Sunday, September 04, 2005

The Christian Message

Here I have decided to write, briefly, what I believe to be the sum of the Christian message. I am somewhat troubled by the way so many of us today portray our message as a plan that must be followed. While there is certainly some truth to this, as salvation does involve the response of man, I find in the pages of Scripture generally a different emphasis. I find that Scripture's emphasis is upon God, upon His Savior, and upon His plan. So, below is an attempt to summarize our message in my own words. If anything, it is a good exercise in trying to convey our grand message in simple, but accurate terms.

The Plan of Salvation

There is only one plan of salvation, and it is a plan that God has conceived, that God works, and that God finishes. God has purposed, in His infinite grace and wisdom, to save individuals, and every one of them shall be saved. They shall be a countless number, more than the stars in the sky. God the Father has chosen, the Son came to redeem, and the Spirit works now to bring these ones into union with the redeeming work of the Son and purify them into a holy people, a royal priesthood, zealous for good deeds.


The Message

The Holy Scriptures, which give us what God has revealed for us to know concerning Himself, concerning man, and concerning the gulf between man and God and what is done about it, comes to us bearing a message that consists principally of two parts.

The first part reveals to us the righteous majesty and holiness of God. It tells us that we, being God's creatures, owe to Him everything in pure holiness and righteousness, and that He requires of us absolute love and obedience to Him and love for fellow man. In so revealing this, this news does in fact shine a holy light upon our wickedness -both as fallen children of Adam, our first parent, and as individuals. It shows us how deplorably we fail, and even more, how terribly our hearts resist God and seek to suppress and pervert His glory for our own selfish ends. It leaves every man without recourse and holds us all accountable to God who will judge all in righteousness and render holy justice. In short, this part of Scripture, which runs throughout the whole of the Holy Writ, informs us that we are truly unrighteous, unable to remedy our situation or make God's favor to us fitting in any way, unable to atone for our sins, unable to make ourselves right with our Maker, and therefore stand justly under God's holy wrath, which He will swiftly execute at the end of the age. For "by works of the Law", that is, by our deeds and attempts at appeasing God by them, "no man shall be justified in His sight", no man shall stand accepted and embraced by God as righteous, "for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin." By His Law, His righteous requirements, rather than seeing how we may obtain life we see our sin and how worthy we are of death. (Rom 3:20)

The second part of the Scriptures, which some call the "good news", comes to us in a different manner of light. It lifts up those captive to the desperate plight revealed in the first part. It brings water for the thirsty. It tells us of a Savior, a Savior sent from God as a gift to unlovable, rebel sinners. It makes manifest righteousness (Rom 3:21), a righteousness which we do not have in ourselves but which God requires of us, which we know per the first part of the Scripture, but now gives. It is the righteousness which the Savior of sinners, Jesus Christ, has come into the world and wrought through His sinless life, His sin-atoning death, and His resurrection from the dead. This righteousness which came by and is in Christ Jesus is a free gift, so that everyone who abandons their hope in themselves and believes upon Jesus Christ, the Savior of sinners, the bringer of righteousness, and King of God's Kingdom, has salvation, pardon, forgiveness, and full acceptance before God from hence forward. (Acts 13:38-39)

And now to you, dear reader, I bring these two parts of Scripture to you and to your conscience -both together, not one without the other. I remind you that now is the day of salvation, for the day when the King returns to close the curtain of history approaches and will come like a thief in the night. Likewise, every one of our days our numbered, and we do not know the day when we shall pass from this life. Therefore, before it is time to enter into His Holy courts and try as you humanly might to give an answer for the litany of charges that hang over you, be reconciled now while there is time. God cannot lie, and His Word tells us that these things are so. When your head hits the pillow at night, consider that God is the Judge who will answer every evil deed, every evil thought, every evil word. Nothing shall remain hidden or passed by.

The righteousness which you and I so deplorably lack is found in Christ Jesus, the Divine Savior, the Son of God, the One who has been appointed Judge of the living and the dead. Give up on your filthy rags of righteousness. They shall never stand -not a single one. Believe on the Lord Jesus, the Bringer of grace and truth, and you shall be saved. There is salvation in no one else (Acts 4:12). Everyone who hungers, come and eat of this Bread, for everyone who feeds upon Him shall be saved. (Isaiah 55:1-2, John 6:35-37)

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