Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. John 15:13
I believe the GOSPEL (Good news) absolutely includes the obvious…. our need for Jesus Christ, realizing He is the only way to reconciliation with the Father, and believing (turning to Him alone for the answer).
Knowing that our works are no good in His sight, (Is 64:6) we are indeed in need of a Savior. We need to place our trust in Jesus Christ and what HE did, it is a free gift that cannot be earned by any work (Eph 2:8-9).
‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’
We are shown throughout His Word, that what we need to believe is what He has done to save us from the penalty of sin (eternal death-God’s wrath) and to reconcile us with the Father. (Mark 10:45; Luke 19:10; John 3:36, John 3:16-17, John 5:24, John 6:28-29,40,46; Mark 2:5, Is 1:18; John 11:25; Acts 16:31; Rom 1:16-17; Rom 3:22-23; Gal 3:26; Rom 10:10-13)
There is a story of a Pharisee in Luke 18, who was praying in the square, thought he was pretty darn good. Notice how he compared himself and his works to others and looked down his nose at the poor sinner, the publican… In contrast, the Publican, recognized who God was, went to Him in prayer. He knew humbly who he was (a sinner) and asked God to show him mercy. He was justified…
Some will teach repentance means to turn from your sins, (I don’t believe anyone is saying this is not a good thing, HOWEVER we realize that we need Jesus Christ and His forgiveness, His mercy and His Word, exactly for that reason…we cannot do it ourselves).
Actually He did…many times in Scripture. But we know very well that he wasn’t turning from sin.
So when people say repenting is “to be really sorry“, or “to really submit“? To “turn from your sins“? To “stop sinning“? To “surrender all“? I think we must take a closer look.
See even what the saved apostle Paul had to say:
For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. Rom 7:15 (see the rest of the chapter)
Some teach it means to stop sinning, (see again Rom 7 for the answer).
How is it possible to turn from sin, when we are yet a sinner, the ungodly, without strength? (Rom 5:6-8)
By the way, find a Scripture in the New Covenant that says to “turn from sin” in order to be saved. Yes, that is what will happen one glorious day we will be without sin, but not while we still have evil present in our flesh. We should abide in His Word, and also Jesus Christ (the Vine) so that we might bear fruit. (John 15, I John 2:14)
The Holy Spirit convicts the world of sin. But we need to preach to people that they are a sinner (as if any do not know yet), and the good news that Christ died in their place, once for all.
“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life. John 5:24
What are the two greatest commandments? Have they loved God with all of their heart, mind, soul and strength? Have they loved others as themselves? All of us have sinned (most people know they do not love God with everything). Most do not even give God more than a few of their thoughts if that. And mankind is selfish, they think of themselves certainly before they think of others. If they do not recognize this, then we can speak on whether they have lied, stolen, cheated, looked on another with lust, etc. We have all sinned and fallen short of His glory, and all sin is against God (Rom 3:23; Psalm 51).
Who will save you? Your priest? Yourself? Your church?
We have to pray that they will see they are sinners, the law convicts us all of sin. Sin which is not forgiven by God alone, will cause ALL death (Rom 6:23) for all eternity. God is not only Holy, but a Righteous Judge. Sin will be judged, it must be in order for God to be righteous.
And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. Heb 9:27-28
Which will it be for you? Christ in your place, or will you take your chances?
The penalty will be death for all those who have rejected Christ’s righteousness and trust in their own way instead (Rom 10:3-4). They will be cast into hell for all eternity separated from anything that was ever good, no more free will, no more second chances, nothing but sorrow, tears, darkness, pain…. I cannot even imagine. How sobering that should be for those of us who know. To my shame, I haven’t at all been cognizant of that as much as I should. Life is so short, and we are not promised tomorrow.
Any sin is rebellion against the Creator of the heavens and the earth.
Sometimes people are so dead in their sins, they have no strength to do anything for themselves. He knows we are but “dust”…He remembers…He tells us to turn to Him in belief. Jesus is compassionate, He had compassion on the crowds, and wept over Jerusalem’s rejection of Him (Matt 23:37-38). He desires that none should perish (2 Pet 3:9) and takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked (Eze 33:11).
