THE GOSPEL

It was first in the beautiful garden of Eden that God first gave the promise of redemption from sin. The seed of the woman shall bruise the head of the serpent. Another reminder is seen in the wilderness when the children of Israel despised and rejected God’s provision for them, the result was an attack of fiery serpents and many of them died. God’s provision of mercy was a snake hanging on a standard, whoever looked on it was healed. God did not save them because they deserved it, he saved them out of mercy. The serpent hanging on the standard in the wilderness was a representation of sin crucified, whoever believed in God’s mercy was made whole.

The word Gospel appears 99 times in the entire bible. It means Good News, Glad tidings. The gospel is usually associated with the birth, death and resurrection of Christ and it is indeed through his birth, death and resurrection we have the gospel. But I think it is possible to fall into the danger of emphasizing the birth, death and resurrection of Christ without emphasizing what it means. It is indeed a miracle for God to become man, to subject himself to the ridicule of mankind and death and to resurrect again, but it is all a means to an end. While this means in itself is important and valid, the end is the good news – to you and me.

It is a good thing when a child is born. It is a reason for rejoicing and celebrating. I spent a month in the obstetrics and gynaecology unit in the hospital (where I intern as a pharmacist) and witnessed the joy of a child being born. In celebrating the birth of a child, the women go around dancing and pouring white powder on the hands of as many people they want to share their joy with. It’s a traditional way of celebrating (in Esan culture), and it’s heart-warming to watch. I also watched the anger, sadness and frustration of family members, friends and relatives when a baby dies or the mother dies after childbirth. It’s not an easy thing to comfort them. But think of how much joy the mother or father of that baby would have if that child comes back to life beyond reasonable doubt that the child was dead in the first place. So yes, the resurrection of Christ is indeed a cause for joy among his friends, family and relatives, and disciples. But we do not only rejoice in the fact that a person who was once dead is now alive, but in what his death and his life mean to us. At this point, it is paramount for me to state like Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:19, if Christ did not rise from the dead (and then into glory) then we are indeed the most miserable of all men. It would be a great tragedy to our faith. It would mean that all Christ did (or in this case, tried to do) was vain.

The word gospel is first mentioned in Matthew 4:23 and I love the context in which it was used.

“And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and PREACHING THE GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people.”

It was so important to Jesus that while sharing the good news of God’s kingdom he went about healing them also. There’s no greater way to assure a person that God loves them and has come to them than to give them a miracle from God. The miracles were like gifts from God to these people announcing God’s kingdom to them. The gospel wasn’t just about a Man-God who died and was resurrected, it is largely about the people he died for. The gospel is about the meaning of his death and resurrection to these people. Why die?

This gospel is about the much-needed redemption of man to God. How can we call the LORD’S name when we are sinners? The gospel (good news) is that God has not come to condemn the world but to save it. In the times of Noah he judged the world of its wickedness, the sentence was the flood, sparing only those who believed Noah’s 120 years warning (Genesis 6:3). Sodom and Gomorrah he judged with fire because they still would not repent. God had endured their sins to the point that only Lot and his family were counted righteous in the entire region. Now he offers forgiveness by paying the price of sin through his death. For a long time, men have struggled to live up to God’s expectation to live righteously but have fallen short each time. God gave the laws so men would understand what they were doing wrong but it didn’t make them better. We adopted the laws, made them constitutions and yet our prisons are filled up! We’ve passed death sentences on crimes and yet there are still people committing these crimes, the law only made us realise where we stand as a race before God, it did not produce morality to live by God’s standard. So God died.

God died to say we have been forgiven. God died to say that our struggle with sin is over! God died to say in a very real romantic way, “I’d rather die than punish them for their sins. I’d rather take their place on the stakes.” Like David, you might be trying to convince God that you were conceived in sin, and you cannot do without sin more than a fish can live without water. But this is the good news, you have been forgiven, justified and transformed. “…but as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God.” Jesus hanged on the cross, becoming sin, the serpent, that those who put their trust in him, not in themselves, not in therapy, not in pastors or churches, not in how loud their amen can be or in how high their hands can be lifted to heaven, NOT in how holy they try to be but in their faith in his ability to make them what they are not, these are the ones who receive such grace.

While everyone around you (including your conscience) condemns you as worthy of death, God judges you worthy of forgiveness, healing, love, deliverance and restoration. While you may have been many things God hate, God wants you to, in Jesus’ words, “…be of good cheer! Your sins are forgiven.” While his birth represented the hope of deliverance from sin and afflictions, his death was the price for our redemption. For God had made him who knew no sin to be sin for our sake. Just as the innocent lambs in those days carried all the blames of sin on behalf of the guilty, God made Christ our sacrifice of sin so that we may be righteous.

Maybe you still feel trapped in sin and undeserving of God’s forgiveness. Maybe you feel like you have done too much for God to forgive but guess what the books in the Bible called “the gospels” show us, that even before Christ got to the cross he had already begun forgiving sins! And when he was resurrected he showed them his boundless love.

