We are saved by God’s grace through the free gift of faith — not by our works — so that we might live repentant, God-conscious lives of good works for the glory of God and the benefit of all people everywhere!
The above statement is the good news of the gospel of God’s grace in one sentence. Please memorize it if you wish. But more importantly, receive its message for yourself and others. Know it. Rest in it. Live it.
The good news is that salvation is already accomplished by God’s free grace and by God’s universal, sacrificial, all-encompassing love! This is the gospel message upon which we stand. HERE WE STAND.
Salvation is a done deal for all:
“Christ Jesus entered once for all into the Holy Place, not with the blood of goats and calves, but with his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption” (Hebrews 9:12).
“And it is by God’s will that we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all” (Hebrews 10:10).
“For Christ also suffered for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, in order to bring you to God” (1 Peter 3:18).
We don’t have to be concerned with “making it into heaven.” It is accomplished. “It is finished” as Jesus said on the cross.
All that is left is how we live in RESPONSE to this truth within our lives and world, here and now. Salvation is already accomplished, so now the task is living in and living out this reality through daily lives of compassion, charity, service, mercy and justice.
Because salvation is a done deal for all by God’s grace as a free gift, and because God our Father loves and embraces each of us as his unique sons and daughters, therefore we ought to live a life of morality, equality and integrity. In other words, the Kingdom of God “on earth as it is in heaven” (as we pray in the Lord’s Prayer) is simply our living into this already-accomplished universal salvation.
The problem some people have with this is that parts of the Bible (particularly in the Old Testament) portray God as a hard, wrathful judge and executioner. As a result, many people struggle with the gospel of God’s free grace and salvation.
However, what they fail to understand is that the Bible is a library of writings that chronicle an evolution of humanity’s understanding of God. God has not changed, but our human understanding of God has changed over time. From Old Testament to New Testament, we see an evolution of understanding culminating in Jesus the Christ, who helped us understand God in parental terms.
Jesus taught us to understand God as our “Abba” (our Papa/Daddy). In fact, we learn from Jesus that God loves us even far more than this, but the closest image to describe God’s love in human terms is the image of parental love. God is our Supreme Father, Mother, Teacher, Friend, and infinitely more. God cares for us, weeps with us, rejoices with us, teaches us, guides us, forgives us, reprimands us, disciplines us, redeems us, reforms us, and so forth.
And God has a plan and a purpose and a process for all of us. For some, they respond to God’s grace (and by God’s grace) early in life. For others, it’s at the 11th hour of this life. While for others, since God’s grace transcends even life and death, their positive response to God comes beyond this life. Sooner or later, in this life or the next, we will all let go and let God. Sooner or later, in this life or the next, we will all yield to God’s grace and truth. BUT THERE IS NO TIME LIKE THE PRESENT.
“Hell” is a state of being. It’s the state of being separated from God and spiritually broken because of our own sinful ego. But our “hell” of separation and brokenness is not forever. Ultimately, we shall all come to the joy and bliss of eternal communion with God according to the plan and purpose and process that God has prepared for each of us.
“For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’ it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ… For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:14-17 and 38-39).
“With all wisdom and insight he has made known to us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure that he set forth in Christ, as a plan for the fullness of time, to gather up all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth” (Ephesians 1:8b-10).
By God’s grace, Pastor Tim