A Clearer Understanding of the Gospel
Tonight as I was reading the Word, God suddenly clarified the gospel for me. (This also clarifies the difference between a true Christian and one who merely gives mental assent to doctrine.)
The picture that God used was a conversation with an unsaved person in which he’s told that to enter heaven God requires a perfect life, but his situation is hopeless because he’s ruined his life. He’s then told that he needs an entirely new life which is absolutely clean, and that God has provided this substitution through Jesus Christ. This is the essence of the gospel: we switch places with Jesus. Everything bad goes onto Him, and all of His goodness and even His Holy Spirit is given to us.
It is not merely faith nor repentance which saves us, but these are only the catalysts which prompt us to pray to God for salvation. It is then completely God’s sovereign choice to work a miracle and grant us salvation. God’s Word tells us that it is only the prompting of the Holy Spirit which allows us to have the faith and repentance necessary in order to ask for salvation in the first place, and that salvation itself is provided only though Jesus’ sacrifice so that everything is from God and through God.
Praise God that He has provided everything and that nothing depends on us. We can choose either to agree with the promptings of the Spirit, or to resist Him. The one who is saved is saved completely of God, and the one who is damned is damned completely of his own choosing.