Feb. 2, 2017 |
President Donald Trump said Iran has been “put on notice” for testing ballistic missiles as his administration turned its focus to a key foreign-policy area the new president vowed to address after taking office. U.S. National Security Adviser Michael Flynn said Wednesday that Iran’s actions showed it to be “in defiance” of the UN Security Council resolution passed after a nuclear deal was reached in 2015 between the Islamic Republic and six nations including the U.S. and Russia. Flynn’s warning came a day after U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley told the Security Council that the missile test on Sunday was “absolutely unacceptable.”
Mexico’s government began a formal 90-day consultation process with the nation’s business community that’s needed before the start of talks to revise Nafta and must be prepared for all scenarios, the country’s top diplomat said.
Some Republicans in Congress are starting to talk more about trying to “repair” Obamacare, rather than simply calling for “repeal and replace.”
Now that Donald Trump has added president to his resume, he’s eyeing another title: job creator-in-chief. His goal is 25 million new positions, boosted by the factories he plans to bring back to U.S. shores. Yet he’ll be working against a powerful headwind, because company leaders are already struggling to find Americans to fill manufacturing openings.
Arkansas weddings ring in at an average of $19,522, says the annual poll by wedding marketplace The Knot. Meanwhile, the average cost nationally is now $35,329, the highest since The Knot first began collecting data in 2007. Manhattan is the most expensive place to get married in the U.S., with a massive $78,464 average spend.
Deutsche Bank could sell stock to shore up capital eroded by misconduct fines, Chief Financial Officer Marcus Schenck said on Thursday, an option the lender has sought to avoid to prevent damaging shareholders.
About 2 million barrels a day of oil demand could be displaced by electric vehicles by 2025, equivalent in size to the oversupply that triggered the biggest oil industry downturn in a generation over the past three years.
Fewer Americans filed applications for unemployment benefits last week, marking 100 straight weeks of claims below 300,000. That’s the longest streak since 1970 and indicates a healthy job market. Jobless claims declined by 14,000 to 246,000 in the week ended Jan. 28
AP Top Stories
Punxsutawney Phil, the famous Pennsylvania groundhog that can supposedly forecast when the North American winter will end, dashed hopes for an early spring on Thursday when he emerged from his tree stump and saw his squirmy shadow. Frigid and blustery weather will continue for six weeks.
A draft of an executive order on “religious freedom” is circulating inside the Trump administration, outlining a potential weakening of protections designed to shield LGBT individuals from discrimination, according to a copy of the proposed order.
Prisoners took five hostages at a Delaware prison on Wednesday, later releasing one and entering into negotiations with state and federal authorities while continuing to hold the remaining four.
Rightist protesters scuffled with Israeli police carrying out a court order to evict settlers from an illegal outpost in the occupied West Bank on Wednesday; hours after the government announced more construction in larger settlements.
Silicon Valley billionaire and President Donald Trump adviser Peter Thiel was able to gain New Zealand citizenship in 2011 despite never having lived in the country, because a top lawmaker decided his entrepreneurial skills and philanthropy were valuable to the nation, documents reveal.
A top cybersecurity specialist and his deputy in Russia’s intelligence service, the FSB, are reportedly being accused by the Kremlin of “breaking their oath” by working with the CIA.
Former United Nations secretary-general Ban Ki-moon abruptly ended his attempt to seek South Korea’s presidency Wednesday, dropping a lifetime of diplomacy to denounce his country’s political establishment.
Feb. 1 marks the first day of Black History Month in the U.S. This annual celebration serves to educate students and all Americans about the accomplishments of African-Americans and their part in the nation’s story.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott made good on his promise to cut $1.5 million in grant money to Travis County after the county sheriff said she would limit her department’s cooperation with federal immigration officers, county officials said on Wednesday.
Footage of a teenage victim of a hit-and-run accident pleading with unresponsive onlookers to take him to hospital has caused shock in India. Local media reported people gathered around and took pictures and videos of the injured teen, but did not help him.
The Romanian capital, Bucharest, has seen one of its largest ever anti-government protests after a decree was passed that could free dozens of officials jailed for corruption.
Homeland Security secretary, retired four-star Marine Gen. John F. Kelly told Fox News he wants the U.S.-Mexico border wall finished in two years – setting an ambitious schedule for the project ordered last week by President Trump.
An Ohio coroner’s office is running out of room for bodies because it can’t keep up with deaths caused by drug overdoses. The Montgomery County Coroner’s office, which encompasses cities like Dayton, already processed 145 overdose-related deaths in 2017.
Congress is considering a plan that would restore free speech to church pastors, who were among the targets of a measure initiated by Lyndon Johnson when he fought for re-election to the Senate and wanted to shut up his critics.
The Briefing 02-02-2017
Politics & worldview: Is party identification a better indicator of who you will marry than religion?
States rush to preserve abortion on demand in face of possible federal restrictions
- Wall Street Journal (Leslie Brody) — New York Gov. Cuomo Wants to Amend State Constitution to Protect Abortion Rights
- New York Times (Editorial Board) — Protecting Birth Control Access in Oregon
“Pregnant people,” not “expectant mothers”: British Med. Assoc. codifies doublespeak in new guidelines
- The Telegraph (Laura Donnelly) — Don’t call pregnant women ‘expectant mothers’ as it might offend transgender people, BMA says
In response to progressive policy changes, Christians leaving Boy Scouts for conservative alternatives
Top News – 2/2/2017
Trump vows to protect religious liberty – and knocks Arnold – at National Prayer Breakfast
President Trump vowed Thursday to “defend and protect” religious liberty on multiple fronts – describing his recent immigration executive order as part of that goal – during his first appearance as president at the traditional National Prayer Breakfast.
Trump ices out CNN because it’s ‘fake news‘
The Trump administration is also reportedly banning, at least temporarily, its spokespeople and surrogates from appearing on CNN shows. “We’re sending surrogates to places where we think it makes sense to promote our agenda,” a White House official told Politico, acknowledging CNN is not such a location. “Finally! This kind of thing should have been done long ago!” exclaimed Rush Limbaugh on his national radio broadcast Wednesday.