It’s not about what we can do for God, but it is all about receiving what Jesus Christ did in love for all mankind, the whole world, on the cross. And how He rose again, showing us He had victory over death, and over the sting of death. And if we believe in Him, we too are overcomers….(I John 5:4-5)
For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?
We need Him to help us in all things, especially in giving us power over sin (which happens when only when we come to Him that we might have life, not before). And this (sanctification) happens in varying degrees. So let’s point people to the place and person by which they are sanctified and cleansed. (Jesus and His Word) His gospel opens our eyes, in order to turn us from darkness to light, from the power of Satan to God, so that we may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Jesus Christ (Acts 26:18-19 pp). Since we are washed in the water by the Word, we need to encourage others daily with His Word.
When we believe…
We understand we are sinners deserving of death, with no strength of our own to do anything, our faith is in Jesus the Messiah who is God.
For when we were yet WITHOUT STRENGTH, in due time Christ died for the UNGODLY. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. Rom 5:6-9
Jesus says what we must do, the good news is to believe…
- ON Him AS our Savior,
- ON who He says He is (Messiah and God both),
- and ON what He did (died and rose again – I Cor 15).
I threw myself upon the Rock, I had no strength. When we receive Him, HE gives us the power to become the sons of God. (John 1:12) Jesus IS already Lord over all, (God) both of the living and the dead, (Rom 14) the saved and unsaved, they will all bow their knee and declare that He is Lord. (Rom 14:11)
For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Rom 10:11-13
Faith comes by hearing the Word of God…
The very best thing we can do is preach the Word vs. any man/woman’s thoughts/words/interpretations, because we know that faith comes by hearing the Word, so we need desperately to preach it so they can “hear the Word of God” and come to faith and be supplied fully with everything they need. (Romans 10:14-17)(2 Tim 3:15-17)
People, after they come to know the Lord, need to be encouraged in His Word for many reasons, but the most important I can think of, is that Jesus said it was the one thing that we needful, the better part, that would not be taken from us. (Luke 10:38-42)
We come to know the One who gave His life for us through His Word. In knowing that goodness, and forbearance and longsuffering (patience) we are led to repentance. (Rom 10:17; 2:4)
We need the Word! The unsaved need the good news.
The saved need the Word in order to help with sin, (hide it in our hearts, Ps 119:11). His Word cleanses, washes, sanctifies us. (Ps 119:9; Eph 5:26; John 17:17) Lights up our path. (Ps 119:105) Gives us wisdom, understanding, discernment, knowledge, fear of the Lord…(Pr 2:1-5)
How many quotes of man will do the same?
How lasting is any man’s quote?
Whose Word endures forever?
The Publican KNEW he was a sinner…. I believe if you think you are good you are probably in the worse possible place…(none are good (Ps 14:3, Ps 53:3; Rom 3:12), you just cannot recognize your need for a Savior. We need to first know we are sinners, then the penalty for our sins, and preach the remedy, which is the good news (gospel), TRUSTING in what God’s Word says, that it is the “power of God unto salvation”.
Whoever doesn’t believe in Jesus is condemned already…
Repent-Turn-Change your mind!
The publicans and harlots believed (Matt 21), but the Pharisees, even though they had seen all these things, did not believe on Him.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. John 3:16-18
We also see the son that “repented” in that same chapter was the one who said he would not go work in the field, but “repented” and went (he changed his mind).
We cannot define for another person what kind of repentance is necessary for them to believe, they have to face their Maker.
PREACH THE GOSPEL, (again, the foolish message it pleases God to save people by.)
We see sorrow in some, we see opened eyes in others, we see a change of mind, we might not “see” anything, but we are not their judge, if they say they BELIEVE. Point them to the Word. Ask them WHAT they believe. The Word shows what is necessary; repentance-a change of mind about who you are, and who He is and what He did. I believe the Word shows us this is hand in hand with belief. Otherwise, when Jesus said, REPENT OR LIKEWISE PERISH (then belief was left out, or was it?)
