I have heard some of the most exquisite theories about what humanity’s problem is, and what the hope for that problem involves. The world is looking for a solution because it’s undeniable that we all live in a state of chaos and trouble. Solutions abound from the divinization of the soul through evolutionary spirituality to the nihilistic termination of the soul, which says “from dust we came, and dust we will always remain”. The latter seems hesitantly committed to the void of transcendent meaning of life. I say hesitantly because it seems against nature to live meaningfully here and now, while pressing on to a state of cold existence, with nothing beyond. In this, it’s clear that people are blind to their own essential problem and the essential answer to that problem. The Word of God pierces the darkness of our mortal ignorance. We are sinners. It is that simple, definite, proposition that is the beginning of the solution to our spiritual death. It’s the only right judgement of our nature, and rightly understood it should bring us to our knees in utter helplessness to change by our own ingenuity. The Gospel is the power of God to save those who believe. 

In the Gospel, we have the forgiveness of sins, the power of new life, and a reconciliation to God, where once there was only enmity and condemnation with God. Christ is our resurrection. Because he overcame the power of death, we can live forever in immortal bodies, that will never get sick or decay. Christ’s victory is the assurance now that the graves and tombs of the earth will eventually be emptied, and never used again. Because Jesus bore our sins, there is a cleansing, a purifying of the conscience of culpable souls, who live with condemnation. Not only is there a taking away of sins from our account against us before the Lord our Judge, but also a gift, an amazing grace of an “alien righteousness”, a perfect righteousness that is given freely to us who believe. We also die to sin. Our relationship to our old nature and old identity is changed in Christ.

 Who can accomplish these things? None of us. We have , as it were, tried by every means in our own power to re-enter the original Paradise to “know good and evil” and to be like God. We have tried to achieve this supremacy in our lives, by trying to connect with secrets of the universe through mysticism, or determine our own lives as if we are gods. And these efforts are a total failure. In fact, the very best of human endeavour and the very highest of human morality, the most sophisticated of human culture, the wisest of man’s learning, and the hight of human power in this world is absolute foolishness and abomination in the sight of God. What displays the glory and wisdom of God is the accomplishment of redemption from sin and death at the Cross of Jesus. A Messiah whose body was bloody and beaten and nailed to a Roman cross, who became a curse for us is essential, not just optional, if we would find salvation from our sin, and the regeneration of all things in the kingdom to come.

“…because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.” Acts 17:31

“And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12

Friends, the Gospel is not optional if you would be saved from the fire of God’s holy wrath…it is essential.