Easter Sunday! Churches around the world will be celebrating the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. He is risen!
It is the heart of the gospel message. The Son of God, having walked among men for some 30 years, fully obedient to the will of God the Father, now concludes His commission. He lays down His life for the sins of the world; for no man could have overtaken Him had He not submitted voluntarily. He is mistreated and abused and then hung upon a cross to die as a common criminal. As death comes, He cries out, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
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He dies and is buried, just as any other man.
But then God the Father demonstrates His power by raising the Lord from His grave, and unlike any previous resurrection miracle the Lord is also “vivified” or made alive; beyond the touch of death. He is the first to experience this; and He acts as the firstfruit for all mankind.
We celebrate the resurrection, for it is the supreme demonstration of the power of God. But most every church fails to grasp the complete gospel message. Most Christians believe a half-gospel, because it is what the religious authorities have taught for centuries.
Calvinists believing in predestination will tell you that “the elect” are born into a destiny of salvation, apart from anything they themselves can do, for God has chosen them. But others, they say, are born into a destiny of destruction; where nothing they do can save them from eternal torment. This is the Calvinist gospel.
Arminians, or “free willers,” will tell you that salvation accomplished by Christ is available to all mankind, but only those that make a choice for Christ as their Saviour within their lifetime will be eternally saved. Those that do not make this choice, regardless of their good works, will be cast into eternal torment. This is the Arminian gospel.
Of course there are many shades between these two extreme positions, with combinations of determinism and free will. But in every case the gospel message being proclaimed falls well short of the message God has revealed in His Word.
All of these “partial gospels” are taught based on interpretations of the same Bible. This is a display for how confused and distorted the true gospel message as revealed by God has become.
Whether you attend a church on Easter Sunday, or on a regular basis, or never … is totally immaterial. God does not call us to “GO” to church. He calls to the believer to “BE” the church. One can go to church and find fellowship and support, and can be encouraged to study the Bible. All of this is good. But do not place your faith and trust in the “authorities” of any church for their interpretation of the Bible. Look around and you will see MANY different churches teaching MANY different things.
Recognize that the Bible is God’s supernatural revelation to mankind. Read it regularly, Study it carefully. Forget about the packaged teachings of any specific church or denomination. Study and think for yourself.
And as we celebrate the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, consider the true and complete gospel as revealed to us in God’s Word.
· God is the Saviour of all, especially [but not exclusively] believers. (1 Timothy 4:10)
· God wills that all mankind be saved (1 Timothy 2:4) and He is operating all in accord with the counsel of His will (Ephesians 1:11).
· Christ is a correspondent ransom for all – the testimony in its own eras [that is, not applied to all at the same time, but progressively in the various eras] (1 Timothy 2:6).
· As in Adam all are dying; in Christ will all be vivified (1 Corinthians 15:21-23).
The Bible records man’s feeble and unsuccessful attempt to live righteously. None are righteous; not one. And if left to our own devices every one of us would be deserving of death; and nothing more. But with Christ’s resurrection and vivification God shows us the destiny of all mankind. Read the climax of human history, as revealed to the apostle Paul, in 1 Corinthians 15:21-28. Christ is, at this present moment, in the process of bringing all things into subjection to God the Father, and when that is fully accomplished we see the events of 1 Corinthians 15 taking place. All enemies are put down. There is no longer a need for reign or rule. The final enemy, death, is abolished. And God becomes All in all. Total and absolute perfection!
That is the true and complete gospel message, not preached or recognized in most churches because of their dependency upon human traditions and teachings passed down thru the centuries … instead of turning to the pure Word of God.
Many reading this may be thinking of Bible passages that they believe disputes this full gospel message, but this only appears so because of the dependency upon human traditions and teachings relative to the Bible. Select any passage and you will see God in the process of working with mankind. But these scenes of punishment and failure and rejection and destruction are not a permanent state … they are a stage somewhere in the process. Once again look to 1 Corinthians 15:21-28 and you will see the conclusion of the ages, and the complete fulfillment of God’s plan.
Please visit our web site at www.GraceEvangel.org or read some of my past blogs for a consideration of the many Scriptural passages that show us God’s plan to ultimately save all mankind, and not just those who become believers in this lifetime.
What an all-wise, all-patient, all-powerful and all-loving God He is; who has set the wheels in motion to fully save and reconcile every last one of His creation before the ages have been fully accomplished. He is risen. He is risen INDEED!