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13

Grunge Wood Interior

Some of us within Christianity act as though God’s only desire for our lives and the only thing we should strive for in the Christian life is the avoidance of sin.

How so, Ben?

We come to faith when we repent for our sins.

We hear sermon after sermon that drives us into introspection, searching for those deep down sins hiding below the surface.

Our prayer life is 90% confession and 10% petition (for those of you who might not speak Christianese that means 90% saying I’m sorry to God and 10% asking God for stuff.)

Here’s a thought for you.

What if the Christian life is not all about sin?

What if the kingdom of God is not the absence of sin, but righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit?

What if righteousness was not “sinless perfection” but it was simply doing the things that God had created us for?

Think of it this way for a minute.

Let’s say you’re a parent and you have some young kids that you want to take to Disney World for a vacation. However, no matter how you try to save for this trip, life keeps getting in the way. Cars breakdown, kids need clothes (no matter how many times you tell them that if they keep growing they can’t go to see Mickey Mouse.) Every time you get a little bit set aside for your big trip, you have to use it for a real emergency.

Now let’s say someone comes along and gives you an all expense paid vacation to Orlando, with weeklong passes to all of Disney’s fun filled parks. He pays to fly you there; he pays for your hotel rooms, your meals and all the passes to all the parks. He even gives you some cash to buy some Mickey junk to put in your closet and forget about when you get home. (Sounds like Pat Sajak to me – …tell them what they have won Charlie.)

So you get off the boat and head for the entrance gate – there you stand ready to go in – tickets in hand and looks of awe and wonder on every face.

You and your family walk through those gates, then you turn around and stare in wonder at the entrance. You think to yourself – I thought I would never be able to get though those turnstiles.  I am so thankful to the one who paid the price.

Then you spend the entire week that was given to you coming inside the gates – and standing there looking at the gate. You never walk down Main Street USA, you never ride Space Mountain, or Pirates of the Caribbean. You don’t visit Tomorrow Land. You just stare at the gate.

Your benefactor appreciates the daily notes of thanks, but when he realizes you stepped in and stopped he is actually upset with you. He did not send you to Disney’s magical kingdom to stand at the gate. He wanted to you go in and experience the wonder of it all.

Ok – so the analogy breaks down pretty quickly, but I hope you can see what I am saying here.

We Christians are stuck at the entrance gate. We’re stuck at the cross.

Yes – we must regularly remember the cross – that’s why Jesus said as often as you eat this bread and drink this wine, remember me. But He did not intend that we spend 30 years of Christian life sitting at the Last Supper.

There is more to the Christian life and the new birth.

Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, - Hebrews 6:1 NASB

The Father wants us to step into the fullness of Christ.

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. - Ephesians 2:10 NASB

It’s time we realized that the Father sent Jesus to bring us before the throne so we can be in His presence, so we can enjoy His company, so we can partner with Him in the work He is doing.

Lord, I am eternally grateful for the great price you paid. I am ever thankful for the way you made to come to the Father. Today, Lord, help we walk in the life you saved me for. Help me step out in the works you created for me to accomplish in Your wonderful kingdom.

ben rin and noraThanks for coming by.

Thanks Deb for getting me pondering along these lines.

See you again soon.

Ben

6

sin righteousness and judgment

And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment; - John 16:8 NASB

But how?

I have heard this used as an excuse for all manner of condemnation – like:

Well – the Holy Spirit’s job is to convict the world of Sin and since He is in me, I need to get busy convicting the world of sin. So I am going to go to the sinners and start convicting them.

This passage does go on to talk in some more detail about what the Spirit will do in the life of a believer, but as I pondered how the Spirit might go about convicting the world of sin, righteousness and judgment, I thought of what Paul said the Spirit would do in the life of a believer.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. - Galatians 5:22-23 NASB

I know I have said this here before, but the word fruit here is a singular noun. From Vines Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words we have this:

…"the fruit of the Spirit," Gal 5:22, the singular form suggesting the unity of the character of the Lord as reproduced in them, namely, "love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, temperance," all in contrast with the confused and often mutually antagonistic "works of the flesh." [i]

I like to say the fruit of the Spirit is a love marked by joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

I am convinced that conviction will result as we live Spirit-filled lives, speaking as led by the Spirit and loving in a full-on fruit of the Spirit manner. [Tweet This] Jesus hammered away at the sin He found in the Church leadership – the Pharisees and Priests – but He tended to be more gentle and tender with those trapped in the hold of their unrighteousness. His love was compelling, and the outworking of the Spirit in His life brought many to the place where they were ready when the Church was born and the Spirit poured out at large.

