As I look around at this world, I see sin destroying everything. Our tempers, pride, and selfishness destroy relationships. Our lack of love, gentleness, and kindness destroy others. Our refusal to forgive destroys our own soul. Our drunkenness, sexual sin, deception, etc. destroy not only ourselves but countless others as well. We live in a world of broken marriages, families, churches, communities, and individuals, all broken by sin.
As we look at the visible church we see very little difference. The same brokenness and sin is there. Why is this so? Are we really proclaiming everything that Jesus taught? Is our Gospel biblical? Is there a link between what we preach and believe and how we live? Is there hope?
Half of the Gospel
It is entirely true that our sin merits the wrath of God. It is entirely true that we need to have our sins atoned for. It is entirely true that unless we are saved by the death of Jesus that we will spend an eternity in hell. All of this is true. However, it is only half of the truth. Jesus did not merely die. He rose again from the dead. The death of Christ for sinners is only half of the Gospel. Unfortunately it is the only half that is faithfully proclaimed.
Power to change
The book of Romans explains all of this. Paul begins in his introduction explaining how Christ’s resurrection was in accordance with holiness, and how His resurrection brought grace for obedience. He then in chapters 1-3 shows how God’s Law condemns us and show us our need for grace that comes in Jesus’ death. In chapter 4-5 he begins to develop the idea of faith in the resurrection and how this faith makes us righteous before God. In chapter 6 he gives a practical application of the resurrection to the Christian life: the resurrection gives us the power to change and live righteously.
We are dead to sin and alive to God
Central to Paul’s argument is the imagery of baptism. When we believe in the Gospel, our old man is crucified with Him. Who we were ceases to be. We normally stop here with the forgiveness of sins. However, Paul continues. When we believe in Jesus’ resurrection, we are filled with the Spirit of God and imparted a new nature. We are raised TO WALK IN NEWNESS OF LIFE. This identification with Christ’s death and resurrection is literally so that we will no longer serve sin. We are now new creatures in Christ. Sin no longer has control over us. A new power has been released within us by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Faith produces work
Jesus did not come to take the old me to heaven. He did not come to leave me here on this earth bound in sin and open heaven for me when I die. He came to destroy sin in my earthly body and deliver me from its power and presence. God’s grace teaches us to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts. It teaches us to live soberly, righteously, and godly IN THIS PRESENT WORLD (Titus 2:11-12.) True faith will produce works.
Will you believe in Jesus to change your life?
Will you believe in the power of the Resurrection and not give up on those in sin?
Who do you need to tell of Jesus’ death and resurrection?