The Gospel of Jesus Christ
Would you like a free gift? Well, that is what the Gospel is all about! God is offering all of humanity His love to you regardless of who you are or what you have done or neglected to do.
The only problem is, today's modern gospel is not what it use to be. It has been watered down to just a theory instead of a full and joyful experience of salvation in Christ. The Gospel Protestant reformers preached, did set the world on fire. Today's gospel does not even produce a spark.
Dr. Martin Luther the foremost Protestant wrote:
"The Epistle [of Paul to the Romans] is really the chief part of the New Testament and the very purest gospel,...........to begin with, we must have knowledge of its language and know what St. Paul means by the words, law, sin, grace, faith, righteousness, flesh, spirit, etc., otherwise no reading of it has any value. [I may add here that we must pray every time we open the Bible so the Holy Spirit is invited to give us the right understanding also] The little word "law" you must not take here in human fashion, as a teaching about what works are to be done or not done. That is the way it is with human laws-the law is fulfilled by works, even though there is no heart in them.
But God judges according to what is at the bottom of the heart, and for this reason, His law makes its demands on the inmost heart and cannot be satisfied with works, but rather punishes works that are done otherwise than from the bottom of the heart, as hypocrisy and lies.....if, then, there is no willing pleasure in the good, then the inmost heart is not set on the law of God, then there is surely sin, and God's wrath is deserved.......For this reason he says, in chapter seven, "The law is spiritual."
What is that? If the law were for the body and comes to take pleasure, it could be satisfied with works; but since it is spiritual, no one can satisfy it, unless all that you do is done from the bottom of the heart. But such a heart is given only by God's Spirit..........to fulfill the law, however, is to do its works with pleasure and love,...........hence it comes that faith alone makes righteous and fulfills the law......................Faith, however, is a divine work in us. It changes us and makes us to be born anew of God [John 1]; it kills the old Adam and makes altogether different men, in heart and spirit and mind....................For through faith a man becomes sinless and comes to take pleasure in God's commandments."--Luther Own Introduction, Commentary on Romans, pp.xiii-xvii.
So here we can see that justification [legal term] of the Gospel Luther and all other Protestant Reformers preached long ago is different than what is promoted as the Gospel today. The gift of God is therefore conditional on the acceptance of the receiver resulting in a new heart and spirit that becomes in harmony with God's holy law of morals: "Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subjected to the law of God, neither indeed can be."--Romans 8:7. Today's gospel advocates have a strong enmity against the holy law of our holy God which shows us that their conversion and their new heart is not from God.
Justification is not without God's holy law
"For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified." ---Romans 2:13, K.J.V. Today's Gospel advocates deny this strongly because they are hearers and not doers! Modern versions of the Bible say it this way: "For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God's sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous." N.I.V.
Since the new versions use the word righteousness instead of justification, we can confidently say that the Gospel of the Bible includes both justification and sanctification in righteousness by faith because righteousness means right doing. Justification than is not just the declaring but the doing right!
Doers of the Law?
"Because the carnal mind is enmity with God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be."---Romans 8:7
The apostles knew that the unrenewed human heart is in enmity with God and therefore it is impossible to be a doer of the law without the new birth. Once born again: "For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit."---Romans 8:3+4.
Clearly then, righteousness by faith is law right doing finding fulfillment inside us when we stop walking in fleshly lust and walk in the Holy Spirit.
Resulting in Gospel being justification and sanctification combined!
The good news is that Jesus alone saves us not in our sins, but from our sins: "And she shall bring forth a Son, and thou shalt call His name JESUS: for He shall save His people from their sins."---Matthew 1:21. Therefore the definition of the Gospel is: "For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth: to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith."---Romans 1:16+17.
The righteousness or right doing of our Lord Jesus Christ is first imputed [justification] and than imparted [sanctification].
Paul testifies that the Gospel is the power, or in Greek dynamite, unto salvation. When one is full of Gospel power, all shame is gone and we become bold witnesses for Jesus. The just or justified of God are revealed to the sinners as going from faith to faith, i.e. from strength to strength.
"Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law."---Romans 3:28. If the law could save us, we would not need a divine Saviour from sin such as our Lord Jesus Christ. Then he adds that faith is what establishes the law: "Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law."---Romans 3:31.
In Roman ch.7, Paul speaks to them who know the law! Here he speaks of dying to self, our sinful nature or the law of our heredity. This is what every born again Christian experiences. An inner struggle. We would attempt an impossibility by ourselves, but Paul give the answer in the very next chapter 8: There is therefore no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death."---Romans 8:1+2.
Continue in sin?
The new Evangelical gospel claims salvation in sin and looking for the last trump of God when they hope that their character and enmity to the holy spiritual law of God would be changed. This is false hope and cheap grace. Saving and enabling grace is not found in their vocabulary. The Bible warns them: "What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid! How can we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptised into Jesus Christ were baptised into His death? Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death: that like Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life."---Romans 6:1-4.
We `are to walk like Jesus in the newness of life. The original new testament Greek Baptizo means to plunge under. We are to go down into the watery grave to die to sin and self. The church of Rome has changed this to just sprinkle you a little and all Protestant Reformers were deceived by it.Evangelical & Catholic Gospels
If the Gospel is just about Jesus saving us 2000+ years ago, but not ourselves from sin now, we are missing out!If it is just about forgiveness, then God would be obliged to accept the Devil and all his fallen angels back into heaven. According to them, justification by faith is a purely legal [forensic] book-keeping entry in the books of heaven. Purely a legal declaration.
That is the reason they declare all others as legalists and perfectionists and Gospel is faith plus works, but listen to what the Bible has to say about this:
" To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in Me."---Acts 26:18
Here is Jesus telling Paul on the road to Damascus that the inheritance of eternal life is by sanctification through faith. Further more: "That He may sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word."---Eph. 5:26. The Bible keeps you from sin, is a saying, but sin keeps you from the Bible. And it is so true, once you have experience the joy of Bible study, soaking up the holy Scriptures and it sure helps cleaning our lives from sin and therefore sanctifying us as the above text says. Evangelicals and Roman Catholic, both are making Jesus so He could not be like us and therefore not been tempted in all points like us. Catholics made Mother Mary immaculate, and Evangelicals claim that Jesus had the nature of unfallen Adam. Both views are unbiblical and an excuse for not following Jesus. For more info see my page on .come2jesus.com.au/calvinism.htm. The hallmarks of "antichrist" is the subtle denial that "Jesus Christ has come in the flesh" (2 John 7). Protestant and Catholic scholars often quote the "Church Fathers" (Irenaeus, Justin Martyr, Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian) to support their views. These esteemed "Fathers" often contradict each other and their writings are permeated with the insidious influence of Greek philosophy.
The blood of our Lord Jesus is a sanctifier!
"Wherefore Jesus also, that He may sanctify the people with His own blood."---Heb.13:12. "But we are bound to give thanks always to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God has from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth."---2.Thess.2:13. Here it says that the Holy Spirit sanctifies us, and again: " Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saves us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost."---Titus 3:5.
Popular Christianity does not acknowledge the new testament definition of sin and therefore are her sins stockpiling up to heaven [see Rev.18]. They say it is separation from God, yes, but the Devil is transformed as an angel of light, allowed to deceive and supply a false re-connection.
Free will and sinWhy did God allow the misery of sin? God took terrible risks with the Universe to protect freedom of choice. Because of the worthlessness of forced obedience God gives us all freedom of choice. This is the basis of the Gospel. God is not a rapist and does not force love nor does He make robots. The heresy of predestination was Satan's idea and originated in the 2nd and third century Gnostics. Here again are we led to a decision about the nature of sin. Sin is not basically the way man is, but the way man chooses. Sin occurs when the mind consents to what seems desirable and so breaks its relationship with God. Sin is concerned with man's will rather than with his nature:
"For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,
But a fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries."---Heb 10:26+27. If sin is not nature but choice, than Christ could inherit our fallen, sinful nature without thereby becoming a sinner. He remained ever sinless because His conscious choice was always obedience to God, never allowing His inherited nature to control His choices. [Note, Roman Catholic scholars knew this and refuse to follow Jesus, invented doctrines of Devils [1.Tim.4:1-4] such as the immaculation of Mother Mary to try giving Christ holy flesh.] But what does the Bible say?
"Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, He [Jesus] Himself likewise partook of the same nature.......Therefore He had to be made like His brethren in every respect."---Heb 2:14-17 RSV
Temptation is not sin. Only when we accept it. Jesus said that hatred is already counted for murder and the lustful look on woman is as adultery. [Matthew 5].