Brexit Bill hailed by Boris Johnson as ‘absolutely momentous’ after massive majority of MPs vote to trigger Article 50 despite over 100 Remainers trying to block it
A total of 498 voted to give PM Theresa May permission to start Article 50 exit talks next month with 114 trying to scupper the bid.
Knesset speaker meets Paul Ryan, urges him to support embassy move
Knesset speaker Yuli Edelstein met with American counterpart Paul Ryan, Speaker of the US House of Representatives, on Wednesday in Washington. In the meeting, the two discussed one of the most controversial moves US President Donald Trump has vowed to promote – the possible relocation of the US Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Netanyahu announces plans for first new West Bank settlement in 25 years
As Border Police continued to evacuate Amona on Wednesday evening, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced the establishment of a committee that would work to advance the building of a settlement in Judea and Samaria. This would be the first new government-authorized settlement in the West Bank since the establishment of Revava near Ariel in 1991, when Yitzhak Shamir was prime minister.
US-Australia refugee deal: Trump in ‘worst call’ with Turnbull
A phone call between US President Donald Trump and Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull has called into question a refugee resettlement deal. The Washington Post reported Mr Trump called the conversation “the worst by far” of his calls with world leaders that day, and cut it short. Mr Trump later tweeted that he would “study this dumb deal”.
Workers race to clean India Chennai oil spill
Two ships collided off the coast of the southern Indian city of Chennai (Madras) resulting in one tonne of oil spilling into the sea on Tuesday. The oil slick has now reached the city’s beaches and efforts are under way to clean it up.
Romania protests grow over corruption decree
The Romanian capital, Bucharest, has seen one of its largest ever anti-government protests after a decree was passed that could free dozens of officials jailed for corruption. A crowd of at least 150,000 was reported outside government offices late on Wednesday and rallies took place in other towns and cities. As the protesters dispersed, a group of football supporters threw firecrackers at police who responded with tear gas.
White House: ‘We are officially putting Iran on notice’
US President Donald Trump’s National Security Advisor has accused the Iranian government of “malign actions” after a missile test. Without elaborating, Michael Flynn told White House reporters: “As of today, we are officially putting Iran on notice.” Washington earlier declared the test to be “absolutely unacceptable”.
Israel police evict settlers from unauthorised Amona outpost
There have been scuffles between Israeli protesters and police seeking to evacuate an unauthorised settlement outpost in the occupied West Bank. Israel’s Supreme Court has ruled that Amona must be demolished because it is built on private Palestinian land. Hundreds of activists threw stones at police and resisted officers as they moved in to enforce the court order. Injuries were reported on both sides.
Republicans Rebrand Obamacare Strategy From ‘Repeal’ to ‘Repair’
Some Republicans in Congress are starting to talk more about trying to “repair” Obamacare, rather than simply calling for “repeal and replace.” There’s good reason for that. The repair language was discussed by Republicans during their closed-door policy retreat in Philadelphia last week as a better way to brand their strategy.
Pelosi caught on hot mic telling fellow Rep: ‘Tell them you’re a Muslim’
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., was heard on a hot mic instructing a fellow representative to tell the crowd he is a Muslim. Pelosi, who was attending a protest of President Trump’s temporary immigration ban outside the Supreme Court, introduced Rep. Andre Carson, D-Ind. She introduced him as a “Muslim member of Congress.”
Trump to Mexico: Take care of ‘bad hombres’ or US might
President Donald Trump threatened in a phone call with his Mexican counterpart to send U.S. troops to stop “bad hombres down there” unless the Mexican military does more to control them, according to an excerpt of a transcript of the conversation obtained by The Associated Press.
A Suspicious Death and Three Cyber Arrests Point to a New Twist in the US Election Hack
In the eerie world of international espionage, nothing of late has topped the official US accusation that Russian president Vladimir Putin plotted to put US president Donald Trump in power. Now, the tale has become even more salacious …
Suspect in Canada mosque shooting sought money, scouted site
The suspect in the shooting rampage at a Canadian mosque visited the site before Sunday’s massacre, asking for money and scouting the scene before returning with guns and killing six men as they prayed, a member of the mosque said.
Hackers Took Down D.C.’s CCTV System Ahead Of Trump Inauguration, Demanded Ransom
Between the dates of Jan. 12 and Jan. 15, for about a 48-hour span, 70% of the CCTV cameras in Washington D.C. were rendered useless by hackers adding an element of uncertainty in regards to what may have taken place in and around D.C. just days before Donald Trump’s Inauguration.
60% Of US Metro Areas See More Businesses Close Than Open
It may come as a surprise that Americans are less likely to start a business, move to another region of the country, or switch jobs now than at any time in recent memory. But dynamism is in retreat nationwide and in nearly every measurable respect.
California Considering Legislation To Recognize New Gender; Are You “Male, Female, or Nonbinary”?”
Our trans brothers and sisters are under attack in far too many parts of this country and this world. Now, more than ever, California must lead on trans inclusion and ensure that our entire community can live with dignity and respect. This legislation is an overdue step forward.”
Report: al-Qaeda Militants Tipped Off Ahead Of Trump’s First SEAL Raid
“it was clear that the AQAP fighters in the compound knew the Americans were coming and engaged them with heavy weapons.” Given the Obama administration’s extensive knowledge of the operation and the source’s claim, could they be responsible for tipping off the militants in order to botch Trump’s first military raid?
Congress To Undo Obama Rule Blacklisting Federal Contractors
Republicans in the House of Representatives have proposed legislation that would stop regulations requiring federal contractors to report any and all labor violations.
Nancy Pelosi Blames Donald Trump For Yemeni Civil War
“Your family is suffering because your president is reckless, and his administration is incompetent,” she told Bushra. Apparently, the California Democrat forgot about the $112 million worth of munitions President Obama sold to Saudi Arabia during the war, which the Kingdom then proceeded to use to bomb Yemeni rebels and civilians alike.
