The Heart of the Gospel

But God commends His love toward us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. (Rom 5:8-10)

I believe the above text of Scripture captures the very essence of the gospel of Jesus Christ. All of human history finds its pinnacle in the death and resurrection of the Son of God. I’ll attempt to break down the heart of this glorious gospel verse by verse.

But God commends His love toward us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.

The Gospel always begins with God. God is the giver and sustainer of life and of all creation. I wouldn’t be sitting here telling this most wonderful tale if not for the God, who upholds all things by the word of his power. All men everywhere owe God a debt of gratitude for every single breath of life they have ever enjoyed. God is due all glory from his creation. If men will not cry out his praise then the rocks we stand upon surely will. God is glorified in his creation.

God’s glorious attribute of love lies at the golden gates of the gospel message. God is love. He so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him shall never perish but have everlasting life. God’s love is incomprehensible, its borders cannot be defined. His love is manifested in his grace to all men. God’s grace is about his mercy and compassion on lost sinners who cannot do anything to save themselves.

Sin is the reason the relationship between God and man has been severed. Sin is why we need a savior. Yet the inspired Apostle Paul says here that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Men do more than commit occasional sins, sins that are an affront to a Holy God. Men are sinners. We are depraved in every part of our being. We were born in this fallen, corrupt state. Every thought of our minds and desire of our souls is sinful. We are an affront to a holy God, a stench in his nostrils. Continue reading

Essential Easter Reading

In preparation for serious reflection upon the Lord’s cross and his victorious resurrection from the dead many Christian faith traditions practice Lent.  Lent, in essence, is a period of time set aside by worshipers to reflect upon the significance and magnitude of Christ’s cross work in light of their desperate need for grace, mercy and forgiveness. The observance of Lent is usually accompanied by fasting, prayer, mourning, self-denial and repenting over sin.

As a Christian practicing his faith in the sphere of Baptist tradition, Lent is typically frowned upon, so I’ve never participated in it.  However, I must admit, that I’m not totally opposed to such practices on the condition that reflection upon our sin, Christ’s cross, fervent prayer and a holy lifestyle of self-denial aren’t solely practiced only within the limited confines of the 40 days of Lent. We as Christians should keep these sacred truths close to our hearts at all times, especially every time we sit down at the Lord’s Supper.

In recent years I’ve seen the wisdom in setting aside and sanctifying a period of time for serious reflection upon the glorious cross of Christ and subsequent conquering of death, hell and the grave.  For those not comfortable with the idea of participating in Lent, perhaps I can offer an acceptable alternative.  I highly recommend reading a couple of short books on the passion, purpose and application of Christ’ sacrifice on the cross.  These books are brief with short, succinct chapters that can be read as a devotion everyday over the course of the month preceding Easter Sunday.

The first book is titled: The Cross he Bore by Frederick S. Leahy.  The second is titled: The Truth of the Cross by RC Sproul. Below I’ll post a review of each, including a list of the chapters contained in each volume. Continue reading