James writes: "Temptations come from the lure of our own evil desires. These evil desires lead to evil actions, and evil actions lead to death."---James 1:14,15. The death as in all sinners are facing. As an Evangelical, it did not make sense to me. One more sin or one less because by nature we are all sinners. [see my personal testimony on RolfVaessen.com]. It showed me how ignorant I was as an Evangelical Christian. Real faith is renouncing all self-trust, and real faith is the victory that overcomes the world [1.John 5:4].
After Luther's deathSoon after Luther's death, they began to weaken their faith and in 1577 the Formula of Concord, we see a weaker Gospel appearing and it has been further watered down since. Today's gospel has turned into licentiousness and cheap grace. Antinomianism masquerading as righteousness by faith.The Good News Of the Gospel (evangel or evangelium) is that Jesus saves us not in our sins, but from our sins. (see Matth.1:21) This brings us to the question; ’what is sin?’ The apostle Paul had not known sin by any other way except that the holy moral law of God had said, ‘you must not covet’ (Romans 7:7) .
While Martin Luther the great Protestant Reformer did not separated Justification and sanctification in the righteousness of Jesus Christ, he disliked the writings of James the apostle. Luther's motto "by faith alone" is therefore incorrect. As the new testament explains, faith is never alone. "You see that a man is to be declared righteous by works, and not by faith alone."---James 2:24.
Do Seventh-day Adventists have a different Gospel?
Seventh day Adventists have the very same Gospel as commissioned us in Revelation 14:6-12 with the added emphasis on the judgment hour of God as given in Revelation. The judgment, Yom Kippur is the final purging of sin: " And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people,
Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of water."---Revelation 14:6,7.This testifies of modern media and is seen flying in mid air!
Now lets examine the above texts.
The everlasting gospel is preached to everyone on earth and in every language. Tell us, was this possible until now? No! Only by modern media the gospel reaches into remote areas and countries where the gospel has been banned and forbidden. The loud voice
Now to what the messenger is saying with his loud voice: "Fear God, and give glory to Him; for the hour of His judgment is come: and worship Him that made heaven, and earth, and sea, and the fountains of water." God fearing man and woman giving glory to God because of the arrival of God's judgment hour. How could this be? Non SDA gospels do not preach the good news of the judgment. In fact they deny any involvement of Christians in the judgment, so it is exclusive to the Seventh-day Adventist gospel.
When did the hour of God's judgment begin? At the end of the 2300 days prophecy found in Daniel 8:13,14. the judgment hour according to the old testament took place once a year and is also known as the day of atonement. The atonement at-one-ment on the cross is not the day. It was a special day in which at the end of the ceremonial year, all sin was removed from God's temple on earth and therefore was the anti-typical day of cleansing the heavenly sanctuary: " Unto 2300 days, then the sanctuary shall be cleansed."---Daniel 8:14 K.J.V.
Since the day of atonement took place once a year, 2300 days are 2300 years reaching from Daniel to October 22,1844 A.D. according to the Hebrew calendar to our time, the end of the world, when Jesus our great high Priest would begin judging the dead.
Read Revelation 11:18 to see the dead standing before God in judgment: "And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead that they should be judged."
Why do SDA's say that the judgment is good news? Jesus Christ is our advocate and He would have a hard time defending transgressors of His holy law of the 10 Commandments which includes His own Seventh-day Sabbath, but He delights in exonerating his law abiding Citizen.
And who is it that made heaven, the earth, the sea, and the fountains of water? The New Testament is full of quotes declaring Jesus to be our creator God and rightful Lord of the Sabbath.---John 1:1-3, 12, 14. Eph. 3:9; Col. 1:15-17; 1. Cor.8:6; Heb 1:1,2,10; Mark 2:27,28.
Here is another clincher:
"For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life."---Romans 5:10 K.J.V.
How much is much more? His life before the cross is written to our account while we as toddlers are growing up into Christ. New born Christians are referred to as Babes in Christ. But Christ's life as our great high priest and intercessor was only discovered by Adventists after 1844 A.D. learning what the heavenly sanctuary is.