He did not wink at sin, or downplay its dangers, but I believe He was helping get people to a place where they could see and receive the light He had to give. He preached repentance from dead works and faith toward God, and accompanied His preaching with works of compassion and provision.

John 16 goes on to tell us that the Holy Spirit will take what belongs to Jesus and disclose it to us. The basic idea is that filled with the Sprit, we will look like Jesus. As we walk like He walked (1 John 2:6) the world will be convicted of sin, righteousness and judgment.

Have you seen this in your walk? Have you seen your love for someone convict them? I would love to hear about it.

BN Writers Page 150Thanks for stopping by.

See you again soon.

Ben

 

 

[i] Vine, W. "Dictionaries :: Fruit (Bear), Fruitful, Unfruitful." Blue Letter Bible. Sowing Circle. 24 Jun, 1996. Web. 22 May, 2014. .

5

question-mark

My wife heard a speaker the other day say:

“We say that God loves the sinner but hates the sin, but the Bible says that God hates sinners.”

This declaration was startling and unsettling to my wife and others and it got us talking. She posed the question to me, and told me the references the speaker quoted were from the Psalms.

Here is what we found in Psalm 5 and 11:

The boastful shall not stand before Your eyes;
You hate all who do iniquity.
You destroy those who speak falsehood;
The LORD abhors the man of bloodshed and deceit.**

Psalms 5:5-6 NASB

The LORD is in His holy temple; the LORD'S throne is in heaven;
His eyes behold, His eyelids test the sons of men.
The LORD tests the righteous and the wicked,
And the one who loves violence His soul hates.

Psalms 11:4-5 NASB

In pondering this question, my first reaction was to go to the revelation in the New Testament of God’s love. We have clear teaching in the New Testament that God loved us while we were sinners:

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. ... For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. - Romans 5:8, 10 NASB

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. - John 3:16 NASB

What do we do with this?

I want to approach this question from two sides.

First we will look at love and hate from a biblical perspective.

Then we must look at how the Father views sin and sinners.

Let me first state that when I approach a subject like this, I take the Bible to be authoritative – both Old and New Testament. If I don’t understand what is going on, the shortfall is on my side, not in the Word.

The great thing is that God has told us if we lack wisdom, we can ask of Him and He will give it liberally and without recourse. (That makes me happy!)

Love and Hate

Back to the question at hand. How can an unchanging God love sinners in the NT and hate them in the OT? Did He change? Nope. In fact you will find a reference to God hating even in the NT:

Just as it is written, "JACOB I LOVED, BUT ESAU I HATED." - Romans 9:13 NASB

We can’t say that the blood of Jesus made it possible for God to love us, because the blood was shed not to allow God’s love but as a result of God’s love.

Where do we go?

I believe the difficulty here is that we have broken the word love. We have taken our definition of love from Hallmark rather than the holy and pure Word of God.

I fully believe that God has emotions. He has compassion, pity, anger, sadness, and joy. But what if love and hate are not emotions? What if they were not feelings at all? What if they are actions – attitudes - choices?

What if love is a deliberate choice to behave like this:

Love is patient,
love is kind and is not jealous;
love does not brag and is not arrogant,
does not act unbecomingly;
it does not seek its own,
is not provoked,
does not take into account a wrong suffered,
does not rejoice in unrighteousness,
but rejoices with the truth;
bears all things,
believes all things,
hopes all things,
endures all things.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 NASB

God’s definition of love is not feeling based but choice based. This is why He can command us to love. He does not command us to feel, but to do, to be loving. In a recent sermon on this topic, my friend Todd Lukas made the statement "Hate is not the opposite of Love, Pride is," which when you are working with this Bible definition of Love, makes a ton of sense.

