I haven't posted in quite some time. My mind is still on God's sovereignty, though. In particular, I've been focused on the Gospel.
What is the Gospel? The word is used many ways. I am thinking about Paul's use of the word in the New Testament.
"I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it s the power of God for the salvation for everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed , a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: 'The righteous will live by faith.'." -Romans 1:16-17 NIV
Paul tells us that the gospel is "the power of God for salvation." This tells me that the gospel is a message, but it is more! It is POWER! What does that mean? The gospel message is:
"that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures..." 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 NIV
So what about this message saves or has power to save? Think this through. Does the fact that Jesus died, was buried, and rose again automatically save a person? No. As Paul stated above, "it is the power of God for the salvation for everyone who believes." So what happens when a person believes? Here's what doesn't happen: a person does not make himself or herself righteous. The righteousness is FROM GOD. When a person believes the gospel, God does not count his sins against him. What happens to a person's sin? "God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." 2 Corinthians 5:21 NIV God performs an exchange. The Great Exchange! When YOU believe the gospel message, God treats YOU like you had never sinned, but had lived a perfectly righteous life! How can He do this? By His own righteousness. In this Great Exchange God treats the Lord Jesus Christ as if He had lived MY sinful life and punishes Jesus Christ for MY SIN!!! It's absolutely incredible! Jesus got MY punishment, but I get HIS reward! If God had NOT performed this on my behalf, I would be damned.
This is why this message is such great news! Romans 1:18 tells us that "the wrath of God is being revealed..." This should TERRIFY anyone who is not included in the Great Exchange I mentioned above! The gospel is the power of God to save everyone who believes from the WRATH OF GOD! "God is a righteous judge, a God who expresses his wrath every day." Psalm 7:11 NIV Oh thank God that He sent His son Jesus! The work of Jesus Christ (His perfect life, His death, His resurrection) on behalf of all who BELIEVE is truly Good News (which is what the actual word "gospel" means.) In 1 Thessalonians 1:10 we are told of the Thessalonians that they turned from their idols and learned to serve God "and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead--Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath." [By the way, I need to get back to my study in 1 Thessalonians!] Jesus saves us from God's coming wrath.
Friends, do everything you can to understand the GOSPEL! Let the gospel saturate everything about you: your thoughts, your work, your relationships, your every breath! "For it is the power of God for salvation..." Remember, God is all sovereign....