Pentecost, the early and latter rain
Joel's prophecy of 2:28 found its partial fulfillment on the day of Pentecost with the opening of the gospel work. It will reach its full accomplishment in the closing work of the gospel. But before God will pour out His Holy Spirit in full power, Satan brought in a counterfeit known today as Pentecostalism. This muttering spirit is condemned by the Bible as seen in Isaiah 8:19. This unmeaning gibberish is not speaking in tongues as seen in Act chapter two.
The real Holy Spirit which descended on the day of Pentecost carried the minds of the disciples from the earthly sanctuary to the heavenly, where Jesus had entered by His own blood, to shed upon His disciples the benefits of His atonement. So in the closing work, His last days disciples will also look up to Christ in the heavenly sanctuary for the unleashing of His power. Satan who is transformed as an angel of light spreads his influence over the earth by means of false reformation. The churches are elated, and consider that God is working marvelously for them, when it is the work of another spirit. The excitement will die away and leave the world and the church in a worse condition than before. Satan knows this; and before the loud cry of the of the third angel of Revelation 14 is given, he raises an excitement in these religious bodies, that those who have rejected the truth of the three angel's may think that God is with them.
Working out your own salvation with fear and trembling.- Philippians 2:12
Working in, what Jesus has worked out for us. This does not endorse the idea of salvation by works. We are saved by grace through faith. But this grace leads to good works. So, such works leads to the outworking of the grace that has affected our salvation [Romans 6:18]. No one has drifted into heaven as yet! We must 'strive' to enter in [Luke 13:24] and laying aside every weight, run the race with patience and resist the Devil, and endure unto the end [Hebrews 12:1; James 4:7; Matthew 24:13].
Do not rely on others. "Though Noah, Daniel, and Job were in the land....they shall deliver neither son nor daughter; they shall but deliver their own souls by their righteousness."---Ezekiel 14:20 With fear and trembling Paul is not advocating terror, but a wholesome self-distrust a continual surrender to Christ and praying for His righteousness or right doing.
There are seven Gospels in the Bible.
The Gospel preached to Abraham [Gal.3:8], or the old testament people also found in Isaiah 53, the four Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Then we have the Gospel especially revealed to the Apostle Paul [Gal.1:11,12], this makes six Gospel's and as number seven in the Bible is perfection, we have the 7th Gospel in Revelation [apocalypse] 14:6-12, the eschatological- or end time Gospel, the good news of the judgment [vindication] for true Christians. Paul writes of false Gospel's and perversion of the Gospel especially those of the circumcision. Even though the Bible speaks of seven Gospel's, there is really only one, the Gospel of the Kingdom of God and Jesus Christ [Matthew 4:23]. Woe is us, said Paul, if we do not preach the Gospel and his definition is, that it is the power or dynamite of God [Rom.1:7]. The burden of the Gospel according to Matthew is to show that Jesus is the promised Messiah foretold by all the old testament prophets. This Gospel does not name its author and it has been accepted as the work of Matthew which also was called Levi and we know nothing of him.
The four Gospel's are, by all odds the Most important part of the Bible. We could better afford to be without the knowledge of everything else than to be without the knowledge of Christ. There were many more Gospel's than the four to start with [Luke 1:1] But we believe that God Himself took control over the Narratives of His Son Jesus Christ in the preparation and preservation of the Gospel. Mark in his Gospel account is very concerned about the forgiveness of sin and the importance of Christ as the Lord of the Seventh-day Sabbath. Mark even lists the vegetarian diet of John the Baptist-honey and locusts. The locust tree produces a fruit of which carob is made, a substitute for unhealthy chocolate. It is available in all health food shops. The Prosperity Gospel
The cover story of a recent issue of Time magazine (September 18, 2006) raised the question: "Does God Want you to be Rich?" The accompanying photo shows a Rolls Royce with a Cross as a hood ornament. The article, written by David Van Bema and Jeff Chu, offers an informative discussion of the popular Prosperity Gospel, being preached today by leading tele-evangelists such as Creflo Dollar, Benny Hinn, Joyce Meyer, T. D. Jakes, Paul Couch, Kenneth Copeland, and Joel Osteen. These preachers encourage their followers to "sow a seed" of faith by donating to their ministry, in order to reap prosperity in the future.