Are these two different things or part of the one act of turning to God in belief?
Oftentimes, some bring up the passages in James 2 about the demons believing too and trembling…Well, remember what they were believing. In One God. He is real. They were not believing in His Work on the cross for the salvation, His resurrection proving He was Messiah, nor were they claiming Him as Messiah. The non believing Jews also believe in one God. But they do NOT believe on JESUS CHRIST as GOD, the MESSIAH. Muslims as well, say they believe in one god,
BUT, who do you say Jesus is??? See the answers from the Word. (Matt 16:15; Mark 8:29; Luke 9:20) THE MESSIAH! Sent from God. The Son of God. The One who has the words of eternal life….
Thomas said when he believed, “My Lord and my God”…
So beautiful is the meaning of kyrios (Lord) here in this verse in John 20:28. A title that is given that means: God, the Messiah…
So recognize (believe) WHO He is, and WHAT He did… and BELIEVE on Him for your salvation…
Then they said to Him, “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?” Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.” John 6:28-29
1. Isaiah 43:10, 11-The LORD, Jehovah, says, “. . . before Me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after Me.” The LORD, Jehovah, says, “. . . beside Me there is no Saviour.” (See Isa. 44:6, 8; Deut. 4:39.)
Therefore, if Christ is God in any way, if Christ is the Saviour in any way, then according to the LORD God Jehovah, Christ is GOD.
Luke 2: 11 says, “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.”
Since Christ is the Saviour, then Christ is GOD.
2. Isaiah 42:8-”I am the LORD: that is My Name: and My glory will I not give to another….”
Only Jehovah God is the LORD of glory. If Christ is the Lord of glory, then He must be Jehovah God.
I Cor. 2:8 says the crucified Christ is the “Lord of glory.”
Since Christ is the Lord of glory, then Christ is God.
3. Zechariah 12:1-10-The LORD, Jehovah, says, “ . . . and they shall look upon Me whom they have pierced….”
When was the Lord, Jehovah, pierced?
“But when they came to Jesus, and saw that He was dead already, they brake not His legs: But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced His side, and forthwith came there out blood and water. And he that saw it bare record, and his record is true: and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye might believe. For these things were done, that the Scripture should be fulfilled, A bone of Him shall not be broken, and again another Scripture saith, They shall look on Him whom they pierced” (John 19:33-37).
Since Christ was pierced, and Jehovah God said He would be pierced, then Christ is God.
4. Isaiah 7:14-”Therefore the Lord Himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call His Name Immanuel.”
Read Matt. 1:18-25. Notice in v. 18, the child was “OF the Holy Ghost . . .” and Mary was with child
“BEFORE they (Mary and Joseph) came together.” Again, in v. 20 the angel of the Lord confirms the child is “OF the Holy Ghost.” In v. 21 the child shall be named JESUS because He shall save His people from their sins. The very name Jesus means “God who saves,” etc. And in vv. 22, 23, we learn that “all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken OF THE LORD by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call His Name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, GOD WITH US.”
So God Himself says the child Jesus is actually GOD HIMSELF dwelling with man. This is again clearly confirmed in John 1:1-14. “The Word was God . . . And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us….”
5. Mark 2:5 records that Jesus forgave people’s sins. The scribes heard Christ doing this and said (v. 7),
“Why doth this man thus speak blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but GOD ONLY?” They failed to realize that Christ wasn’t doing anything blasphemous at all. HE WAS GOD!
6. Luke 1:68 records at the time of the birth of Christ, “Blessed be the LORD GOD of Israel; for He hath visited and redeemed His people.”
7. Luke 8:39-Christ had just cast out demons and told the person, “Return to thine own house and shew how great things GOD hath done unto thee. And he went his way, and published throughout the whole city how great things JESUS had done unto him.”
This is not a contradiction. Christ did it and said God did it. Christ told the man to say God did it and the man said Christ did it. It is not a contradiction because Christ is GOD.