And what if hate was a deliberate choice to exercise wrath? If you take the time to read more than just the favorite verses above in Romans 5 and John 3 you will find that each passage mentions not only the love of God but also the wrath of God.

Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. - Romans 5:9 NKJV

He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. ... "He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him." - John 3:18, 36 NKJV

I can tell you authoritatively that God loves sinners, and that an unrepentant sinner faces the wrath of God even while God loves him.

I can tell you for sure that Jesus drank the cup of the Father’s wrath that was stored up against all sinners – for me – for you – for us – for them. He paid the price for our sin. He took the wrath of God – the reality of God’s hatred toward sinners – the outward expression of God’s hatred for sin – upon Himself.

I can tell you for sure that because of this – Jesus’ amazing act of love – the Father’s amazing act of love – there is no longer anything keeping a sinner from coming to the Father. The Father’s hatred was swallowed up by His love.

Sin and Sinners

I do want to take one further approach to this question. It is on the front of how the Father views sin and sinners.

Let’s go back to the common truism passed off as scripture these days – “God hates the sin but loves the sinner.” We have seen that God loved us in our sin and offered up Jesus. But how did He offer Him up?

Check this out:

He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. - 2 Corinthians 5:21 NASB

Notice here that the Father made Christ sin – He did not make Him a sinner – He did not make Him sinful – He made Him sin.

Notice also that the Father made us the righteousness of God – He did not make us righteous people, but He made us righteousness. We were not just sinners – we were sin. You have heard it called a sin nature. Your very nature was a nature of sin. When God looked at you without the blood of Christ He did not see a sinner – He saw sin.

This is why Christ had to become sin – this is the great substitution. Christ became sin and you and I become righteousness.

Now God can look at us and delight in us! He can rejoice over us! He can look at us and say “well done, thou good and faithful servant.” You are righteousness in human form.

Perhaps you get an idea of why I so abhor the label of sinner being applied to those of us who have been born again. Christ’s atonement is complete and effectual. It leaves nothing of the old man behind. [Tweet This] He is dead and in the grave. He was left there when Christ rose from the dead.

Let me close with this passage from Romans 6.

Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin. - Romans 6:3-7 NASB

Talk to me about this?

What do you think?

How do you understand these things?

BN Writers Page 150Thanks for coming by.

See you again soon.

Ben

 

** As an aside - I wonder if David's understanding of God's abhorrence for liars and those who shed blood changed after his encounter with Bathsheba and Uriah? Was this written before he learned of how God would forgive and love David even after he committed these very sins?

3

Yesterday we started to look at this entry from my church home’s statement of faith:

We believe that salvation is the free gift of God, entirely apart from human merit or works, and is received through personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior, and that believers are kept secure in Him forever. Ephesians 2:8-9; John 10:27-30; John 3:16-18, John 14:6; Acts 4:12

I posed a few questions as a way of pressing through the faith tenants presented in this statement. The meat of this statement can be separated into three main topics.

1)    Salvation is a free gift, not earned or deserved.
2)    Salvation comes through faith.
3)    Salvation is secure.

The questions I offered are as follows:

1)    What is salvation?
2)    From what do we need saving?
3)    How do I get faith, if I can’t earn it and I don’t deserve it?
4)    What must I do to be saved?
5)    Can I lose my salvation?

And one bonus question

6)    Have I committed the unpardonable sin?

As I detailed in my first post on this topic, the word in Greek – sozo – saved – includes more than “salvation” as it is has been used in the Church for centuries. But this word salvation does seem to imply a sense of rescue.

So we come to our question of the day

From what do we need saving?

Why do we need rescue in the first place.

In this ‘Foundations’ class we have spent a lot of time talking about the biblical doctrine of man’s fallen and sinful state.

We have looked at the statements in John 3:18 and 36, that we are condemned and under the wrath of God, and the fact that John 3:16 clearly indicates that without Christ we will perish.

But the very first ‘salvation’ verse I shared yesterday, gives us a good starting point to answer today’s question.

