Lesson 9 -- second quarter 2005
May 1, 2005
© Copyright 2005, Christian Light Publications
Probing Your Own Heart
Has Jesus delivered you from this present evil world?
Are you maintaining a firm attachment to Him and His Gospel?
Building on Some Foundational Concepts
Jesus is the only atonement for sin.
No degree nor amount of sacrificial, self-denying living will deliver anyone from sin nor accomplish forgiveness and cleansing. Neither will presenting animal sacrifices, human sacrifices, or food offerings. No kind of penance, pilgrimage, or rote repetition will take care of sin's contamination and guilt. Neither will belonging to any community of faith, even if it is the right one. Only Jesus is the only way to experience atonement for sin and communion with God. In our day, many people flinch from and are embarrassed by such narrowness, but don't be "ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek" (Romans 1:16).
To pervert the Gospel is to abandon Jesus.
In their efforts to gain a following, magnify their name, and acquire a fortune, many men and women today modify the Gospel of Jesus. Others do so in their zeal to maintain a pure church or to keep "their" people in "their" church. Make no mistake, though: Without regard to the motivation or the modification, any perversion of the Gospel means to be "removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ" (Galatians 1:6).
No matter who presents a different gospel, reject it.
Even if a spirit apparition offers you some alternative to some aspect of the Gospel, reject it. Even if a trusted leader in the church offers it, don't accept it. Don't ever be distracted from the Gospel, no matter who it is or how well-meaning they may be or how faithful and right they have been (in the past or in other areas).
Questions and Responses
So all I have to do is believe in Jesus?
Faith in Jesus is the only way to be saved. He is the only way to God. But Jesus as Savior and Redeemer is not the full extent and message of the Gospel! The Gospel also presents (and requires) Jesus as Lord. The Gospel is also about communion with and living for God. If the Gospel were only about believing, well.... "Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble" (James 2:19).
But what about works?
It seems the majority of Christians today flinch from requiring works in the life of the believer. They declare that such an approach to Christianity is asserting the insufficiency of the grace of Jesus. What do the Scriptures say?
"For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them" (Ephesians 2:10).
"And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness" (Ephesians 4:24).
"Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven" (Matthew 5:16).
"And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work" (2 Corinthians 9:8).
"Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone" (James 2:17).
And don't miss Scriptures such as Philippians 2:13; Colossians 1:10; 2 Timothy 3:16,17; Titus 2:13,14; and Hebrews 13:20,21.
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