Employees Under Obama Want To Grind Gov’t To Hault
Federal employees are working closely with former Obama administration officials to thwart future President Donald Trump’s policies and initiatives, according to a report published by The Washington Post.
So Does This Mean No Obamacare Penalties Anymore or What?
One of the biggest unanswered questions left in the wake of President Trump’s wave of executive orders is whether or not we’re going to be raped on massive Obamacare fees once again this year.
Chris Cox: Obama Let Chicago Become ‘National Disgrace’
On February 1 NRA-ILA executive director Chris Cox told Breitbart News that President Obama lacked the “political backbone” to act and keep Chicago from becoming a “national disgrace.”
Top Headlines – 2/2/2017
- Futures fall as Fed gives no clarity on next rate hike (Read More)
- Yellen Eyes Commercial Real-Estate Froth as Fed Weighs ’17 Risks (Read More)
- Trump Slams ‘Dumb Deal’ With Ally Australia After Testy Call (Read More)
- For Many Firms, Trump Dominates Earnings Calls (Read More)
- Trump’s Blue-Collar Populism Is Dividing Unions (Read More)
- Trump’s defense chief, in Seoul, takes stock of North Korea threat (Read More)
- Tillerson’s Vow to Keep Away From Exxon Runs Into a World of Oil (Read More)
- Deutsche Bank Posts Loss as Litigation Costs Bite (Read More)
- Syrian army says it will press on against Islamic State near Aleppo (Read More)
- Seven Cases Where the Supreme Court Sided With Neil Gorsuch (And One Time It Didn’t) (Read More)
- Factory Skills Gap Could Spell Trouble for Trump’s Jobs Plan (Read More)
- Here’s a Glimpse of the Global Trade Carnage From a U.S. Border Tax (Read More)
- Fed’s Bonds Are Growing Up, and That Means Less Economic Support (Read More)
- U.S. military probing more possible civilian deaths in Yemen raid (Read More)
- Europe must remain committed to openness: Draghi (Read More)
- Who Will Pay for San Francisco’s Tilting, Sinking Millennium Tower? (Read More)
- Japan considers buying more U.S. energy as Abe prepares to meet Trump (Read More)
- Sony Says It Won’t Sell Movie Unit (Read More)
- Snap’s secrecy frustrates banks’ pursuit of IPO glory (Read More)
Posted: 01 Feb 2017 08:02 PM PST
After a month of huge blizzards and “atmospheric river” storms, the Sierra Nevada snowpack — source of a third of California’s drinking water — is…
Posted: 01 Feb 2017 07:40 PM PST
A Catholic nun in Spain has caused outrage after she suggested that the Virgin Mary may not have been a virgin after all. The controversial…
Posted: 01 Feb 2017 06:33 PM PST
A security officer at a sex-offender rehabilitation facility says he was fired for having “in Christ” as part of his email signature. Michael Mial filed…
Posted: 01 Feb 2017 06:28 PM PST
YouTube temporarily shut down a popular sermon channel, claiming the videos violated their terms of agreement, including “deceptive practices, and misleading content or other Terms…
|Trump Blasts CNN (AGAIN) Labels Them “Fake News”
Posted: 01 Feb 2017 06:15 PM PST
Donald Trump’s war with CNN is becoming more intense, as the president is again labeling the network “fake news” and is now precluding his officials…
|New York Gov. Seeks to Enshrine Abortion in State Constitution in Case Roe v. Wade Overturned
Posted: 01 Feb 2017 05:54 PM PST
The Democratic governor of New York is calling for lawmakers to pass a bill enshrining abortion as a right in the state Constitution in the…
|Petraeus Warns “World order under unprecedented threat”
Posted: 01 Feb 2017 05:48 PM PST
Retired Gen. David Petraeus warned lawmakers on Wednesday that the world order created in part by the United States in the 20th century is under…
|Trump Puts Tehran ‘On Notice’ After Missile Test….
Posted: 01 Feb 2017 05:43 PM PST
The White House on Wednesday sharply condemned Iran’s recent ballistic missile test launch and accused Tehran of threatening the U.S. allies in the region, and…
Posted: 01 Feb 2017 05:39 PM PST
President Donald Trump threatened in a phone call with his Mexican counterpart to send U.S. troops to stop “bad hombres down there” unless the Mexican…
Our Time is Short
What is The Gospel?
God made everything out of nothing, including you and me. His main purpose in creation was to bring him pleasure.
The chief way in which we as humanity do this is through loving, obeying, and enjoying him perfectly.
Instead of this, we have sinned against our loving Creator and acted in high-handed rebellion.
God has vowed that he will righteously and lovingly judge sinners with eternal death.
But God, being merciful, loving, gracious, and just, sent his own son, Jesus Christ, in the likeness of man to live as a man; fulfilling his perfect requirements in the place of sinners; loving, obeying, and enjoying him perfectly.
And further, his son bore the eternal judgment of God upon the cross of Calvary, as he satisfied the eternal anger of God, standing in the place of sinners. God treated Jesus as a sinner, though he was perfectly sinless, that he might declare sinners as perfect.
This glorious transaction occurs as the sinner puts their faith (dependence, trust) in the Lord Jesus Christ as their substitute. God then charges Christ’s perfection to the sinner, and no longer views him as an enemy but instead an adopted son covered in the perfect righteousness of his son.
God furnished proof that this sacrifice was accepted by raising Jesus from the dead.
God will judge the world in righteousness and all of those who are not covered in the righteousness of Christ, depending on him for forgiveness, will be forced to stand on their own to bear the eternal anger of God.
Therefore, all must turn from sin and receive Christ Jesus as Lord.
There is no greater message to be heard than that which we call the gospel. But as important as that is, it is often given to massive distortions or over simplifications. People think they’re preaching the gospel to you when they tell you, ‘you can have a purpose to your life’, or that ‘you can have meaning to your life’, or that ‘you can have a personal relationship with Jesus.’ All of those things are true, and they’re all important, but they don’t get to the heart of the gospel.