"She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins." - Matthew 1:21 NASB

Yes – sin is rebellion.
Yes – man chooses sin and turns his back on God.
Yes – we sin when we are drawn away by our own lusts.

But in essence, sin is our captor! Man without Christ is enslaved by sin.

Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? ...

For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. - Romans 6:16, 20 ESV

Yes our will and our choices are involved here, but you can’t by any power of your own will. break free from this slavery to sin. It is a bigger master than you can take on. The root of your slavery goes back to the day sin enter our species with Adam and Eve.

Jesus came to break the power of this slavery by His own death.

Death is actually the only way to break the grip of this particular slavery.

We learn of this in Romans Chapter 6. [OK – I admit it, Romans 6 is also on my top 10 list and I would love to do a verse by verse study of it here, but not today.]

Check this out

knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin. - Romans 6:6-7 NASB

Christ was crucified, and we with Him, so that sin and death no longer reign in our lives.

Understand, beloved, that this freedom from the slavery of sin is not the freedom to sin, but the freedom from sin.

Paul actually goes on to contrast our former life as a life enslaved to sin, and our new life as enslaved to righteousness. We then served sin to gain its wages – death, we now serve righteousness to gain its wages – life.

So then – this salvation – this wonderful sozo – sets us free from sin and free to righteousness – sets us free from death and free to life – sets us free from the kingdom of darkness, the kingdom of satan and sets us at large in the kingdom of heaven, the kingdom of God, the kingdom of His dear Son, Jesus.

Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name.

Ben NelsonSee you again tomorrow when we look at

3)    How do I get faith, if I can’t earn it and I don’t deserve it?

Thanks for coming by!

Ben

11

As I mentioned the other day, I was in a bit of a funk. This particular funk came about in a period of convergence. I am not talking about some astrological event. I am talking about a much more terrestrial phenomenon. Though it has some similarities as I think about it.

Over the course of the last few months, I have said yes to a few people, while not pruning my existing schedule. All those ‘yeses’ seemed to converge on my calendar, aligning a number of schedule orbits.

When these orbits align themselves like this there is a pretty natural consequence. Pressure builds.

There is a sin that “easily besets me” as the scripture says, a temptation that tiptoes up and knocks on my door from time to time, that I normally can withstand pretty well, but in times of these schedule convergences, my resistance lowers and I buy in to my old friend enemy self-pity.

Now my problem here is that I don’t always see it as the ferocious enemy that it is. It presents itself as a cuddly kitten that clearly needs to be entertained and embraced. It feels like an old friend.

The tricky part about self-pity is that often times the ones who love you allow self-pity, unlike other, less ‘godly’ sins. My wife would never suggest I head down to the strip joint to let off some steam. My brother elders would not tell me to get drunk and forget my problems. But in my clever presentation of self-pity, I can elicit others to fuel my own self-destructive behavior.

The real point I want to make today is that there are sins in our lives, (clearly self-pity is one for me) that we don’t recognize as deadly, and so we allow them to slip into place, and begin their destruction of all that we have built. Once in, they set up house keeping. Paul calls it a stronghold.

We must identify these as sin and begin to hate them. We must go to war with them.

Sin – any sin – leads to death at some level. [Tweet This]

Remember James’ progression?

But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death. - James 1:14-15

  • Temptation of our own lust
  • Sin is born
  • Death is harvested

These ‘little’ enemies must be destroyed or they will eat our lunches. (and hey – I like lunch)

My self-pity and your _______________  is killing us.

This means WAR!

Ben NelsonThanks for coming by.

Let’s mix it up today.

Ben

5

Thanks to Pastor J. for the Church Photo - Check out his blog - Lillie-Put: http://josephelonlillie.com/

In yesterday’s study of the Sabbath, I referred to Paul’s mention of the Sabbath in Colossians 2.

Therefore no one is to act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day-- - Colossians 2:16

The problem with this verse is that it starts with “Therefore” and ends with dashes. How can I just leave that alone? In good conscience I can’t simply ignore the wherefore to its therefore, or leave out what it is dashing toward, can I?

