are in Christ. We are sinners saved by grace that ought to desire to see other sinners saved by grace.

Grace upon grace,
JRL

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