November 29, 2008

The Gospel in a Nutshell

If you read my blog here, you may often hear me refer to a thing called "the Gospel". For those of who that don't know, the word "gospel" simply means "good news" or "breaking news". It is truly the greatest news that anyone has ever heard. But what is this good news? And what does it have to do with you? That is what this page is about. My goal here is to explain the basics of the Gospel message in plain language. The Gospel goes much deeper than this and, as Christians, we will never move past it all our lives. Even so, here is the the Gospel in nutshell:

The place to start is with God. God is the Creator of all things; animals, plants, planets, supernovas, black holes, and even time itself. Without God there would be nothing. He was before everything and He rules over everything with His sovereign, or ruling, will. God is holy, meaning that He is set apart from His creation and above it. He is just, which means that God is the ultimate judge who will always do what is perfectly right. He is pure, and so He is without sin, in thought, intention, or action. He is the very definition of all that is right, true, good, and loving. All creation was made to give all glory and praise to this God, the one and only God. (Genesis 1-2; Psalm 145:17; Psalm 11:7; Isaiah 6:1-6; 45:18-21; Habakkuk 1:13, etc.)

Out of His own good pleasure, God created the world. He created every single plant, animal, rock, etc. But only one creature was created in His image: mankind. This means that God endowed certain characteristics in our very being that represent our Creator. We are like God in certain ways, but we are not God and will never be God. God created us to have perfect fellowship with Him, to live according to His holiness in the highest, purest forms of peace and joy. (Genesis 1:26-27; 2:5-9; 15-25)

However, all of mankind in Adam, the first man, broke God's law, and we continually break God's law to this day; lying, stealing, lusting, putting things before God in our lives, living pridefully, etc. We have rebelled against Him, we have sinned.  Because of this, death came into the world, as well as disease, frustration, strife, famine, hunger, pain, etc. Even worse than that, we are all born into a spiritual death. We are born into sin, and as such, under the rightful wrath of God. There is absolutely nothing that we can do in ourselves to remove this sin from us. We cannot spend enough money or time, do enough good deeds, speak enough good things or think enough good thoughts. Without some rescue outside of ourselves we are completely and utterly condemned. We have sinned against an INFINITELY holy God, and as such, we are destined to eternal, just punishment. (Genesis 2:16-17; 3:1-7; Matthew 15:19; Romans 3:10, 23;  Ephesians 2:1, 5)

"Wait, I thought this was supposed to be good news",  you're thinking. This is where Jesus Christ comes in. Jesus, who was in eternity past with God the Father, who is God and yet distinct from the Father and the Holy Spirit, at a time established before time, predicted by prophets throughout the ages, came into the world supernaturally as a human baby. Jesus, fully God and fully man, lived a perfect life, fulfilling every bit of the law of God. He then was crucified, not for crimes He had committed, but instead took our sins upon Himself, and bore our just penalty, giving us His perfect, undeserved righteousness. As 1 Corinthians 5:21 says, "God made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, so that, in Him, we might become the righteousness of God." (Matthew 1:21; John 1:1-3, 14, 29; 2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Peter 2:24; Galatians 3:13-14)

Of course, the question now is, "How does one receive this perfect righteousness?" Once again, there is nothing you can do to earn this, there is no amount of money you can pay. Instead, God offers His forgiveness through Christ as a free gift, no strings attached. You must simply repent of your sin and receive this gift in faith. To repent is to confess to God that you are in fact a sinner and turn from your evil ways. To place your faith in Christ is to trust Him no matter what and to believe in who He is and what He has done for you. (Mark 1:15; Acts 26:10; Romans 3:22; 2 Corinthians 7:10; Galatians 2:15)

If you have done this and placed your faith in Christ, one day you will be with Him in everlasting peace and joy. You will walk with Him and see God face to face. You will join with other believers in singing praises to His wonderful name. Eventually, the Earth will itself be redeemed and we (those who believe) will live together with God here. It will be beyond anything you could possibly imagine. (1 Corinthians 2:9 Revelation 7:9-12)

What to do next?
If this doesn't make any sense to you or you still aren't sure that you understand what I'm trying to say, I recommend a few resources:

1. First and most importantly, read the Bible. I would recommend either reading the book of John, or taking some of the verses I have referenced and reading them within the chapters that they are found.