The gospel is called the ‘good news’ because it addresses the most serious problem that you and I have as human beings, and that problem is simply this: God is holy and He is just, and I’m not. And at the end of my life, I’m going to stand before a just and holy God, and I’ll be judged. And I’ll be judged either on the basis of my own righteousness–or lack of it –or the righteousness of another. The good news of the gospel is that Jesus lived a life of perfect righteousness, of perfect obedience to God, not for His own well being but for His people. He has done for me what I couldn’t possibly do for myself. But not only has He lived that life of perfect obedience, He offered Himself as a perfect sacrifice to satisfy the justice and the righteousness of God.
The great misconception in our day is this: that God isn’t concerned to protect His own integrity. He’s a kind of wishy-washy deity, who just waves a wand of forgiveness over everybody. No. For God to forgive you is a very costly matter. It cost the sacrifice of His own Son. So valuable was that sacrifice that God pronounced it valuable by raising Him from the dead – so that Christ died for us, He was raised for our justification. So the gospel is something objective. It is the message of who Jesus is and what He did. And it also has a subjective dimension. How are the benefits of Jesus subjectively appropriated to us? How do I get it? The Bible makes it clear that we are justified not by our works, not by our efforts, not by our deeds, but by faith–and by faith alone. The only way you can receive the benefit of Christ’s life and death is by putting your trust in Him–and in Him alone. You do that, you’re declared just by God, you’re adopted into His family, you’re forgiven of all of your sins, and you have begun your pilgrimage for eternity.
The Gospel In A Nutshell
Now, with regard to this rule of faith—that we may from this point acknowledge what it is which we defend—it is, you must know, that which prescribes the belief that there is one only God, and that He is none other than the Creator of the world, who produced all things out of nothing through His own Word, first of all sent forth; that this Word is called His Son, and, under the name of God, was seen “in diverse manners” by the patriarchs, heard at all times in the prophets, at last brought down by the Spirit and Power of the Father into the Virgin Mary, was made flesh in her womb, and, being born of her, went forth as Jesus Christ; thenceforth He preached the new law and the new promise of the kingdom of heaven, worked miracles; having been crucified, He rose again the third day; (then) having ascended into the heavens, He sat at the right hand of the Father; sent instead of Himself the Power of the Holy Ghost to lead such as believe; will come with glory to take the saints to the enjoyment of everlasting life and of the heavenly promises, and to condemn the wicked to everlasting fire, after the resurrection of both these classes shall have happened, together with the restoration of their flesh. This rule, as it will be proved, was taught by Christ, and raises amongst ourselves no other questions than those which heresies introduce, and which make men heretics.
Tertullian, “On Prescription Against Heretics,” Chapter XIIl
This post is adapted from the tract “What Is the Gospel?” by Greg Gilbert.
A Message from God
What exactly do Christians mean when they talk about the “gospel of Jesus Christ”? Since the word “gospel” means “good news,” when Christians talk about the gospel, they’re simply telling the good news about Jesus! It’s a message from God saying, “Good news! Here is how you can be saved from my judgment!” That’s an announcement you can’t afford to ignore.
Why Is the Gospel Good News?
So, what is the good news about Jesus Christ?
Since the earliest Christians announced the good news about Jesus, it has been organized around these questions:
- Who made us, and to whom are we accountable?
- What is our problem?
- What is God’s solution to our problem?
- How can I be included in his solution?
Christians through the centuries since Christ have answered those questions with the same truth from the Bible.
- We are accountable to God.
- Our problem is our sin against him.
- God’s solution is salvation through Jesus Christ.
- We come to be included in that salvation by faith and repentance.
Let’s summarize those points like this: God, Mankind, Jesus Christ, and Our Response.
The first thing to know about the good news of Jesus is that “in the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (Gen. 1:1). Everything starts from that point, so if you get that point wrong then everything else that follows will be wrong. Because God created everything—including us—he has the right to tell us how to live. You have to understand that in order to understand the good news about Jesus. To understand just how glorious and life-giving the gospel of Jesus Christ is, we have to understand that God is also holy and righteous. He is determined never to ignore or tolerate sin. Including ours!
When God created the first human beings, Adam and Eve, he intended for them to live under his righteous rule in perfect joy—obeying him and living in fellowship with him. When Adam disobeyed God, though, and ate the one fruit that God had told him not to eat, that fellowship with God was broken. Moreover, Adam and Eve had declared rebellion against God. They were denying his authority over their lives.
It’s not just Adam and Eve who are guilty of sin. The Bible says, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Sin is the rejection of God himself and his authority over those to whom he gives life.
Once you understand sin in that light, you begin to understand why “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). That’s not just physical death, but spiritual death, a forceful separating of our sinful, rebellious selves from the presence of God forever. The Bible teaches that the final destiny for unbelieving sinners is eternal, active judgment in a place called “hell.”
But . . .
The word “Christ” means “anointed one,” referring to anointing a king with oil when he is crowned. So, when we say “Jesus Christ,” we’re saying that Jesus is a King!
When Jesus began his public ministry, he told the people, “The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe the good news!” As Jesus died on a cross, the awful weight of all our sins fell on his shoulders. The sentence of death God had pronounced against rebellious sinners struck. And Jesus died. For you and me!
But the story doesn’t end there. Jesus the Crucified is no longer dead. The Bible tells us that he rose from the grave. Jesus’s rising from the grave was God’s way of saying, “What Jesus claimed about who he is and what he came to do is true!”
What does God expect us to do with the information that Jesus died in our place so we can be saved from God’s righteous wrath against our sins? He expects us to respond with repentance and faith.
To repent of our sins means to turn away from our rebellion against God. Repentance doesn’t mean we’ll bring an immediate end to our sinning. It does mean, though, that we’ll never again live at peace with our sins.
Not only that, but we also turn to God in faith. Faith is reliance. It’s a promise-founded trust in the risen Jesus to save you from your sins. If God is ever to count us righteous, he’ll have to do it on the basis of someone else’s record, someone who’s qualified to stand in as our substitute. And that’s what happens when a person is saved by Jesus: All our sins are credited to Jesus who took the punishment for them, and the perfect righteousness of Jesus is then credited to us when we place our trust in what he has done for us! That’s what faith means—to rely on Jesus, to trust in him alone to stand in our place and win a righteous verdict from God!
Ravi Zacharias explains the gospel in two minutes:
The five main components of the gospel can be remembered on 5 fingers of one hand. Here they are:
1) Jesus’ birth
2) Jesus’ life
3) Jesus’ death
4) Jesus’ resurrection
5) Jesus’ ascension
Obviously each point can be elaborated on depending on how much time you have. Here’s the short version:
1) Jesus’ birth – Jesus, God himself, the creator of the universe, the Messiah, became a human being – took on flesh, and was born of a virgin.
2) Jesus’ life – Jesus lived a life of perfect obedience to his Father. Though he was tempted in every way as we are, he never once sinned.
3) Jesus’ death – on the cross, Jesus himself took all our sins and paid for them. God the father counted all our sins to Jesus as if he himself had personally committed them. Then Jesus bore God’s wrath towards sin – the punishment we deserved – as a substitute for us.
4) Jesus’ resurrection – within 3 days, Jesus rose physically from the dead, proving that his sacrifice for sins have been accepted by God, since the punishment for sin was death. Jesus was seen by numerous people after he rose including 500 at one time (1 Corinthians 15).
5) Jesus’ ascension – Jesus ascended physically into heaven where he reigns as King of kings and Lord of lords. And someday he will return to the earth.
That’s the gospel, the good news, and if we believe in Jesus Christ and this good news and call upon him he will save us from our sins and give us eternal life.
That’s a simple way to remember the gospel – five fingers. Even a child can do it. So ask God to give you opportunities to share his good news today.
Please take the time to watch this clip, so that you might understand the authentic Gospel
This is the Gospel:
Friend, God is holy. There is a God in heaven who has created you and me, and He is the authority over both of us. He is perfectly holy. “In Him is Light, and there is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5). And the problem with that is that if we want to have fellowship with God, we have to be light and no darkness at all. And yet here’s the problem: we are darkness. We are sinful. We’ve all broken His law. We’ve all lied, stolen, we’ve all looked with lust, we’ve all been angry with our brothers in our hearts. We’ve all fallen short of the glorious standard of perfection that God requires (Rom 3:23). And there’s nothing we can do about it. No amount of works, no amount of contrition, no amount of bad feelings, no amount of church attendance, no amount of Bible reading, no amount of evangelism can earn forgiveness of our sins and the righteousness which God requires (Titus 3:5; cf. Isa 64:6).
And yet God is gracious, and He loves us, and as His creatures He wants to display His glory in us by rescuing us from that. And so He sent His Son—God in the flesh, the Lord Jesus Christ—to be born as a helpless little baby (John 1:14; 3:16; Col 2:9). God of the universe, Sustainer of the universe, Himself being sustained in the womb of a teenage Hebrew girl, and upholding the world by the word of His power (Heb 1:3) while He is upheld by the nutrients from her own body! Unspeakable! And in great humility, He grows up with the growing pains of life in a fallen world, though He Himself never being with any sin—without sin entirely (2 Cor 5:21; Heb 4:15; 7:26). And He lives a perfectly righteous life. The way that you and I have failed to live before God—the way that we have failed in thought, word, and deed, and fallen short of God’s glory—Christ never did. Not even a thought. He loved God, His Father, perfectly. He always walked in perfect righteousness. He lived the life that you were commanded to live, that I was commanded to live, that we failed to live. He lived that perfect life that God is worthy of.
And not only did He live for us, He died for us. He went to the cross. Our sin demanded death. Our sin demanded eternal punishment. Our sin demanded wrath—just wrath exercised on us for eternity (Rom 6:23). But because of the infinite worth of Christ’s person, He was on that cross. And on that cross, God exercised upon Him the full fury of His own anger (Rom 3:24–26; 2 Cor 5:21; Gal 3:10–14), that was rightly due to me and rightly due to you, and that you will experience if you don’t turn from your sin and trust in this Messiah. Christ was born, lived, died, and was raised (1 Cor 15:3–4). And He rose from the grave after being dead, demonstrating His victory over sin and death.
And now God promises that if you turn from your sin, if you repudiate all that you are and all that you were and all that you love, and you turn away from a life of pursuing sin—and if you repudiate not only your bad works but your good works, if you turn from trying to earn your salvation by all the good deeds that you might want to do as a moral person—if you turn away from all of that (Acts 17:30–31), and you trust in Christ alone for righteousness (Phil 3:7–8; cf. Rom 3:28; 10:4), God promises that He will forgive you. He will have treated Christ on the cross as if Christ lived your life. And He will then treat you, justly and legally and righteously, as if you lived Christ’s perfect life of righteousness (2 Cor 5:21). And you can be saved to know the God you were created to love and enjoy. You can have the fullness of joy, the eternal pleasures that are at the Father’s right hand in heaven (Ps 16:11), and begin even now, because eternal life is to know God (John 17:3).
Friend, would you repent? Would you turn from your sin and trust in this perfect Savior to avail for you before God, to pay for your sin and to provide your righteousness?
A Gospel Presentation
God is Holy
The Bible teaches that the entire universe was created by God. And that God who has created everything has spoken to humanity in the Bible. And the Bible tells us that a fundamental characteristic of God is that He is holy. 1 John 1:5 says, “God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.” That’s a way of saying that He’s entirely pure. God’s character is one of perfect moral uprightness. He is the essence of all that is good—so much so that, as the verse says, He can have absolutely no fellowship with “darkness”—no fellowship with that which is not perfectly holy, righteous, and pure.
God’s righteous character was expressed in the law He gave to Moses and the Israelites. You’ve heard of the Ten Commandments. They summarized the perfection of God’s character. These laws were directives for how people who were in a proper relationship with God must act.
We are Sinful
The problem is: all of us are sinful. We have all broken God’s law. All humanity has “gone astray like sheep, and each one of us has turned to his own way” (Isaiah 53:6). We’ve tried to live our lives without God, according to our own standards, in our own ways. Whether we’re drug addicts and murderers, or white collar, well-to-do, upstanding citizens, we do what we do because we want to do it, with no consideration for God and what He would have us to do. The Bible calls that sin. It is the missing of the mark, the falling short of God’s standard of righteousness.
And in your heart of hearts you know you’re a sinner. I don’t know anyone who would say that they are perfect, even by their own standards. Ecclesiastes 7:20 says, “There is not a righteous man on earth who continually does good and who never sins.” And if God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all, then in order to have fellowship with Him, we’d need to be perfectly holy like Him. But we’re not. Romans 3:23 says, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” We are stained by the “darkness” of our sin. And this is a problem, because if darkness can’t dwell with light, and we’re darkness and God is light, we’re cut off from a relationship with Him. We become absolutely incapable of doing the very thing we were created and designed to do: to enjoy a relationship with our Creator.
There is a Penalty for Sin
But it’s not just that we and God can’t be friends. There’s a penalty to be paid for sin. The Bible tells us that that penalty is death, Romans 6:23: “The wages of sin is death.” But the death that Paul talks about there isn’t just physical death. It’s not like we pay for our sins by going out of existence. The death talked about in that verse is a spiritual death. This is hell: eternal conscious torment. Jesus Himself calls it “a furnace of fire,” where there will be “weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 13:50).
The idea of hell grates against the sensibilities of modern people, because nobody thinks they’re really bad enough to deserve something like eternal torment. They might admit that they’re not the greatest of people, but surely they don’t deserve that. But their reasoning is skewed. The punishment for sin isn’t merely measured by the sin itself. In other words, while there are qualitative differences in the experience of divine punishment, murder, lust, and lying all receive the sentence of an eternity in hell. That’s because punishment for sin is measured by the One sinned against. All sin is fundamentally a sin against God, and He is infinitely holy. Therefore, sin against an infinitely holy God demands an infinite punishment. That’s why the punishment is so serious: because God is actually that righteous.
And so the bad news is that we’re sinful, separated from God, and doomed to spend eternity in hell. There’s nothing we can do about it. We can’t simply tell God we’re sorry and we won’t do it again. What would you say about a judge who let a guilty, convicted criminal go free because he was sorry and said he wouldn’t do it again? You’d call him an unjust judge. But God is a perfectly just, perfectly righteous Judge. God’s justice demands that sin be punished, and the only payment is eternal spiritual death.
God Became Man
But the Good News is: God saw the miserable condition of humanity, and took pity on us. He knew that there was no way we could ever earn our way back to Him. We could never pay for our sins. But just when man was absolutely hopeless, when we were all doomed to spend eternity in hell with no way to pay our penalty, God the Father sent His Son to the earth on a mission. He was miraculously born to a virgin. The Bible says that the Holy Spirit miraculously conceived Jesus in Mary’s womb. And so being conceived by the Holy Spirit, Jesus was God. And being born to a human being, He was human. This is the greatest mystery in the universe. As finite human beings, we can’t entirely wrap our minds around this, but it’s true: Jesus was fully God and fully man.
He lived for 33 years on the earth. He grew up just like every other child. He became a carpenter like Joseph, His earthly father. The great difference, though, between Jesus and every other human being, was that He never sinned. Never once did He ever break God’s law. He always loved God with all His heart, soul, mind, and strength in everything He did. He never sought satisfaction outside of the Father Himself. He never disobeyed His parents, He was never selfish, He never spoke sinful words. In a word, He lived the life that you and I should have lived, but failed to live. He lived a life totally worthy of God, a life that was purely “Light,” like we said before, with no darkness at all.
Jesus Paid the Penalty
And because He was perfectly righteous, He was fit to be the substitute for sinners. The Bible records for us that the Jews plotted to kill Jesus because He preached a message that was very different to the religious establishment of His day. It was against the Jewish law to put people to death, so they sought help from the Romans, who were the governing body in Israel. Because the governor, Pontius Pilate, feared that the people would riot if he didn’t give them what they wanted, he agreed to crucify Jesus.
At the same time, Scripture also tells us that God sent His Son to die this way. It was all part of God’s plan. God used the sinful desires of the Jews and the Romans to accomplish something for His own good purpose. On the cross, Jesus suffered for sins. But He didn’t suffer for His own sins. He had no sins. He lived an entirely perfect life. No, on the cross, God “caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him.”
The verse right before that, Isaiah 53:5, says, “He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed.” What was happening on the cross was: God was carrying out the punishment against my sins—i.e., the pouring out of His wrath—on His innocent Son. Jesus voluntarily laid down His life in order to pay the penalty for sins. On the cross, God treated Jesus if He lived my life. And because I believe in Him, He treats me as if I lived Jesus’ life. See, because God is perfectly righteous, the only way to get to heaven is to be perfectly righteous. But because Jesus was perfectly righteous, and traded places with me on the cross, the perfect righteousness I need to go to heaven is His righteousness applied to my account.
After Jesus died, God miraculously raised Him from the dead three days later in order to show that He was satisfied with His sacrifice. Jesus was dead, but then He came back to life! It was a miracle. The Bible says God did this to “furnish proof to all men” that this message is true (Acts 17:30-31).
Law or Gospel — Which comes first?
Sometimes in life, the question is posed to us, “Which do you want first — the bad news or the good news?”
In response to this question, some choose to hear the good news first. It appears they desire to be thoroughly overwhelmed with the positive before getting their dose of the negative.
Others choose differently. They would rather hear the bad news first, get it out of the way, and put behind them their wonder and worry. Then, after processing the ramifications of the bad news, they hope to soothe the pain an end the conversation on a good note with positive vibes.
Well, Scripture does not offer us options. The Bible makes the choice for us, and it chooses to present the negative before the positive. The Bible declares bad news before declaring good news. It first presents the holy, wise, beneficial and condemning Law, then it publishes the “good tidings of great joy” or the Gospel. (Is. 60:1-2)
Understanding God’s Law
God’s Law was first presented in the opening chapters of Genesis. Some of it was stated; all of it was written upon man’s heart. Adam and Eve were to be entirely holy and obedient. They were to worship God with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength, all the time. Whether they ate, or drank, or whatsoever they did, they were do to it all for the glory of God. As image-bearers, they were to keep up God’s image. As men and women created in his likeness, they were to be like God. Vocationally, they were to enjoy and steward the garden and all God’s creatures. Relationally, they were to love one another and populate the planet. Ceremonially, they were to enjoy and glorify the Lord by walking with him in the cool of the day and never eating from the forbidden tree. These were some of their obligations, and as long as they performed perfectly they were guaranteed life in the family and kingdom of God.
However, things soon went from glorious to ghastly. Outside of them, they experienced the testing of God and the temptation of Satan. Within them they chose to question God’s truth, wisdom, and affection. Then, drawn away by their own lusts and enticed, they followed their internal sinful inclinations and externally ate of the forbidden fruit. Therefore, the holy, wise, and beneficial Law became a harsh taskmaster. It showed them the standard, showed them their guilt, and plagued their consciences. It encouraged them to hide, fear, and religiously self-medicate. It declared them wicked, separated from God, at enmity with God, and deserving of death, and it promised this for both them and their children. Yes, the Law of God promised to give them that which they deserved. It promised to pay them based upon performance, and this proved to be very, very bad news.
Understanding God’s Gospel
God, through the Law declared to Adam and Eve who they were, what they had done, and what they had justly earned — condemnation. Then God mercifully, graciously, and lovingly went to work. He performed on their behalf and promised them an eternity of undeserved blessings:
He predetermined to love his enemies.
He sought out his enemies while they hid from him in fear.
He called to the man and woman who vainly had self-medicated themselves.
He promised to rescue them and their children; they would be removed from Satan’s family.
He promised to do so by means of a special Son – one to come who would be fiercely bitten yet ultimately victorious.
He promised to damn the Evil One.
He then covered or clothed Adam and Eve by means of his ceremonial sacrifice.
He perfectly performed for and made promises to them who had performed so wickedly for him.
Friends, are we seeing the difference? The Law presents our duty to perfectly perform, and it only results in bad news. For there is none who keep all the Law, all the time, both internally and externally. However, the Gospel is not like the Law. The Gospel presents not our duty to perform for God, but it presents God’s performance and promise for us. Through the Law we lose our credentials to be a part of God’s family and enjoy his kingdom. Through the Gospel we gain credentials that cannot be earned or lost.
A Great Illustration
Perhaps nowhere is the distinction better seen between Law and Gospel than on Calvary’s cross. On that day, the Law had placed a criminal beside Jesus. There he was guilty, vile, dying, hopeless, and still hurling insults at the Son of God. He was getting that which he earned and deserved. He was being treated justly and fairly. His payment was based upon his performance, and he had hell to pay. The Law had nothing good to say to the thief on the cross. But then God went to work; Jesus granted the Law-breaking criminal complete pardon, intimate communion, and never-ending paradise. These blessings were not based upon any labors of his own, but only based upon the performance and promise of God. These blessings were not earned; they were a gift. A divine swap occurred. Jesus (The Law Keeping Man) received that which he did not deserve so that the thief (The Law Breaking Man) might also receive that which he did not deserve. And this is a fantastic picture of the Gospel. Communion with God that was lost by man seeking to keep the Law, was granted to man as a gift of God.
Responding to the Gospel
Therefore, how should we respond to the Gospel? While believing in divine sovereignty, what is our human responsibility?
Let us make the Gospel our Gospel. Along with the Apostle Paul let us call it “mine.” The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit offer this gift to you. They command you to receive it and enjoy it. If you find yourself with faith, willing to repent and receive, call out to Jesus in prayer right now. Call Jesus, “My Jesus.” Call Jesus’ righteousness, “My Righteousness.” Call Jesus’ Gospel, “My Gospel.” (Rom. 2:16; 2 Tim. 2:8) Draw near to God and he will draw near to you. As a matter of fact, if you draw near to God, it is only because he has already been drawing nearer to you.
Let us not water down the Gospel. This is always our tendency, to add human works to the sufficient work of Jesus Christ. Friends, re-read the letter to the Galatians. If we must perform, it is not Gospel. If we must labor, it is not Gospel. If it involves our works, it is not Gospel. If it is conditioned upon us in anyway, it is not Gospel. If it is a contract, it is not Gospel. If it can be lost, it is not Gospel. The Gospel represents the unilateral work of God on behalf of men. The Law ought never be divorced from the Gospel, but it must never be confused either.
Let us celebrate the Gospel. William Tyndall wrote of the Gospel, “It makes a man’s heart glad, and makes him sing, dance, and leap for joy.” It is the best of news. It means we can sabbath. It means we can boldly approach the throne of grace with confidence. It means we are seen as Christlike image-bearers. Give God the celebratory praise he deserves. He has labored perfectly on your behalf, give him reverent and radical praise and worship.
Let us not be ashamed of the Gospel. (Rom.1:16) Paul wrote, “Woe if I do not preach the Gospel. (1 Cor. 9:16) He wrote, “How beautiful are the feet of those who spread the Good News.” Friends, just as Adam and Eve were to physically reproduce, we are to spiritually reproduce around the world. This is our mission. This is our great mission. This is our Great Commission. Let us be humble, for we cannot make someone believe. Let us be zealous, for God has a tendency to honor those who labor hard. And let us become flexibly relevant in order to better spread the Gospel. (1 Cor. 9:22-23) As Gospel-lovers and Gospel-beneficiants, let us do that which is Lawful and bring in the Gospel-harvest.
