What does the Gospel mean to you? I’ve been thinking about this all week in preparation for a meeting this Sunday. To me, it boils down to Religion vs Relationship. It’s the difference between ceremony and connection, liturgy and linkage, ritual and relationship. For Religion is mostly man-made, piling on the things we can’t do…while a Relationship with Jesus Christ is about freedom. It’s about freedom from sin and death and freedom from the Law we can never keep. But the biggest difference between Religion and Relationship is this…Religion can’t save you. Only Jesus Christ who lived a perfectly sinless life has the ability to bring you into His glorious Kingdom and eternal life…it’s only through Jesus that you can make your way back to God.
God has the power to punish mankind…yet He refrains from doing so. Romans 2:4 tells us it’s the riches of His kindness, tolerance, and patience that stops Him from giving us what we deserve…quite simply, Hell and eternal separation from Him. His mercy and long-suffering are blessings we need to consider and seriously think about then, for God’s patience can last only so long…and sooner or later His judgement will come.
You are not reading this by chance. God has brought you to this page for a reason. And that reason is the Resurrection. For all of us will made a decision concerning it…all of us will respond either that we believe Christ was raised from the dead, or not. So where do you stand today? Do you have the hope of eternal life through Christ Jesus…or are you still living in worldly denial? This Easter, realize it was only because of God’s great mercy that He offers to you the undeserved kindness of salvation through His Son, Jesus Christ. Fix your hope on Jesus today…ask Him into your heart and be born again.
Discipleship is so much more than just spitting out information to a unsaved friend. It involves becoming a mentor for the long-haul and modeling your values and beliefs in order to help shape the character of this person. For the Great Commission is more about relationships than rhetoric. It’s more about building a bond of mutual enjoyment between teacher and student…that the student may see the love of Jesus and desire Him in their life also.
When children are little and they disobey out of ignorance…there’s some wiggle room for correction. Usually, just enlightening them with clear instructions will alleviate further problems. But when there’s willful disobedience on their part…that’s when a serious discussion of the consequences of their wrongdoing is in order. Our Heavenly Father desires us to be obedient children…not only because He commands it but for our eternal benefit. For Proverbs 11:18 says, “He who sows righteousness reaps a sure reward.” When we pursue doing the right thing, we not only receive the gift of salvation, but we are showered with God’s infinite grace and mercy.
Something happens to us as we learn to trust the Lord. Our reliance on our-self diminishes as our dependence on Him increases. Our old self, with all its baggage, slowly falls away as we learn to trust and have confidence in Him and His plan for our life. And as we’re changed from the inside out, true joy, happiness, and hope fill us to overflowing…and we too can then join in this song of praise from Moses and Miriam.
Psalm 146:3 puts it another way, “Don’t put your trust in mortal men who cannot save.” Anytime we put more confidence in another human being rather than God…we’re headed for trouble. For no matter how powerful, charismatic, or appealing someone is…they’re still a mortal being…full of a fallen nature just like us. So we need to be very careful not to get sucked into worshiping man… and not God. For no man can offer us deliverance from sin and eternal salvation. Only God can do that through His Son Jesus Christ.