Friday, June 7, 2013

June 2013

The Gospel. This is a term we throw around a lot in this church. But what do we actually mean by that term? You may have heard of phrases like "the gospel truth" or "the gospel according to (insert pop-culture referent here)." But what exactly does that word mean? What is "the Gospel?"

Gospel comes from the Greek term "evangelion" (where we get our modern term "evangelical" or "evangelism"). It means "good news" or "glad tidings." The Gospel, properly speaking, is the good news that God has sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to put on human flesh, suffer a bloody death, and rise again so that He might pay the penalty for our sins and reign over us as a gracious Lord. It is the announcement that Jesus has done this/or you. This work of God in Christ not only forgives our sins, but it also imparts to us all of God's gifts: everlasting life, freedom from the condemnation of the Law, freedom from sin, death, and the devil, peace with God, etc. The Gospel is the good news that God does all of this for you by His grace alone. He gives Christ and all of His benefits to us as a gift. Another way of saying this is that God gives us Christ's righteousness, or, justifies us. There is nothing you or I can, must, or will do to get it from Him. He does this solely and especially for sinners who do not deserve it. We simply receive it. We simply believe it. That is called faith.

But trusting in the Gospel is very hard for us to do. We cannot seem to be convinced that we are completely off of the hook for our justification. We are wired for Law. Law is the opposite of the Gospel. The Law says that you must do something to gain righteousness with God. You must do something to be forgiven and receive all of Christ's gifts. It seems so proper to us to think that, in order to get to heaven, I must be a good person, go to the right church, or be a productive citizen. All of these are good forms of righteousness in their own way, but when we begin to think that by doing these things we are gaining a place for ourselves before God, we are turning these forms of righteousness into the greatest of sins! Why? Because we are trusting them to justify us when justification is the work of Christ alone. Thus, we would be crediting our works for what alone belongs to God, namely, the gift of justification. We would be taking credit for earning what Christ has completely earned for us already. We would be committing the highest form of blasphemy by taking credit for something God has already done. To trust our works is to turn our works into idols. Trust belongs to Christ alone.

Yikes! This is some pretty heavy theology for a mere newsletter article. Well, I want to give you a head's-up. This summer we are going to be doing a sermon series on the book of Galatians where St. Paul is going to be showing us from every possible angle that Christ's work is sufficient to save us and that there is nothing we can, must, or will do to earn what He gives. I think this is critically important for us to have drilled into our heads. We can hear it every single Sunday, and yet, it doesn't make complete sense to us. The devil and the world are constantly trying to teach us otherwise. So, by taking an in depth look at the book of Galatians faith will be strengthened as we delve into the depths of this Good News: that Jesus Christ has done all that is necessary to save you and gives you His salvation as a free gift! A free gift! For you! Please start reading Galatians now and praying that the Holy Spirit would open you hearts and minds to trust this promise. And join us for our series for this summer of Gospel!

Pastor Bob

Faith Lutheran Church • 123 Park Lane • Moorpark, CA 93021 • (805) 532 1049 • Send Email