Monday, April 2, 2012

Effective Good News

1 Corinthians 15:1-2 Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, 2by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain.

In today's blog we want to look at the Gospel's Living Message.  In other words, what specific elements of the Gospel make it the Living Message?

1. The Living Gospel speaks about the Living Effects of Salvation
When we speak of the Living effects of salvation, we refer to the particular graces flowing from the event of the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Two particular living effects are mentioned here in 1 Corinthians 15:1-2:

a. Persevering faith.  1 Corinthians 15:1 notes - Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand. That phrase "which also you stand" could also be translated "which also you have stood", meaning that what took place at the commitment of faith still has abiding, ongoing effects.  To "stand in one's faith" means to be continuously established, affirmed and reinforced by God.  Those who are in Christ by faith cannot ever lose their salvation nor will they ultimately want to leave the Savior and Lord who purchased them. (please compare 2 Timothy 1:12; John 10:27-29; Romans 5:2; 1 Peter 5:12; Jude 24-25)

b. Converting Faith.  1 Corinthians 15:2a tells us: "by which also you are saved".  The Divine Gifting of faith given by the Holy Spirit becomes a decision of the Human will.  The Living Gospel carries within it the inherent property of resurrection power, made possible by the event of the cross and resurrection, made transferrable by the living scriptures in their communication and made reality by the Holy Spirit's convicting work.  Persevering Faith is the fruit of this root of converting faith. (Please compare Ephesians 2:8-9; Romans 8:11, 10:8-10; Acts 16:31; Romans 5:9).

2. The Living Gospel delivers the living effect of Good News
When we speak of the Gospel, we are talking about "Good news".  The term "Good News" comes form a Greek word from whence we derive our English word "evangelism".  It came from the context of ancient warfare, when messengers would come with news to a city about the latest victory or casualties.  Whenever that runner would come through the city gates, officials and people would be waiting.  The first question asked of the messenger would be: "Do you have any "euangellion" (evangelism)? That is - "Do you have any good news"? 

The best news that a messenger could give was that "The war is over, we are now at peace".  Cheers would erupt, and the citizens would celebrate.  The Gospel in effect tells us that because of the accomplishment and resurrection of Jesus Christ, sinful man's war with God is over.  The war begun in the garden of Eden was effectively won at Calvary and demonstrated to had ended at the resurrection of Christ from the Garden Tomb.   When you receive such news as "Good News" by faith, you experience the freedom, forgiveness and life giving power of Jesus Christ.  Your own personal war with God is done. (Please compare Ephesians 2:1-10)

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