I suppose I could yank it out of context and just say – “Don’t judge me” and be satisfied, yeah – no – can’t do it. So let’s dig a bit, shall we?

Here’s a bit of context, but I warn you, you better get on your shoutin’ shoes cuz it’s ‘bout to get fun.

See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ. For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority; and in Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ; having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him.

Therefore no one is to act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day-- things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ. - Colossians 2:8-17

What is it there for?

I know that is a pretty big passage of scripture, and with the way Paul packs his writing with meaning, you could no doubt write volumes on this passage, but let’s see if we can’t glean the gist here.

  1. It is a warning – don’t let anyone take you captive by deception.
  2. Jesus is fully God – all that is God dwells in Him.
  3. You (Christian) have been made complete in Him.
  4. Your sin nature has been cut away from you, it is no longer a part of you – like the piece of flesh that is cut off in circumcision and disposed of, so it is with your sin nature.
  5. The bill (wages) for the actual sins you have committed was nailed to the cross (Jesus became sin.)
  6. Your enemy has been disarmed. This bill – this listing of your sin – was his ammunition against you, as he went before God to accuse you. He no longer has any weapon to use against you.

This is the ten-thousand foot view of what Paul is pointing back to with his “therefore,” and let me tell you, it’s got me happy!

His Conclusion

This therefore points back to his warning – If you are in a covenant relationship with Jesus Christ - don’t be deceived.

  • Don’t be deceived by someone telling you about some rituals you must follow in order to keep your Christianity.
  • Don’t be deceived into believing that if you keep the Sabbath on a Saturday, you are denying Christ’s resurrection.
  • Don’t be deceived into believing that you are offending God by eating meat on a Friday.
  • Don’t be deceived into believing that you are still in your sins if you are not participating in some religious observance – what ever it is.

Your sin has been violently cut away from you – it was a bloody mess – and there is no putting it back. It has been cast into the trash, and cannot be reattached to you. You have been circumcised!

I have gone longer than I intended, and I am only half way there. I am so blessed though by this discovery of circumcision today. Come back tomorrow for what comes after Paul’s mention of the Sabbath. I think it will be eye opening.

Ben NelsonThanks for coming by.

Shine where you’re screwed in today.

Ben

Hey - if you enjoy these posts, and are on Facebook, would you do me a favor and click "Like" over on the side bar? Thanks!

9

Christ Heals a Man Paralyzed by the Gout. Mark 2:4. Engraving by Bernhard Rode, 1780. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Rode_1.jpg

Jesus is teaching a bunch of folks, seems like it might take place in His own house, as I look at the various tellings between Matthew, Mark and Luke.

Four men have a friend who is paralyzed, and they bring him to Jesus to be healed. They can’t get into the house, so the climb up on the room, and using some ropes, lower their friend down in front of Jesus.

So – What are you going to do now Jesus? You have the home field advantage, and this guy everyone knows has been crippled for ages. You could show them once and for all that you are in fact moving with the finger of God here on earth. You could stop all the naysayers, and get your own hometown behind you. You might even get some of the Pharisee’s to believe.

But Jesus jumps the rails. He gets tossed this easy pitch, and what does He do? He  changes the game.

Son, be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven you. ~ Matthew 9:2

Sins? Who said anything about sins?

You may say that Jesus talked about his sin because that was his deeper need, and that is true, but I believe we can get at least one more lesson here.

Forgiveness and healing are never far parted in the Bible.

Bless the LORD, O my soul,
And forget none of His benefits;
Who pardons all your iniquities;
Who heals all your diseases ~ Psalm 103:1-2

But he was wounded and crushed for our sins. He was beaten that we might have peace. He was whipped, and we were healed! ~ Isaiah 53:5 (NLT)

Why the link? Why does Jesus stop the show and show us both healing and forgiveness?

Perhaps He is demonstrating to the people in the room, that He was not just an amazing healer, but that He was here to bring deliverance to the whole man.

Perhaps He was bringing attention to this permanent link between forgiveness and healing.

"But in order that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins--then He said to the paralytic--“Rise, take up your bed, and go home." ~ Matthew 9:6

One piece of this that is of interest to me, is that forgiveness is not immediately visible from the outside, whereas healing is. When Jesus forgives the sins of this man, there is no visible change.

