This study is in “Note” form. It is not meant as a deep exposition of scripture for theologians, (although some of them might benefit, who have missed the simplicity of the Gospel) It was originally written for young teens, so it is hoped that any enquiring or new believer will be helped by these simple, brief explanations of the truths which make up the gospel. To benefit from these notes, the reader must have already read or be willing to read the scriptures first, with all diligence. It is often thought that faith is something you either have or haven’t, depending on the type of person you are. Unfortunately, some who have “tried to find faith” have looked to people, or churches or religious organisations, only to be let down. Those of us who have come to believe, and confess to a faith that works, have looked to none of the above mentioned repositories, but have discovered truth in the Bible. Scripture exhorts us to be able to give a reason for the faith that is within us. In these days where even some who profess to be believers, give credence to the arguments of godless unbelievers simply on the ground of human education, we need to recognise the rock upon which our faith stands. Education is a closer relative of pride than it is of truth, and while the parameters of scientific research deal only with one third of the truth, (i.e. the body physical, and not the Soul or Spirit realms) we should be wary of attributing to scientists more deference than they deserve. God is no cowboy builder. He has designed and built a way of salvation on nothing less than solid rock. Our faith rests upon what God has said, nothing less. Some might argue otherwise, but to believe scriptures is not an act of intellectual suicide. To believe is not a leap into the dark, but a leap from darkness into Light. When studied the scriptures hold together in principle and design, to such a degree as to be awe inspiring. The Gospel is a divine masterpiece of wisdom in design and operation.
However, although it could well be appreciated by human intellect, it can certainly not be appropriated by it, for God has deliberately hidden such truths from the “wise and prudent, and revealed them unto babes”. He has made a salvation which is by faith (trust and dependence) from first to last. (Rom 1:17) The wonderful truths of the gospel can only be fully appreciated as such by those who have already come to believe. For God has set the pathway to Himself, it is a pathway of faith. Although such faith is ably reasonable, we cannot reason our way to God, nor is intellectual assent alone sufficient. We must come by faith. Faith is an act of humility for it is an act of dependence. Sin is an act of independence, and a selfish expression of rebellion and pride, in asserting that one knows a better way to live life than as God has declared. God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble. God is humble. If a man had as much power and knowledge as God has, he would certainly never be humble. Man takes great pride in his power and knowledge. But God is different. When he became a man, He was born in a stable. He has revealed himself as a father that we might see ourselves as his children.The scriptures tell us that God gives those who become his children, “a spirit of love, power and a sound mind”. The phrase “ a sound mind” means a teachable mind. Jesus said we must become as little children to enter the kingdom. How eager children are to learn. Don’t begin your Christian life with all your own ideas of what you believe it is all about. Throw out all your old ideas and start afresh. You’ll be surprised what the Holy Spirit will teach you. The first step to God is repentance. This is because repentance means “to think again”. Fill your mind with God’s word. Take God at his word, no matter who tells you differently, - “let God be true and every man a liar”. (Rom 3.) Faith takes place in the heart. Our heart is the centre of our soul. Once faith rests safely in our hearts we can begin to reason in our minds.
A reasonable Gospel
Way back in the early days of computers and desk top publishing, the first book I ever wrote on computer was in 200 pages titled "We have reason to Believe"; with a subtitle, "The Law breakers guide to the grace of God."* Without question, we have ample “reason” to believe, for the gospel is reasonable, as no doubt you will come to know if you give time and effort to the study of Romans chapters 1-8. In this classical essay on the Gospel, Paul constantly uses the word “Therefore”, which clearly demonstrates that there is progressive reasoning in his dissertation.
(* since then other books have been published with similar titles. Mine was never published.)
It is vitally important that you read the bible passages a few times before you read the notes.