The Prosperity Gospel teaches that God wants his children to prosper and be in good health. It calls upon Christians to step out in faith and claim prosperity as their birthright. Joel Osteen, Pastor of the Houston's Lakewood Church-the largest mega church in the USA-is perhaps the most successful popularizer of the Prosperity Gospel. In his Best-selling book Your Best Life Now, Osteen writes: "Your lot in life is to continually increase. Your lot in life is to be an overcomer, to live prosperously in every area. . . . The Bible says, 'God takes pleasure in prospering his children.' As his children prosper spiritually, physically and materially, their increase brings pleasure to God."
According to the Prosperity Theology, the purpose of Christ's incarnation and atoning sacrifice was to provide reconciliation and restoration for our physical and financial problems. The secret to receive all the physical blessings of God, is to be found in the amount of faith of the believer. Prosperity preachers believe that faith is a force which has the magic ability to change and restore people's lives. This means that if some believers do not receive the blessings asked for, it is because they lacked faith or did not tap correctly into God's spiritual resources.
The problem with the Prosperity Theology is that it turns "faith" into a magic power possessed by a few privileged believers. In Scripture, however, faith is not a magic force possessed by few, but a trustful commitment to God, manifested in faithful, obedient living. This is a privilege granted to all believers, not to a privileged few. Faith does not guarantee "wealth and health." Great men of faith like Paul were not blessed with "wealth and health," but with infirmities and poverty, in spite of their total commitment to God.
Before and after justification
While God can be just, and yet justify the sinner through the merits of Christ, no man can cover his soul with the garments of Christ's righteousness while practicing known sins, or neglecting known duties. God requires the entire surrender of the heart, before justification can take place; and in order for man to retain justification, there must be continual obedience, through active, living faith that works by love and purifies the soul.
The black death plague struck Bavarian Germany in 1600 for rejecting the Protestant Gospel. The people promised God to enact the last days of Jesus known now as the famous passion play enacted every ten years, and the plague was stayed. In the Philippines, every year, Christians so called, let themselves nail to a wooden cross and feel no pain. This was not the case with Jesus who died of a broken heart. If I be lifted up, said Jesus, I will draw all men unto me. Who killed Jesus? We all did, every human being is guilty. Here is a medical description of the crucifixion by E. T. Davis M.D. M.S. : The physical trauma of Christ begins at Gethsemane with one of the initial aspects of His sufferings-the bloody sweat. It is interesting that the physician among the disciples, Dr. Luke, is the only one to mention this, "And being in agony, He prayed the longer. And His sweat became as drops of blood, trickling upon the ground". Though very rare, the phenomenon of Hematidrosis, or bloody sweat, is well documented. Under great emotional stress, tiny capillaries in the sweat glands can break, thus mixing blood with sweat. This process alone could have produced marked weakness and possible shock. After the arrest in the middle of the night, Jesus was brought before the Sanhedrin and Caiaphas, the High Priest. A soldier struck Jesus across the face for remaining silent when questioned by Caiaphas. The palace guard then blindfolded Him and mockingly taunted Him to identify them as they each passed by, spat on Him, and struck Him in the face. In the early morning, Jesus, battered and bruised, dehydrated, exhausted from a sleepless night, is taken across Jerusalem to the Praetorium of the Fortress Antonia. It was there, in response to the cries of the mob, that Pilate ordered Bar-Abbas released and Jesus condemned to scourging and crucifixion. Preparations for the scourging are carried out. The Prisoner is stripped of His clothing and His hands tied to a post above His head. the Roman Legionaire steppes forward with the flagrum in his hand.. this is a short whip consisting of several heavy, leather thongs with two small balls of lead attached near the ends of each. the heave whip is brought down with full force again and again across Jesus' shoulders, back and legs. At first the heavy thongs cut through the skin only. Then, as the blows continue, they cut deeper into the subcutaneous tissues, producing first an oozing of blood from the capillaries and veins of the skin, and finally spurting arterial bleeding from vessels in the underlying muscles. The small balls of lead first produce large, deep bruises which are broken open by subsequent blows. Finally the skin of the back is hanging in long ribbons and the entire area is an unrecognizable mass of torn, bleeding tissue. When it is determined by the centurion in charge that the prisoner is near death, the beating is finally stopped. the half-fainting Jesus is then