Gospel Insights

by Michael Smith

 

Chapter One

A MEDITATION ON THE GOSPEL
OF JESUS CHRIST

Please read Matthew 1:18-23

 

Christianity is often thought of as one of the world's great religions, but it is actually much truer to describe it as a relationship between God and man, or as God and man walking daily together.

Many religions teach that if we keep all their laws and commandments then we will one day be able to reach heaven.  In contrast, the Bible tells us that it is impossible to perfectly keep all God's laws and commandments because we are born into a fallen, and far from perfect, human race.

As we cannot 'climb' our way up to God's perfect standard and reach heaven by our own efforts, God's answer was to come down to earth Himself, 'lift' us up and take us to heaven.  This He did by being born as a baby in Bethlehem, living the perfect and sinless life He originally wanted us to live, dying on the cross of Calvary, and then rising victorious from the dead.  This may be a difficult concept to grasp.  But we must understand that the death of Jesus Christ on Calvary and His resurrection three days later won for us a great victory over death.  As death was the consequence of sin, every man who sins must be "subject" to death [1].  This indeed happened in the garden of Eden when Adam disobeyed God's command to him not to eat fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil [2].

But Jesus had never sinned or disobeyed God's will for His life and so he was not subject to death.  By His death the Lord Jesus Christ - God the Son - removed the obstacle of sin that had separated man from God the Father since the first man sinned, opening up the way back to heaven for all those who will accept by faith His birth, life, death, and resurrection.  The apostle Paul says that the end result of our sin is death but God's free gift to us is eternal life [3].  In dying in our place and rising to life again the Lord Jesus had the right to give to us, or share with us, His eternal life, if we accept that gift by repenting toward God of our sin, asking His forgiveness, and following Him from then on.

When we become a Christian, we become a member of God's own family.  Many people know a lot about God the Father; also about Jesus Christ and Christianity, and even attend a church regularly, but few can say they know God in a real, living and personal way.  It is much like knowing about the royal family, but being unable to say, "Yes, I know the Queen and the royal family personally because I see them every day and, in fact, I am a member of that family myself."  As someone once pointed out, there is a lot of 'churchianity' but much less real 'Christianity'.

It is not therefore so much what we do for God that counts because our basic motives and actions are often less than perfect, but it is rather what we allow God to do through us as we walk with Him day by day, as all His works and actions are always thoroughly perfect; and it is only the perfect that builds God's Kingdom here on earth and into eternity.

There are no short cuts.  We can't pull ourselves up by our own bootlaces in order to reach heaven.  Many try of course, but the end is always failure as perfect life-long self-righteousness is impossible for us.

The joyous message of the Gospel is that man (you and I) can be reconciled to God by God Himself.  All we have to do is receive God's precious gift by faith [4] and live our lives pleasing to Him with the grace He gives us [5].  God therefore does all the work of saving us; all He asks of us is that we will pocket our pride and humbly receive His salvation, and then we will know His deep peace that passes all understanding [6].

The real meaning behind the birth of Jesus Christ 2000 years ago is not that it is a time for family or feasting, of giving presents to loved ones or having a few days off work in the middle of winter, or watching endless TV.  Rather, the coming of Christ reminds us that God loved us so much He came to earth to be born as a baby in order to save and rescue us from lives that would eventually lead to complete and eternal separation from God and man [7].  He did all this in order that we might go to be with Him as a member of His own family in the perfect and endless bliss of heaven.

What a wonderful GOD and SAVIOUR we have!

No wonder folk down the ages have taken a day off work at Christmas to praise and worship God and to give Him all the glory because He has done for us what we could never do for ourselves.  With all the angels we can gladly sing:

HALLELUJAH!   HALLELUJAH!   HALLELUJAH!

 

Footnotes

[1]  Hebrews 2:14-15.          [2]  Genesis 2:15-17;  Genesis 3:17-19.          [3]  Romans 6:20-23.          [4]  Romans 4:24-5:1;  Galatians 3:26.          [5]  Philippians 2:13.          [6]  Philippians 4:7.          [7]  John 3:16.

 

 

 

Preface   |   Chapter Two   |   Back to Contents

 

 

Michael Smith 2013