Take time to learn this rhyme:
Man's deliberate rebellion brings God to war (Ch 1.) 'Gainst Gentiles with Conscience and Jews with the Law. (Ch 2.) The law revealed Sin, and was fulfilled when Christ died (Ch 3.) Like Abram and David, by faith we're justified. (Ch 4.) That faith is then tested through tribulation and sin (Ch 5.) But by the power of God's grace, our freedom we win. (Ch 6.) So dead to the Law and wed to Christ we stand. (Ch 7.) Growing as God's children through trials He's planned
1. Because Right faith depends upon right knowledge. The Painter in our first illustration had been told that the staircase was safe. Unfortunately though he had great faith in what he had been told, the staircase was rotted and he fell. He had the wrong knowledge. 2. The possession of faith, by itself is of no advantage. Faith must be attached to something. The skater on thin ice, can have as much faith as the skater on thick ice, True saving faith is set upon the word of God. An inordinate amount of faith is put in the Words of Man. Famous politicians such as John Kennedy and Winston Churchill, persuaded thousands, if not millions to trust them. Writers also in abundance have expounded their truths and amassed great followers. It would seem that man as a species needs to hear words to strengthen his inner being. That is why God makes a very special emphasis upon His word, in the bible. God promises that His Word will accomplish everything it says and he also promises that those who believe and trust in his words will never be ashamed. Unlike many who have foolishly trusted the promises and fine speeches of politicians or who have based their lifestyle upon the theories and ideas of famous writers or philosophers. The Christian can unashamedly affirm that their faith rests firmly in the word of God.
The Most important WORD of God is HIS Gospel. The word Gospel means GOOD NEWS. The Gospel is clearly defined in Romans chapters 1-8. Romans is entitled “The Letter of Paul” but in fact is more of a grand essay on the subject rather than a personal letter to any particular person. Paul had been given a special commission from God to take His Gospel to the Gentiles. The small group of Christians in Rome were mainly Gentiles and had received the Gospel through other disciples, but he was no doubt concerned that they knew the full truths of the Gospel, and being unable to go in person to Rome he wrote this “letter”. We are so glad today that he could not go. We have reaped much from the seed of inability.
HOW THE GOSPEL WORKS
A little boy went with his father to see the unveiling of a new Steam Engine in 1950. The guide pointed out to the enthusiastic crowd that the engine cost £500,000. The father said to his son, “That is more than it cost to build our new church”. To which the boy replied; “Ah, but Dad, this works” Churches don't work, never have and never will. They merely keep out the inclement weather. Buildings never brought eternal salvation to anyone. Trains work and the "Gospel Train" works as well. Millions of people who have put their trust in the Gospel have come to an experience whereby they testify to “being saved”. They know that they are safely on their way to heaven. They are changed people, Their lives have changed the world for good, more than any other philosophy or theory of men. So none can argue that the gospel does not work. If it works then it must have workings. If it has workings, they must be able to be identified and examined. This can be done in studying Romans. We do not need to know how an engine works to enjoy the benefits of travelling, nor do we need to know how electricity works to enjoy light and heat in our homes. But we all appreciate the benefits of knowledge as to how it all works. It avoids us inadvertently abusing the system and also enables us to survive if there are breakdowns or problems. We certainly do not need to understand all the deep truths in Romans to be saved but the Holy Spirit would certainly encourage every believer to come to understand how the gospel works, because in doing so we get to know more of the character of God.
Rom 1:14. Paul says he is a debtor to the wise and the foolish. He had received the gospel to pass it on. He owed it to the wise and foolish to tell them. He was a debtor until he had told them
So don't let the Gospel stop with you - PASS IT ON..
Recognise the dud.
Any government agents who seek out the fraudsters that print dud money, don't learn about every different kind of fake bill or note, they are simply taught to know every detail of the real one. THIS EPISTLE IS ABOUT TEACHING YOU THE REAL ONE.
There are many false Gospels and there always has been. Check out Paul's words to the Corinthian church in his day. 2 Cor 11:4 For if he that comes preaches another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if you receive another spirit, which you have not received, or another gospel, which you have not accepted, you might well bear with him.
So check out the gospel that you hear preached, in your church, or presented to you on the door step.