untied and allowed to slump to the stone pavement, wet with His own blood. The Roman soldiers see a great joke in this provincial Jew claiming to be a king. They throw a robe across His shoulders and place a stick in His hand for a scepter. A small bundle of flexible branches covered with long thorns is pressed into His scalp. Again there is copious bleeding (the scalp being one of the most vascular areas of the body). After mocking Him and striking Him across the face, the soldiers take the stick from His hand and strike Him across the head, driving the thorns deeper into the scalp. Finally they tire of their sadistic sport and the robe is torn from His back. This had already become adherent to the clots of blood and serum in the wound, and its removal, just as in the careless removal of a surgical bandage, causes excruciating pain-almost as though He were again being whipped, and the wounds again begin to bleed. The heavy beam of the cross is then tied across His shoulders, and the procession of the condemned Christ, two thieves and the execution detail, begins its slow journey. The weight of the heavy wooden beam, together with the shock produced by copious blood loss, is too much. He stumbles and falls. The rough wood of the beam gouges into the lacerated skin and muscles of the shoulders. He tries to rise, but human muscles have been pushed beyond their endurance. At Golgotha, the beam is placed on the ground and Jesus is quickly thrown backwards with His shoulders against the wood. The legionnaire feels for the depression at the front of the wrist. He drives a heavy, square , wrought-iron nail through the wrist and deep into the wood. Quickly, he moves to the other side and repeats the action, being careful not to pull the arms too tightly, but to allow some flexion and movement. The beam is then lifted in place at the top of the posts and the titulus reading "Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews" is nailed in place. The left foot is pressed backward against the right foot, and with both feet extended, toes down, a nail is driven through the arch of each. As He pushes Himself upward to avoid the stretching torment, He places His full weight on the nail through His feet. Again there is the searing agony of the nail tearing through the nerves between the metatarsal bones of the feet. As the arms fatigue, great waves of cramps sweep over the muscles, knotting them deep, relentless, throbbing pain. With these cramps comes the inability to push Himself upward. Hanging by His arms, the pectoral muscles are paralyzed and the intercostal muscles are unable Air can be drawn into the lungs, but cannot be exhaled. Jesus fights to raise Himself in order to get one short breath. Finally, carbon dioxide builds up in the lungs and in the blood stream and the cramps partially subside. Spasmodically, He is able to push Himself upward to exhale and bring in the life-giving oxygen. Hours of limitless pain, cycles of twisting, joint-rending cramps, intermittent partial asphyxiation, searing pan as tissues is torn from His lacerated back as He moves up and down against the rough timber. then another agony begins. A deep crushing pain deep in the chest as the pericardium slowly fills with serum and begins to compress the heart. The compressed heart is struggling to pump heavy, thick, sluggish blood into the tissues-the tortured lungs are making a frantic effort tp gasp in small gulps of air. The markedly dehydrated tissues send their flood of stimuli to the brain. Jesus gasps, "I thirst." He can feel the chill of death creeping through His tissues. With one last surge of strength, He once again presses His torn feet against the nail, straightens His legs, takes a deeper breath, and utters His seventh and last cry, "Father, into thy hands I commit my spirit." Apparently to make doubly sure of death, the legionnaire drove his lance through the fifth interspace between the ribs, upward through the pericardium and into the heart. Immediately there came out blood and water. we, therefore, have rather conclusive evidence that our Lord died, not the usual crucifixion death by suffocation, but of heart failure due to shock and constriction of the heart by fluid in the pericardium. How do we know we have sin? ‘All have sinned and come short’ (Rom.3:23). Our self-righteousness is as filthy rags. (Isaiah 64:6) But Christ’s robe is spotless and as white as snow. He offers it free to you and me.
We cannot repent nor forsake sin by ourselves. Read Isaiah 53 and Matthew, Mark, Luke and John’s account of the Gospel. A man must repent before he believes in Jesus (Mark 1:15). Now repentance is not a saving grace, having value only as it leads to something further on. The pain of a physical malady has no curative virtue; but it is the pain that inclines the patient to ring the doctor's bell. So John the Baptist goes before Jesus with his cry, "Repent ye". since without repentance there is no adequate sense of need, nor disposition to accept Jesus.
Let us get a clear understanding of repentance. It suggests at the outset, an apprehension of sin as a fact; not a figment of the imagination, not a belief of mortal mind, but a distinct violation of holy law.
