Let us continue.
Five, the gospel which he promised beforehand through his prophets. You have seen and heard this a million times and you will a million more. The gospel, that is, the good news of God, first explicitly preached by God himself while he walked the cool of the garden looking for his lost children. His children, Adam and Eve, our first parents, believed not God for his righteousness but believed Satan for our own self-righteousness. In the moment they disobeyed God in their hearts is the moment they began to died. In that dying, feelings like anxiety, fear, doubt, worry, trespass, shame, guilt, and sin overwhelmed them. Like all children of disobedience, they ran away, hid, and covered up with blame-shifting and self-righteousness.
But God, being rich in mercy, sought them both, and his precious saving grace fell upon them. While Satan twisted the promises of God directly to Eve while her husband looked on, God turns to Satan and delivers his judgment while Adam and Eve saw and heard:
I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.
And we know that Adam and Eve both heard and believe God’s counter-reality good news because God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them. In other words and stop me if this sounds familiar, God sacrificed a living animal and covered His children’s own wickedness, shame, and self-righteousness with something only He could have done.
And the prophets continues to beat that same drum with the same rhythm over and over again until God’s own son, Jesus Christ, who lived and sacrificed his own life so that we hear His good news, believe in Him and be covered with His own spotless clothes.
Six, God’s gospel, in the holy Scriptures concerning his Son, that is, Jesus Christ. Simply put, and this statement cannot be overemphasized, that the Scriptures are about Jesus Christ our Lord. You guys know what I am going to mention next:
Luke 24:25-27 And he said to them, O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory? And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.
To read the Bible in another context is a fool’s errand and doing so, will not give anybody life. If you go searching the Scriptures trying to find the one thing to save you and you don’t come back with the unequivical answer of Jesus Christ, go back and look again. Only this time, plead with the Holy Spirit of God to open your eyes so that you might see and open your mind so that you would understand and bathe in his glory and grace.
Seven, Jesus Christ, who was descended from David. Let me say something shocking: Jesus Christ was Jewish. He was Jewish as the day is long. And he was a double down Jew with a Jewish mom and an adopted Jewish dad, whom both were descended straight from David. So he was not only a descendant of David once over, but a descendant twice over. (Why? We will cover this in Luke 3. If you can’t wait for the spoiler, research: “Christ lineage of David blood curse Jeremiah”) Remember where you’ve read in the Bible where God doesn’t break his promises–like all of the Bible? Part of the Messianic promise is that our Savior would be Jewish.
Not Roman. Not Greek. Not American. Not whatever empire God allowed to be in power at the time. No, a born Jew.
A little baby boy out of a rural town in Israel (not unlike a place like Rosedale, OK). Not glorious in splendor. But dirt poor. Not wealthy king and queen but a dad who didn’t know what the heck and a teenage mom. Out of a people group who God called:
Deuteronomy 7:6-8 For you are a people holy to the Lord your God. The Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth. It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the Lord set his love on you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples, but it is because the Lord loves you and is keeping the oath that he swore to your fathers, that the Lord has brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.
Not the mightiest. But the tiniest nation. So that they (and by that, I mean, we) could never say, “Look at what we have done” but worship and praise the worthy God and sing, “Look at what He has done for us!”
Eight, Jesus Christ, according to the flesh. Now that’s an odd statement. Did Paul derail here? Not at all. We stated before that God is not restrained and restricted to his own creation including time and space. So there is nothing stopping God because God is above all.
Furthermore, God is not restricted and restrained by anything we have done–includes sin. Let me rant for a mere moment. We have to divorce this idea in our heads that God is not nearly as powerful because he lacks the ability to do certain things. Okay, God lacks to ability to sin and die. Our ability to sin and die does not trump and controls God in any ways. I know that might sounds like ridiculous but I just want to clear that up before moving on.
Now that said, the author of Hebrews sums up the sacrificial system of worship and the holiness of God in this way: Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.
Now, sin has been committed by mankind and it is only mankind that can atone for sin. But wait, we have all read Genesis, Exodus, Levitius, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, right? We know for a fact that the sacrifice for sin must be perfect, spotless, and without blemish. Not just on the outside and but on the inside. “But wait,” you might say, “we used to sacrifice bulls and goats and lambs, let us keep doing that.” Yet, the author of Hebrews goes on to say: For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.
The author goes on to quote Christ:
Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said,
“Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired,
but a body have you prepared for me; in burnt offerings and sin offerings you have taken no pleasure. Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come to do your will, O God, as it is written of me in the scroll of the book.’”
When he said above, “You have neither desired nor taken pleasure in sacrifices and offerings and burnt offerings and sin offerings” (these are offered according to the law), then he added, “Behold, I have come to do your will.” He does away with the first in order to establish the second. And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
Jesus Christ is the worthy Lamb who was slained. Jesus Christ, Son of God who is God, was the only one that could, able to, and willing to lay his life down for His friends.
Spoiler alert: Paul will go on to say this in Romans 5:
Romans 5:6-11 For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.
And again in Romans 8:1-4:
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
It was imperative that God would become flesh, man, human because only man can atone for his sins.
Nine, Jesus Christ was declared to be the Son of God. We need no other words but God the Father himself:
Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him. John would have prevented him, saying, I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me? But Jesus answered him, Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness. Then he consented. And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; and behold, a voice from heaven said, This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.
Paul further demonstrates this in 2 Corinthians 5:21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
Ten, Jesus Christ coming, lived, cared, ministered, crucified, rose, and ascended in power according to the Spirit of holiness. God has given Jesus His Spirit without measure so that Christ could utter the words of God (John 3:34].
Furthermore, Christ rose again only by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 8:11 If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.
Eleven, Christ’s resurrection from the dead and it is in this hope we were saved.
2 Corinthians 15:12-19Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.
But we are not pitied. Not pitied but because of our hope in the risen Lord, we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; (2 Corinthians 4:8-9)
There is much in this world that is not simple either/or or black and white. There are nuances in politics, relationships, philosophies, and culture that are filled in with many shades of grey between one side to the other. But when it comes to believing and obeying Christ as our Lord, King, God, and Savior, there is only two ways.
Christ said it himself:
Matthew 7:13-14 Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.
And then Paul expounds upon Christ in Romans 8. Let me pull together passages quoted thus far because it bares repeating:
Romans 8:1-11 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.
Just as Joshua asked and declared the people of Israel, Jesus Christ our Lord is asking each of us this one thing:
“Choose this day whom you will serve." The gods that we have made up in our minds that we server with our hearts that will only lead us to death and destruction or to the Living and Everlasting God who is only life, the fullness of joy and pleasures forevermore.
Choose this day.