I wrote this as a blog for atmospherechurch.com for our up-coming sermon series on Galatians. As I was writing it, I thought it would be a good idea to have it here. This way whenever I get to the blog or others come, we can come here and remember the whole reason we are writing and reading.
For this, we never leave the Gospel- it is at the core of our being as Christians.
So here it is! I might update it and edit the wording at some point, but the message will remain the same.
From Good to Bad
The Bible teaches that man was created by God as a good being (Gen. 1.31) and was made to be fruitful and multiply and have dominion over all the animals on the earth (Gen. 1.28). There was perfect harmony when God created the world. Then came sin. Satan (a fallen angel: Rev. 12; 1 Tim. 3.6) came in the form of a serpant and tempted Eve and Adam to sin. With that sin came the punishment of the entire world, for through Adam all sinned and all are condemned to death by God (Rom. 5.15-21). This is the first thing that we must understand as believers. Every one is sinful (Rom. 3.10-13, 23) and all deserve death (Rom. 6.23). This sinfulness is something that everyone is born with. Nobody teaches a child how to lie to his parent. All children are born with knowledge of how to be bad; we have to teach them how to be good. Furthermore, this death is not simply a physical death- but a spiritual one. This spiritual death means that the end of all unbelievers is the eternal punishment of hell (Matt. 25.41-46; Rev. 20.15).
Being made right
We don’t have to do anything to be enemies of God. All it takes is to be born a human. There is only one price to pay, and that is the blood of the offender. That is why the price of sin is death. Sin is so terrible that the payment has to be eternal. There is nothing that we can do to earn his love and salvation. We are so depraved in our humanity that even the works that we do apart from the Spirit of God are considered filthy rags before the throne (Is. 64.6).
That is why Jesus came.
To quote Philippians 2.5-8
[Jesus], though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
How great is our God! Jesus who is God the Son is equal to the Father but willingly subjects himself to the Father on our behalf. Thus, God came down to earth in human form to die a death that would take away the sins of the world, or as Paul puts it in 2 Cor. 5.21- “He made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” Jesus took on the sins of the world so that those who believe in his name for salvation will not die the eternal death that Paul promises in Romans 6 (Jn. 3.15-17). God did this because of his love for his people. There has never been a greater love on earth than that of God for His people, and there will never be. In this love, Jesus traded places with us. Mankind has made it a habit to switch places with God, but on the cross, Jesus took our place- that is what Paul was saying in 2 Cor. 5.21. As a result of this exchange, those who believe in him are given his righteousness.
As mentioned, Jesus died. But he did not remain dead. Jesus, being the perfect God-man, was not ruled by sin; death did not have any hold on him. Because of this, he rose again on the third day (Matt. 28.1-10; Mar. 16.1-8; Lk. 24.1-12; Jn. 20.1-10). The resurrection of Christ from the dead is the most essential thing for us to believe. Paul preached it as first importance (1 Cor .15.3-11) and we must accept it as so because understanding that Christ conquered death and rose again means that we have hope beyond this life (1 Cor. 15.12-19). In this we have full assurance that whoever abides in Christ (believes in him for salvation) will have Christ abiding in him (Jn. 15.5). As Christ rose from the dead, so shall we; as he was given a glorified body, so shall we. The saving power of Christ is sufficient to cover all of the sins of everyone- one simply must be born again (Jn. 3.3).
Those who are born again are born of the Spirit. The Spirit enables a person to be saved (Jn. 3.5-8; 1 Cor. 12.3), thus securing the fact that we cannot do this on our own; we are all fallen people in desparate need of a savior. Upon being born again we enter into a new relationship with Christ and the Church. The same Spirit that causes our new birth then causes growth through the giving of gifts to believers (1 Cor.12). These gifts are meant to build up, edify, encourage, and most importantly- worship God. We are not saved into an individualistic faith, but into a family; a body in which Christ is the head; a building in which Christ is the cornerstone. We cannot stand or survive without connection to our head. In the end, this body of believers will be united with Christ in glory as he returns to bring final judgment to the world. Christ will then bring the new heavens and the new earth in which his people will dwell with him for all eternity, and the lake of fire in which his enemies will be cast for eternity (Rev. 20.11-22.21). At this time, our exalted Lord will enjoy what the rest of the Philippians passage describes:
Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Phil. 2.9-11
The Final Message
Be born again! Allow Christ to soften your heart to his Word. Pray for the Spirit to reveal the truth to you.
Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved…