The Shepherd of Hope blog is here to serve you, to help you know Jesus better and to find hope in Him. This blog relies on the Spirit of God using the word of God to build people of God. All material has been prayerfully submitted for your encouragement and spiritual edification. Your questions and comments are welcome.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

A Gospel Invitation

“In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace” – Ephesians 1:7

Do you feel the Lord tugging at your heart? He loves you so much. He wants you to know Him personally. He wants you to spend eternity with Him. He has a plan for your life. He has truth for you to live by; fulfillment; meaning; purpose. He wants to bless you with an abundant life. He’s calling you to Himself.

But there’s a problem – sin. Sin is breaking God’s life giving laws. It’s living outside the parameters of His life giving word. Sin is rebellion against God. Sin separates us from God. Sin is the cause of all pain and suffering in this world. Sin breaks our heart. Sin breaks God’s heart.

God is a Just Judge who cannot and will not leave the injustice of sin unpunished. The penalty for sin is death. We all have sinned. We are all guilty. We all deserve eternal death. We deserve eternal separation from the God of love. We are born in sin. Sin is a part of us. We choose sin. We excuse sin. We are without excuse. Sin is the human infection. Sin is a cancer. One sin cell left unattended will spread and kill. It is always malignant. It is never benign. Sin is terminal. Sin dooms us legally, morally, and physically. But there is hope.

The Gospel is where the One Holy God of Love and the Holy God of Justice meet. There is a way to be justified; to be brought to a standing before God just as if I’d never sinned. There is a way to be forgiven for our sins. There is a way to be healed; to have our sins washed away. That way leads to the cross where God reveals His justice and His love. Jesus is the way, the truth, the life. “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.”

Sin is not eliminated by our good works. Our works are not good enough. Even an earthly judge won’t accept good works to offset the penalty for a crime. The next time you go before an earthly judge for a traffic ticket or some other offense try telling him what a good person you are or that you’re really, really sorry. See how far that gets you. Been there; done that. Take it from me, it doesn’t affect justice; it doesn’t get you very far.

God’s law and rule of justice are far higher and fairer than ours. God must and will administer perfect justice. In God’s system of justice we’re guilty as charged. But God has made a way for us to be set free from the penalty of sin. The sentence can be lifted; commuted. Jesus satisfied God’s just requirements on the cross. He fulfilled our sentence. That’s love. That’s mercy. That’s grace; God’s righteousness at Christ’s expense.

To bring us to Himself God sent His only Son Jesus, the Perfect representative Man, to pay our penalty for sin on the cross. He paid a debt He didn’t owe for those who owed a debt they couldn’t pay. That’s love. That’s justice. That’s grace; God’s redemption at Christ’s expense.

The wages of sin is death. Cancer needs to be surgically removed. It needs treatment. Jesus came to die for you and for me. The blood of Jesus washes away our sin. Jesus’ blood kills sin cells. The blood of Jesus is the perfect treatment for sin. That’s love. That’s healing. That’s grace; God’s remission at Christ’s expense.

What does all this cost? The free gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. He has paid the price. He offers salvation from sin as a free gift to be received by faith. Salvation from sin is free, but it wasn’t cheap. It cost Jesus His life. That’s love. That’s expensive. That’s grace; God’s riches at Christ’s expense.

Jesus has justly paid our penalty for sin. But how can that apply to us? Trust in Jesus’ completed work on the cross. Turn from your sin and ask God’s forgiveness based on trusting in Jesus as your Savior from sin. How do I know this is true? Jesus rose from the dead. The wages of sin have been paid. Death is defeated. Eternal life is proclaimed in His name. That’s love. That’s regeneration. That’s grace; God’s resurrection at Christ’s expense.

When you give your heart and life to Jesus He gives you rich blessings. He gives you a fresh start in life. He removes the guilt connected with sin. He gives you a new heart that is sensitive to His voice. He makes you a part of His eternal family. He gives you His word the Bible to nourish you spiritually. And He gives you spiritual life and understanding by the Holy Spirit who comes to dwell in you. But best of all He gives you Himself. He brings you into an eternal life with Him. When you accept Jesus as Savior and Lord your entire outlook on life’s meaning and purpose will change. You will be so blessed by His love you’ll want to tell the world about it. That’s love. That’s life. That’s grace; God’s reconciliation at Christ’s expense.

“In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.” Don’t wait to receive Him. Don’t put Him off. Don’t put off your decision. Come as you are. Come now. He’s waiting for you with open arms. That’s love. That’s opportunity. That’s grace; God’s relationship at Christ’s expense.

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