Let’s Start with the Bad News
This blog exists because of some very bad news: you and I are sinners, corrupt in nature, and condemned before a holy God (Romans 5:18-19). On top of that, we are unable to work our way out of His disfavour to gain His approval.
In our sinful state, we are unable to do anything to obtain the favour of God. All the good works of the natural man are devoid of redemptive power, because they proceed from selfish motives. Even the good deeds of a born again person are without redemptive ability – they can never bridge the gap created by sin.
So, what we need is good news, something (or Someone) to cancel and remedy this bad news.
What is the Good News?
In this blog, we examine the word of God through the lens of the gospel (good news) of Jesus Christ – the Divine Word who became man and gave his life for us, so that through faith in His Person and trusting His finished work of atonement, we may become sons of God through the blood He shed for us. Through it we have forgiveness of our sins, acceptance with the Father and the hope of eternal life. (Ephesians 1:3-14)
Salvation is of the Lord (Ephesians 2:8, 9):
- It is by grace (that refers to the sovereign work of God, but also means a free gift!).
- It is through faith (through is like a channel, or a pipe whereby we receive the grace of God. We must repent and believe the gospel, recognizing that even these are gifts from above).
- It is not by works, lest anyone should boast (there is no way that we can earn salvation, it is the free gift of God).
The salvation of mankind is performed by the cooperative work of the members of the Godhead:
- The Father plans this great work, chooses his own, and sends the Son into the world for their redemption. (John 3:16, 17:1-18)
- The Son redeems the ones the Father has given to him, through His righteous life and substitutionary death on the cross. Through His blood we are justified (our condemnation is removed), we are saved from wrath, and complete atonement is provided for our sins. Through the victory of His resurrection from the dead, He offers us new life, and ever lives to make intercession for us. He has promised to return soon, so that His people will be with him forever. (Romans 5:6-11; Hebrews 7:25, John 14:1-3)
- The Holy Spirit is sent by the Father and Son into the hearts of believers to regenerate them (give them new birth) and sanctify them (help them to live holy lives), applying the benefits of Christ’s work in their hearts. (John 3:5, 2 Thessalonians 2:12-14)
Once we are saved, we need to know our identity in Christ. We are complete in him.
For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power. Colossians 2:9-10
Jesus is not an idol that we can put on the mantle of our heart with our other gods. Either he will be all to us, or he can do nothing for us. He is not only necessary for salvation, he is exclusively sufficient for salvation. The gospel is not “Jesus AND”, but “Jesus ONLY”.
Christ is all, and in all. Colossians 3:11
We must leave all others behind for the Pearl of great price. I have tried to communicate this in the header image; leaving behind other “crosses” we must cling to the one cross.
“Nothing in my hand I bring, Simply to thy cross I cling.”
What About Good Works?
Jesus has done all that is necessary in order for us to be reconciled with God. Ceremonial regulations, church membership, acts of mercy, tears of repentance can never add to His completed work.
But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.This is a faithful saying, and these things I want you to affirm constantly, that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable to men. (Titus 3:4-8 NKJV)
Good works are “good and profitable to men”, yet as imperfect offerings, we must never confuse them with the perfect Offering, or put any trust in our good deeds or behaviour to gain God’s favour. “Works of righteousness” are not the way to God, but that “being justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”
Those who have been saved by grace will “be careful to maintain good works”. They will live holy lives by virtue of the “washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit”, which cleanses them from sin, and enables them to do works that are truly pleasing to their Heavenly Father.