Then, let us live Lawfully in accordance with the Gospel. Now that we have been saved from having to perform, let us perform. Yes, with Gospel-eyes, let us look at the Law and enjoy practicing that which is holy, wise, beneficial, and worshipful. Living in the power of the Gospel, let us enjoy becoming more and more like Jesus — the Author and Finisher of our Faith. And when we look at the Law, let us not get frustrated and despondent. Instead, let us glory in the Law, for there is the description of who we are in Christ today, and it also shows us all we will be in glory tomorrow when our old flesh is finally exterminated.
Bottom line, the Law shows us how to perform for God, but the Gospel shows us how God performs for us. This is radical. This is crazy. This is beautiful. This is truth.
And now, God promises that…
- if you acknowledge that you are a sinner—that you have broken His law,
- and if you admit that there is no way that you could earn His favor and His forgiveness,
- and if you purpose to turn away from your life of sin and commit your life to Him,
- and if you trust in Jesus’ righteousness alone for your acceptance before this holy God,
…then He will have treated Jesus as if He lived your life, and will treat you as if you lived Jesus’ life. You will be saved from the penalty of your sin, and will be able to enjoy fellowship with God forever in heaven, and even fellowship with Him starting now.
In other words, if you believe that you’re a sinner and deserve God’s punishment because of your sin, but you also believe that God sent Jesus to endure that punishment in your place, and that His sacrifice is the only way you can be forgiven, then God promises that He will forgive you and you will be saved. You’ll know the God who created you.
Don’t Waste Your Life
God designed your soul. And He designed you so that, just as a car engine is designed to run on gasoline, you’re designed to run on Him. He is what life is about. All of the disappointments, discouragements, and uncertainties of your life find their resolution in Him. And all of the satisfactions, fun experiences, and joys of life find their consummation in Him. Everything good in our lives is like a trail of breadcrumbs that leads us to the feast of God Himself. And everything bad in our lives is a reminder that life lived apart from knowing God in Christ is not the way it was meant to be.
And I also don’t want to see you waste your life. God created us for the purpose of rightly knowing and worshiping Him. That’s the meaning of life. That’s where true happiness and satisfaction are found. When you don’t live your life for that purpose, you waste it. So many people go through life seeking that happiness, but never find it because they don’t know what life is really about. I don’t want that for you. I don’t want you to suffer God’s wrath eternally for your sin. I want to spend eternity in heaven worshiping God with you, praising Him for how gracious He was to forgive our sins because of Christ’s sacrifice.
So would you receive Christ? Would you acknowledge your sinfulness before God and admit you can’t do a thing about it? Would you turn from your sin, and seek to live your life in submission to Jesus Christ? Would you trust in Jesus alone for your righteousness before God? Would you join me in worshiping the God we were created to know?
Ready to start your new life with God?
Who do you think that I am?
With that brief question Jesus Christ confronted His followers with the most important issue they would ever face. He had spent much time with them and made some bold claims about His identity and authority. Now the time had come for them either to believe or deny His teachings.
Who do you say Jesus is? Your response to Him will determine not only your values and lifestyle, but your eternal destiny as well.
Consider what the Bible says about Him: Read more
CanIKnowGod.com is a website inspired by LifesGreatestQuestion.com, with new content, images, audio and video that will help you understand more about who God is and how to know Him. The site is mobile responsive and has an infinite scroll which makes for a very user-friendly experience. After you indicate a decision on CanIKnowGod.com, you are directed to a page that details what it means to have a new and transformed life through Jesus Christ. There’s even a Facebook page for daily updates, encouragement and scripture sharing.
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The Perseverance (Security) of the Saints
Notice all the Scripture references!
It is not just a handful of texts that teach the perseverance of the saints: the entire gospel sustains and confirms it. The Father has chosen them before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:4), ordained them to eternal life (Acts 13:48), to be conformed to the image of his Son (Rom. 8:29). This election stands (Rom. 9:11; Heb. 6:17) and in due time carries with it the calling and justification and glorification (Rom. 8:30). Christ, in whom all the promises of God are Yes and Amen (2 Cor. 1:20), died for those who were given him by the Father (John 17:6, 12) in order that he might give them eternal life and not lose a single one of them (6:40; 17:2); he therefore gives them eternal life and they will never be lost in all eternity; no one will snatch them out of his hand (6:39; 10:28).
The Holy Spirit who regenerates them remains eternally with them (14:16) and seals them for the day of redemption (Eph. 1:13; 4:30). The covenant of grace is firm and confirmed with an oath (Heb. 6:16–18; 13:20), unbreakable like a marriage (Eph. 5:31–32), like a testament (Heb. 9:17), and by virtue of that covenant, God calls his elect. He inscribes the law upon their inmost being, puts his fear in their heart (Heb. 8:10; 10:14ff.), will not let them be tempted beyond their strength (1 Cor. 10:13), confirms and completes the good work he has begun in them (1 Cor. 1:9; Phil. 1:6), and keeps them for the return of Christ to receive the heavenly inheritance (1 Thess. 5:23; 2 Thess. 3:3; 1 Pet. 1:4–5).
In his intercession before the Father, Christ acts in such a way that their faith may not fail (Luke 22:32), that in the world they may be kept from the evil one (John 17:11, 20), that they may be saved for all times (Heb. 7:20), that their sins will be forgiven them (1 John 2:1), and that they may all be where he is to behold his glory (John 17:24). The benefits of Christ, which the Holy Spirit imparts to them, are all irrevocable (Rom. 11:29). Those who are called are also glorified (8:30). Those who are adopted as children are heirs of eternal life (8:17; Gal. 4:7). Those who believe have eternal life already here and now (John 3:16). That life itself, being eternal, cannot be lost. It cannot die since it cannot sin (1 John 3:9). Faith is a firm ground (Heb. 11:1), hope is an anchor (6:19) and does not disappoint us (Rom. 5:5), and love never ends (1 Cor. 13:8).
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