2. Check out "The Great Invitation: Come! Drink! Eat! Live!, or any other sermon by John Piper.

3. Second, be sure to check out Greg Gilbert's book, What is the Gospel?

4. Also, feel free to contact me with any questions you may have by emailing me at

If you have accepted Christ, your next step is to get plugged in to a local church where you can grow and be encouraged in your faith. For this, you can go to the IX Marks website and do a church search.

Also, be sure to email me at so that I can rejoice with you and pray for you.

Soli Deo Gloria

November 27, 2008

The Tragic Exchange

Watching the Thanksgiving Day Parade today got me to thinking about why people are so easily infatuated with famous people and consumed with their lives. Why do so many feel the need to know all they can about a particular celebrity or rock star? Why do we seep ourselves in the lives of the rich and famous?

The answer, I believe, is quite simple. We are made to worship and it is our inner craving to do so. And, whether or not we consciously decide it, we will worship something. We will either worship the God who satisfies our desire and is worthy of all our praise; or we will end up like those mentioned in Romans 1:21-25:

"For although they knew God, they neither glorified Him as God nor gave thanks to Him... they became fools and exchanged the glory of God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles... They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator-who is forever praised. Amen."

Tragically, mankind has made a foolish exchange and given up He who is all-glorious, all-beautiful, and all-satisfying; and traded it for the tarnished, ugly image of ourselves or something within the creation instead of the Creator.

And though some won't admit it, we all worship something or someone. We all long to make much of someone, whether it's ourselves, or some superstar. But none of our longings will be fulfilled until we start making much of God and His work on the cross. Only then will we be satisfied.

So, this Thanksgiving, let's make much of God and give all thanks to Him.

Jesus: the God of Contrasts

God is a God of paradoxes. That means that sometimes it seems that He contradicts Himself, when in reality there is a greater truth being shown in these contradictions. Scottish pastor James Stewart put it this way:

"He was the meekest and lowliest of all the sons of men. Yet he spoke of coming on the clouds of heaven with the glory of God. He was so austere that evil spirits and demons cried out in terror at his coming, yet he was so genial and winsome and approachable, that the children loved to play with him and the little ones nestled in his arms. His presence at the innocent gaiety of a village wedding, was like the presence of sunshine. No one was half so kind or compassionate to sinners, yet no one ever spoke such red-hot scorching words about sin.

A bruised reed he would not break. His whole life was love. Yet on one occasion he demanded of the Pharisees, how they were expected to escape the damnation of hell.

He was a dreamer of dreams and a seer of visions, yet for sheer stark realism, he has all of us self-styled realists soundly beaten. He was the servant of all, washing the disciples' feet, yet masterfully he strode into the temple, and the hucksters and moneychangers fell over one another to get away in their mad rush from the fire they saw blazing in his eyes. He saved others, yet at the last, he himself did not save. There is nothing in history like the union of contrasts which confronts us in the gospels; the mystery of Jesus is the mystery of divine personality."

November 25, 2008

10 Things I'm Thankful for

1. God's wondrously undeserved grace in my life

2. A family that loves the Lord

3. A beautiful and godly girlfriend

4.A Church that's more like family than anything else

5.Friends that are counter-cultural

6. The mentoring of older men and women in the faith

7. Faithful preaching of the Word from men such as John Piper and my pastor, Mike Horner


9.Music and art

10.The change of seasons (it keeps me from getting bored)

November 14, 2008

My first post

Ok, so I'm new to the whole blogging world, at least this end of it. That being said, I am more than a little intimidated by the "professional" blogs.

However, I am so grateful that God has blessed us with this useful medium and I hope that He will allow me to use this to encourage other Christians and proclaim His name within the blogosphere.

I intend share my thoughts and experiences of what God is doing in my life for His glory and His alone. My uttermost confidence and faith is in Him and Him alone. All praise be His alone.

What I'm saying and what I will say will sound foolish to those who have never heard, but I promise you, the foolishness that is in Christ is the very wisdom that we all long for and we all need. I pray that you find that foolishness and join with me to become a fool for Christ.



© 2009Mind in Renewal | by TNB