This may lead us to believe it takes more faith to be healed then to be forgiven, but this is not so.

The problem is the good news about forgiveness has been preached for hundreds of years, and the good news about the fact that Jesus heals has been much less prevalent. As we meditate more and more on the total salvation offered by Jesus, we see more and more men and women saved, healed and delivered.

I am so glad Jesus took the time to give us this lesson in His wonderful salvation.

Ben NelsonAren’t you?

See you again soon.

Ben

By the way, if you missed the first hand account of this day in Jesus life, you should check out "Arise, Take up your bed and walk"

photo credit: Silver Season via photopin cc
photo credit: Silver Season via photopin cc

I am sure you have heard that old saying, “There are only 2 things that are guaranteed in life…”

Let’s take a look at that idea today as we poke around in 1 Corinthians 15

For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. ~ 1 Corinthians 15:21-22

Now this is one of those passages I have actually read hundreds of times. I at least verse 21, since it is part of the text of Handel’s Messiah, which is a large part of my life.

But as the Lord loves to do, He pulled out His highlighter as I was studying this recently.

Look with me for just a minute at the structure of these two verses. Let’s focus on the second. He poses that which we know, and then links it to what will be. As if the part we know is a clear indication of how sure the second part is.

In Adam all die. You can trace the fact that you are going to die back to Adam’s sin. By Adam, sin entered the world, and through sin death. Paul goes into much more detail on this idea in Romans 5.

Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned ~ Romans 5:12

It would be worth reading Romans 5-8 to see this full progression of death to life.

But my point today is simply that just as sure as you were born with a sin nature, so sure is it that if you are in Christ, you will be raised from the dead.

Your resurrection is just as sure as your death.

I say again: Hallelujah!

So here is my re-write of the old adage.

There are only 2 things that are guaranteed in life…

Death and Resurrection!

Ben NelsonGlad you stopped by today.

Hope to see you again soon,

Ben

We looked at what it was not.

Yesterday, I brought out Paul’s definition of the gospel.

Today I want to look at what it is.

When Paul delivers the gospel to us, he basically states three facts.

Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,
He was buried,
He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures ~ 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 (slightly altered)

These are not even principles – they are simply facts.

So, we saw last week that salvation (and great salvation at that) comes through believing, receiving the gospel.

Are you telling me Paul, that believing these three facts makes me a Child of God? That is all I need to do to get into heaven?

Here is my question for you – is believing facts what makes you a Christian. Can your faith be boiled down to a list of things you agree with, or are willing to attest to? Can your “faith” be demonstrated by the recitation of a creed?

It’s more than that beloved. No, I don’t mean more as in you have stuff you have to do, but more as in – more than facts.

These three facts are what set Jesus apart from any other man – and really it is only one of these facts that creates this new abundant life we walk in.

Many people have died (ok – no one else died for my sins, but hold that thought)

Many people have been buried

These facts don’t move me.

Only Jesus was raised up once and for all – and lives on today.

The truth of the resurrection is the lynch pin of all truth. Paul is going to spend the rest of this chapter making his case for the resurrection, and it’s importance and prominence.

Today however, I want to give this one more turn and say we are not saved because we can believe these facts. Facts do not save, doctrine does not save, theology does not save, ideas do not save.

Jesus saves!

It is not believing facts about Jesus that takes us from darkness to light. It is putting our trust and faith in Jesus Himself that saves us.

Let me say it again.

Jesus saves!

The gospel is not facts, it is a man, The Man Christ Jesus.

The Perfect Man Christ Jesus, who lived a perfect life and was therefore a worthy sacrifice for sin.

He died on the cross for our sins, not for His own, but for our sins, yours and mine.

He was buried.

He was raised up on the third day.

He lives to make intercession for you.

I have more to say, but you don't have to wait - You can give your life to Jesus right now.

Give Him your sin scarred life, and let Him resurrect you into a brand new, clean, whole life, with Jesus on the inside.

Ask Him. He will!

Ben NelsonI love Jesus.

See you tomorrow.

Ben

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