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

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Without Law There is No Sin?


Q: In Romans 5:12-14 the apostle Paul states, “Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned— for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come.

What does he mean when he writes, ‘for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law’?  Is the apostle implying that people who have not heard the word of God are not considered sinners because they have never heard the Decalogue or Christ’s commandments? Continue reading

Is Doubt a Sin?


A member of my bible class last night night posed a question that sparked a short discussion.  I don’t feel that I answered adequately. As a result, I’ve decided to use this medium to address questions that arise in class that can’t be given a full treatment because of time constraints. My new category shall be called Bible Study Q&A.

I was asked if having doubts is a sin. The person wondered specifically if having doubts about salvation is a sin.  The context comes from our discussion on the definition of sin.  I had someone read from Romans 14:23 which states, “But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.”  The person who asked the question zeroed in on the first part of the verse that explains that a person who doubts whether or not a certain action is right or wrong (In this case, whether eating certain foods is permissible).  Continue reading

Jacob I Have Loved, Esau I Have Hated


Here is a brief (and belated) response to a comment on my post on the justice of God.

Morsec0de wrote:  “You have two people who live identical lives. The one and only difference is that one is a believer, and the other is not. Do you view it as just that one of those be tortured for all eternity and the other not? I’m sorry, but that is an absolutely revolting concept, and the being who instituted it would be despicable. I’m quite glad there is no good evidence to support such a being actually existing.”

My response:

I quoted from Romans chapter 9 in my last post concerning God’s choice of Jacob over Esau and I think that shedding further light on this will answer Morsec0de’s question.  Readers be warned, this answer will probably not be a popular one, but it is a biblical one. Continue reading

A Brief Discourse on the Heart of the Gospel


lighthouse.jpgBut 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 have two student workers who help me out a couple of days during the week, doing various technology related tasks. They are generally enthusiastic and energetic workers. They are also neither one Christians. One is a sort of agnostic who is considering Judaism. (I don’t get it either.) The other is a practicing Hindu. I have spent the last year witnessing to these young gentlemen. I have sat down with them and taken them systematically through the full scope of the gospel message, from law to grace, from hell to heaven, from death to life, from the depravity of man to the glory of God. As of yet, neither has put their faith in Christ. One has hardened himself against the message and generally mocks God and his word. The other is more respectful and appears to have a general interest in what I have to say.

So I keep teaching. One tool I frequently utilize is the white board I have in my office. Every week I put up a few scripture verses. When they come in to work, I often take a moment to quickly expound the text for their edification. The student who actually pays attention to me has come to eagerly await a new nugget of wisdom from God’s word every week. He is quick to rebuke me whenever I fail to post a new scripture. I can sense that he is digesting the milk I am feeding him. Encouraged by his hunger for knowledge, I keep at it, praying that God will cause the seed I have planted to take root. My hope is that someday it shall sprout into a tree of life.

Last week as I searched for a scripture to display I came across the text from Romans posted above. As I read through it I realized the Apostle Paul here succinctly summarizes the core of the gospel message in these three short verses. I will attempt to expound these verses just as plainly as I explained them to my student workers a few days ago. Continue reading

What Can Separate Us From the Love of God?


Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died–more than that, who was raised–who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Rom 8:33-39)

The Apostle Paul asks several important questions in this text. He also gives his readers profound answers.

Who can accuse God’s people of any crime?

No one. God alone justifies the guilty. He answers to no man. He has mercy on whom he will have mercy.

Who has the right to sentence his saints to death and hell?

No one. Christ took our condemnation up on himself. We are free from the sting of death and the punishment of hell.

Who can separate God’s people from the love of Christ, which has been freely bestowed upon them?

Nobody can and nothing will. No circumstance or trial can wedge apart this bond. Through God’s love we have been made more than conquerors. Again, he reiterates that no being (angels nor rulers), thing (the sword, death nor life, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth) or circumstance (tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger) can separate us from the love of God. He even goes so far as to say ‘nor anything else in all creation’. I think that pretty much covers everything, don’t you think? Continue reading

Scripture Meditation: Man’s Desperate Condition


WARNING! Swallow your pride before engaging these verses, for they speak to all of us without exception. You may believe this is not a very encouraging passage to think upon, but it relays an essential doctrinal truth. These scriptures are foundational to the teachings I am preparing to post concerning issues like free will and man’s ability and willingness to embrace the gospel message.

as it is written: “There is none righteous, no not one; there is none that understands, there is none that seeks after God.” “They are all gone out of the way, they have together become unprofitable, there is none that does good, no, not one.” “Their throat is an open grave, with their tongues they have used deceit, the poison of asps is under their lips; whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness;” “their feet are swift to shed blood; destruction and misery are in their way, and the way of peace they did not know.” “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
(Rom 3:10-18)

Meditate on these verses throughout the day and ask yourselves the following questions:

  1. If no one understands spiritual matters or seeks after God, how can we be saved?
  2. If all man has become unprofitable (worthless) is there anything he can do of himself to become profitable (worthy)?
  3. Can you possibly believe that man is basically good with a few inherent flaws that cause him to make some ‘mistakes’ in life after reading this text?
  4. Do you agree with Paul’s assessment that man is corrupt in every part of his being; including the mind, will, emotions and spirit?
  5. Knowing the sorry state of man’s nature, how important do you think the ministry of the Holy Spirit is in leading us to Christ in repentance and faith?