Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Evangelistic Summaries

Way better news than in here!
     A friend recently suffered the loss of a presumably unsaved family member, and he admirably sees this as motivation and an opportunity to share the gospel more faithfully and fervently.  I wanted to help, and came up with what I think are the 3 best texts that concisely, yet completely, explain what's so good about the Good News...

Gal 3:10-14:  Paul opens with how all who put their trust in themselves are under the Law, the Old Covenant which promises blessings for obedience and curses for failure.  The kickers are the words "continues" and "all";  the first word communicates a perpetual success in obedience and the second shows how comprehensive God's expectations are (every single one of God's commands).  Paul concludes that justification (God's declaring us innocent) must come another way, especially since the O.T. prophesies a righeous man who is reconciled to God ("shall live") by faith.  The 2 ways can't be mixed:  either we trust in God or we trust ourselves.  We can only trust Christ because He took our place (subsitutionary atonement) as accursed in God's court, and we can be included into God's family in Him.

Eph 2:1-10:  Paul (again! all these are him!) speaks to believers, reminding them about where they came from:  we were corpses spiritually and we proved it by our heinous acts and affiliation with Satan.  We were not victims of sin, but willing participants, relishing our rebellion and storing up God's wrath upon ourselves.  "But God..."  that's the only source of relief or hope;  God, while we were yet sinners, acted to rescue us, regenerating us to see Him in His mercy and restoring us in Christ to the position that Adam forfeited, back to His side seated with Jesus.  And this is only possible in the trust that God gives us, to cling to Him and renounce our self-sufficiency forever.

Rom 3:10-25:  This is the best of the 3;  it's called the "acropolis of the faith", an armed fortress that keeps and holds the essentials of the gospel.  We are universally condemned as law-breakers, Jews and Gentiles alike.  We are evil and wretched, and guilty before God.  God's Law is shown to be the light that shows us
all this, but because of Christ, there is a way apart from our own accomplishments that we can be saved:  the righteousness that Christ has and earned for us.  The word "propitiation" is an offering that satisfies the demands of justice (i.e. God's wrath);  Christ on the Cross explains how God could "pass over" the sins of those before Him (Noah, Abraham, David)... because God looked at the sure work of Christ as a guarantee and payment, allowing a perfectly just God to pardon perfectly wicked people.  This is a key distinction:  God must satisfy the demands of His justice to forgive;  if not, He is not the Judge of all the earth who always does right.

Photo courtesy of VermontJim

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