Tuesday, July 5, 2016

A Gospel Appeal

You were made for a purpose. Your greatest purpose in life isn't to be wealthy, or healthy, or famous. Although none of those things are inherently wrong, they just fall woefully short of the chief end for which you were created. You were made by God for God. You were made to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. The Christian worldview is the only worldview that consistently applies worth to every individual human being. And essential to the Christian worldview is the gospel.

Although you were made to glorify God and enjoy Him forever, that's not the default desire of any person left to themselves. We are too wrapped up in ourselves, attempting to establish our own purpose in life, to really care about God. The Bible calls this sin. Sin is anything we do that God tells us not to do and anything we don't do that God tells us to do. And the problem with mankind is we are all sinners. We are sinners by nature and choice. You were 'born that way' but you are also a most willing participant in your sin. You love it. We lie, steal, cheat, worship other things besides God, hate others, lust after others, are envious, greedy, and the list goes on and on. Instead of serving God we worship autonomy and try to be God. We might think we like the idea of God but really we don't want to bow to Him or have Him as King of our lives or live life by His rules. We were made to enjoy God and glorify Him forever but instead we have bought into the lie that we can find greater purpose in something else. But this is like trying to fit a round peg into a square hole. It just won't go. 

Because our rebellion is against a God who is Holy, He must punish it. A good judge is a just judge. God is a good judge and therefore delights in justice. Psalm 7:11 puts it this way: "God is a righteous judge, and a God who feels indignation every day." The Lord hates sin. Our rebellion must be dealt with in a way that is consistent with God's justice. The problem is we, as finite beings, could never finish paying for our sin against an infinite Being. This is why Hell is forever. Hell is the place where justice is served for all eternity for our sinful rebellion against God. Many will justly go to this dreadful place, but it does not have to be that way for you because before time had even began, God had a solution to our sin problem: Jesus.

Jesus is God. He is the Second person of the Trinity. Equal with the Father in essence but distinct in His ministry. I know all of those terms may seem complicated to you but suffice it to say this: God became one of us in order to rescue us. The Son of God took on human flesh and was born of the Virgin Mary 2,000 years ago. He lived a perfect life of enjoying and glorifying God in His humanity. He never sinned. He never did something God commanded us not to do. And He never failed to do anything God commanded us to do. And then, He went to the cross. Not simply to show His love for us, but so that He could meet God's righteous demand for the Law we've broken. In Jesus, God punished sin for all those who will look to Him in faith. The wrath of God was satisfied. Justice has been served. All i's have been dotted and every t has been crossed. It is finished. 

We know God accepted this perfect sacrifice because Jesus rose again from the dead (Romans 4:25). He then ascended into heaven and is now seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty. It is from there that He will come again soon to judge the living and the dead.

The call of the Christian gospel to all mankind is that every person would turn from his sin and rebellion against God in repentance, and come to Jesus in faith, trusting Him and His work as the only solution for making us right with God. It is not "just live like Jesus." You can't. And you don't want to. But Jesus has settled all accounts by His work and He stands as your surety if you will but look to Him in faith. Yes, look! This is a gospel for you. It is the Holy Spirit (the 3rd person of the Trinity) who takes this gospel and applies it to our lives. He opens our eyes that we may see. And the call to you is will you trust Jesus as your only suitable and all sufficient Savior? 

The result of repentance and faith isn't some bait and switch propaganda. You don't repent and believe the gospel so that you get money, fame, or power. You repent and believe the gospel so that you get God. The very purpose for which you were made. You may try your own way. Many do. But the rest every soul deeply desires will not be satisfied with the puny things of this world. It is only Christ. You were made by God for God. And we are saved by God for God. You were made to glorify God and enjoy Him forever and in Christ, and only in Christ, you can achieve this purpose. 

Every person will stand before God one day and give an account for the deeds they have done. For those who are in Christ, God will judge our lives as though we lived the life Jesus did. In other words, God looks at us and doesn't just say 'not guilty', but because of the work of Jesus He looks at us and says 'righteous.' Not our own righteousness but the righteousness of Jesus we receive when we come to Him in faith. Simply put, if you come to Jesus in faith, God doesn't count your sin against you. It has been placed on Jesus on the cross. And the obedience of Jesus to God's law is credited to your account. All of this happens by faith. Faith isn't a blind leap into the dark. It's believing and trusting the truth of the gospel. This is the only way into the presence of God for eternity. We must be righteous and the only righteousness that will do is the perfect righteousness of Jesus. You can receive that righteousness today, by faith!

You were made for a purpose. Would you have Christ today? Will you turn from your sin against God and trust the work of Jesus by faith? In Jesus there is life! True life. Lay down your rebellion. Lay down your efforts to appease God. Lay down your attempts at establishing your own purpose in this world. And come to Jesus. He will not cast you out! Come to Him in faith! Trust Him today. Repent and believe the gospel. 

Soli Deo Gloria.

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