Jesus, God’s Son, took our place on the cross.
That is how guilty a sinner we are. But God Himself paid the price to buy us back. Salvation is a free gift. (Eph.2:8) We must not insult the giver, God, by trying to offer payment such as good works, as I used to do , and received nothing. Today, God’s love fills my whole life and His Holy spirit brings me joy, peace and self-control that I never had before. Good works are now the fruit of salvation and no longer the root.
The soul that sins, must die, God says. Whether we curse and swear take God's name in vain, worshiped something or someone else, committed adultery, broke the holy Sabbath, murdered, stole or coveted, sin must be recognized as a concrete or personal fact.
King David in Psalms 51 is a good example. This conviction of sin must be followed by a resolution to forsake it. The truly penitent is not saved; he has only discovered his need of salvation; he knows his malady; now how shall he be cured of it?
To pause her is death. One in a sinking boat must not be satisfied with stopping the leak; the boat must be baled out.
A man over his ears in debt can not recover his credit by resolving to pay cash in the future; he must somehow cancel his past obligation. This brings us to the question: 'What must I do to be saved?".
How shall I become a Christian?
Then Jesus said to Nicodemus, "God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him, should not perish, but have everlasting life". When Protestantism still believed in the binding of all the Ten Commandments as Paul in Romans 7:7 quoted, the Gospel was preached with that law as the needle to wound the transgressor and then the Gospel bandages were applied. A lawless Gospel is no Gospel at all. There is no sin to point out and nothing to be forgiven nor to repent from. Jesus does not save us in, but from sin!!!
But what is it to ' believe in Jesus?'
it is easy to say, 'Come to Christ' and 'Accept Jesus' and 'Believe in Him'; but just here occurs the bewilderment. These are often-times mere shop-worn phrases to the unsaved, however simple they may appear to those who have entered on the Christian life.
Jesus asked His disciples:
' Who do men say that I am?' That you are only a man! 'But what do you think who I am?' you are the Christ, the Son of the living God!'. Flesh and blood does not reveal this to us, only God directly. His disciples were beginning to know Him. He would give them his full confidence.
As they walked towards Jerusalem, He told them that how He had come to redeem the world by bearing its penalty of death; 'He began to show them how he must suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed.
At that point Peter could hold his peace no longer, but began to rebuke Him, saying, 'Be it far from you Lord! To die? No, to reign in glory! And Jesus said to him, 'Get thee behind Me, Satan!'. He did not see Peter but Satan-perceived how the adversary had for the moment taken possession of Peter's conscience, brain and lips. Get thee behind me Satan, I know you and recognize your crafty suggestions.
From this we conclude that the vicarious death of Jesus is the vital center of his Gospel and that any word that contravenes it is in the nature of Satan's suggestion.
The blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. He came to take our place. He paid for our sins.
Now we come to the very heart of the matter-to believe that Christ means what He says. He says to the Sinner, "The Son of man has power on earth to forgive sins". He says, "Him that comes to Me, I will in no ways cast out". "He that believes in Me has everlasting life".
"But here is where many hesitate and fail". They do not "screw their courage to the sticking point". They come up to the line, but do not take the step to take the outstretched hand of Christ, and so fall short of salvation.
The will must act. The prodigal in the far country will stay there forever unless his resolution cries, "I will arise and go!". The resolution is an appropriating act. It makes Christ mine.