  • Peter who denied his friend and Lord three times was one of the first people Jesus wanted to see after he was resurrected. In Mark 16:7 the Angel had to be specific, “…tell his disciples and Peter”. What other expression of forgiveness could there have been?
  • Paul who had beaten and killed so many people in the name of God finally realises that he had been wrong all that time. He was forgiven immediately even after all the children he had made fatherless.
  • The Samaritan woman had been with 5 men and was with the 6th who was not even her husband. But Jesus did not condemn her, instead showed her he was the Messiah she was hoping to come. He did not even have to tell her she was forgiven, talking with her was enough to say so. When no Jew would have spoken to a Samaritan let alone a promiscuous one, Christ did.
  • The woman accused of adultery wasn’t asked why she did it, she was forgiven without hesitation. He accused her accusers and set her free from her guilt of sin.
  • Zacchaeus who had enriched himself by inflicting heavy taxes on the people was forgiven wonderfully. Jesus invited himself to his house to eat, a plain message of forgiveness!
  • He prayed for forgiveness for the soldiers and people who killed him.
  • And when he had a valid reason to curse the world and the thief on the cross, he welcomed the one who dared to ask assuring him of Paradise. And that’s all we have to do, ask!

Could a God like this think you have done too much to forgive? No. This is the gospel we preach. But it is not enough to know that you have been forgiven, the gospel does not end with forgiveness. When we began I stated that if Christ did not rise from the dead then we are of all men most miserable and destitute. Why? Because his death is the price for our forgiveness. So he died, we are forgiven but what next? What if we sin again? Good news, that is why he arose, not just to assure you of forgiveness but for transformation. This is the complete good news, that a person who was once a sinner is now a Saint, and in deeds! Imagine the life of Paul, who had become a hard man to be able to take other people’s lives. He died a compassionate man, a man who would rather accept God’s eternal damnation than not persuade another person to accept God’s forgiveness. That is transformation and it is what we must expect when we come to Christ, that is the proof of our faith.

“Therefore since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast to our confession. For we do not have a high priest incapable of sympathizing with our weaknesses, but one who has been tempted in every way just as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and find grace whenever we need help.” Hebrews 4:14-16 NET.

This scripture means a lot to me. The entire book of Hebrews teaches and explains how Christ is the sacrifice for our sins. God is not asking you to beg, Esau begged to gain his right back and sought it with great tears but he didn’t get it back. God is asking you to come boldly and unafraid to receive mercy and find grace when you need help – that’s why God gives his Spirit freely. The Spirit of help, comfort, guidance. Many people try to make us believe that God created the world and abandoned us to fend for ourselves, but that’s not true. He gives his Spirit freely to anyone who needs help!

Let me say this clearly to someone who needs to see this. God is not punishing you with sickness because of something you did. God is offering you forgiveness, how can he be punishing you at the same time? He wants to heal you, how do I know? That’s exactly what God’s kingdom is about! He goes about doing good. All you have to do is receive it and claim it for yourself. Say it till you believe it. Say it till you see it, faith isn’t wishful thinking, it isn’t hopeless wishing, faith is proof.

After God raised Christ back to life, it was a sign to us that we have received new lives also. Not only have our sins (past, present and future) been taken care of but he has given us the Spirit of His nature. Now we call ourselves “sons of God.” The one thing about the Christian faith you have to understand is this, it is the proof. While you may not look like what Christ says about you, you are every bit it. And the only way to see the proof of it is to hold on to what you have believed Christ has said concerning you. The gospel is such a simple thing but so hard for so many people to accept. Your struggling to be righteous does not make you righteous, you are righteous because you have been made righteous. When you believe it you’ll take flight and act righteously breaking the chain of sin around you. This is the same with every blessing we have in Christ. It is God who works in you not death.

“And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.” Hebrews 9:27-28 NET.

One more thing you should take note of is this; the difference between every person who was considered righteous and those who weren’t was how close they were to God. Enoch, Noah, Abraham, it was said of them, not only did they believe in God, but they walked closely with God. To prove what God says about you, you have to first learn about him and what he has said.

Let me briefly share a testimony with you. When God told me of all Acts of God Publications is going to be many years from now and how it must be about making him (the real him) known to the world, I was at first reluctant. I told God, “I don’t even know you so well, how can I just begin to tell people about you?” He made me understand that if he was asking me to teach people about him, then it was because he was going to be teaching me about him a lot. Every day I see a part of God I’ve never really known, I see how we have made idols in our minds and called them God, and how we have misunderstood who God is and what he wants to be to us. Dear friend, we walk by faith and not by sight.

God’s method of empowering us is through the gospel (by telling us what we have now become). The Good news of God’s grace is not only that you have been forgiven but you have been empowered to do good works, and live in joy, peace, love, good health, prosperity and everything good.

One Comment Add yours

  1. Sandra says:

    Thank you Sir. I love every word.

    Liked by 2 people

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