The sequel to 'becoming a Christian' is following Christ. The phrase 'you are saved' in 1.Cor.15:2 should read, "you are being saved"! Like the traveller on the road to pilgrims progress, Jesus said: ,narrow is the gate and narrow is the way, and few be there that walk therein. Luther was big on righteousness by faith (alone) Gospel! Translating the Bible from the dead language of Latin into German, and the invention of the Gutenberg press, sparked the protestant ‘Reformation’. The catch cry: ‘by faith alone and by scriptures alone’ would unite Christianity today, if followed! Jesus sets us free from sin and its law of death (Romans 8:2). ' For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh, so that the righteousness (right doing) of the law might be fulfilled inside us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the spirit'-Romans 8:3,4. Earlier the apostle had asked the question, do we make void the law by faith? God forbid, yes we establish the law.-3:31 Churches contradict the New Testament by saying that God’s holy moral law of the 10 Commandments are a yoke of bondage. But the N.T. calls it a royal law of liberty (James 2:8-12) and shows us that every one of the 10 are of equal importance with God and includes Christ’s seventh day Sabbath of the 4th commandment. (note: the corrupt version of catechism shows it as the third commandment).Protestant Theologians make the Gospel more complicated and use terms such as ‘Justification’, which is our title to heaven on the basis of what Jesus did for us outside of ourselves. And ‘Sanctification’ which is our fitness for heaven and is what God’s Holy Spirit does inside us. But mark this, a lack of sanctification (loving obedience to God’s law) cancels the saving effects of justification. Jesus sets me free and I can not be a slave to sin. The Gospel of John, the beloved disciple, is bend on telling us that the Lord Jesus Christ is our Creator God and as Mark already told us, as such, is our Lord of the Seventh-Day-Sabbath, because He made everything that was made [cf.John1:1-3; Mark 2:27,28]. This then also agrees with the apostle Paul who has the sixth Gospel [Galatians 3:8,11,12].
Christ is Redeemer by virtue of His power as Creator. We read that: "We have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins," because that " by Him were all things created". [Col.1:14,16]. If He were not Creator, he could not be Redeemer. This means simply put that redemptive power and creative power are the same. To redeem is to create. This is shown in the statement of the apostle that the Gospel is the power of God unto salvation; which statement is immediately followed by another to the effect that the power of God is seen by means of the things that have been made. [Rom.1:16,20].
The Psalmist prayed: "Create in me a clean heart, and renew a right spirit within me". [Ps.51:10]. the apostle says:' if any man be in Christ, he is a new creation. [2.Cor.5:17]. And again: 'For by grace are ye saved and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God; not by works, lest any man should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Jesus Christ unto good works, which God has before ordained that we should walk in them." [Eph.2:8-10]. Now let us look at the seventh Gospel in Revelation 14:6-12. Here we have a Gospel that stands on its own. While it is true that we were judged at the cross in Christ, there is definitely a day of judgment for Christians only and for those who obeyed the Gospel and are scarcely to be saved [1.Peter 4:17,18].
But what is the good news part of this everlasting Gospel? it is this, those who follow Christ also follow His work in the heavenly Temple/Sanctuary in the eradication of all sin even the sins of neglect and ignorance [Hebrews 9:7].
The glory of God is really the Shikinah but what surrounds Him most is His character or holiness without no man can approach God. Christ is our great high Priest in the heavenly temple and we should all become familiar with His work and office. This particular Gospel also uplifts Christ as our Creator God and if you have not yet obeyed the Gospel or Christ's Sabbath, the fourth of the Ten Commandments [Exodus 20:8] then you are not glorifying God and Christ as the Creator [Mark 2:27,28]. The Gospel commission in Matthew 28:16-20 is an invitation only. Some in the past have used political force-rape. God does not accept forced allegiance! In the Gospel commission we can see the proper relationship with Law & Gospel: 'teaching them to obey whatever I have commanded you.' Also the new covenant has God putting his moral law inside our hearts and minds when He forgives our sins, the righteousness of Jesus by faith alone (Heb.8,10). The end-time Gospel Revelation 14 contains the last invitation to this sinful dying world of ours. It contains the announcement of God's final hour of judgment [verse 6,7] and the Ten Commandments [v.12].This everlasting Gospel of the last days [eschatology] was given first to all Christianity in the midst 1800's, but this first angel's message of Revelation 14:6,7 was rejected completely and only the Seventh-Day Adventists are the sole custodians for the past 160 years. John saw the Temple in Heaven open since this judgment hour began in 1844 a.d. [Apocalypse 11:18,19] when our Lord Jesus Christ began the cleansing of the Most Holy place, known as the day of 'Atonement'. [see our 2300 days page].Jesus urges us into true worship and warns us against false worship of the Beast power 666, its image and mark or seal at the same time. The true Sabbath of Christ versus the false Sunday Sabbath of the Anti- or counterfeit -Christ! See our page on Sunday and also SabbathThe Gospel is the power (dunamis, dynamite) of God. How few Christians have true understanding of the explosive power of the Gospel they so lightly profess! (Romans 1:16).How about you dear Friend? Are you ashamed of the Gospel? For further reading see http://truegospel.info