Pretty Gospel

Solomon, a man given ultimate wisdom by God, concluded in Ecclesiastes 12:13, “Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion to the matter: fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.” Solomon goes on to say in Ecclesiastes 12:14, “For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.”

We all know from John 3:16, “For God so love the world that He gave his only begotten son, who so ever believes in Him shall not parish but have everlasting life.”  In this verse, believers are assured that Jesus was a gift from God and an offering for everlasting life.  The price for our sin and forgiveness was paid at the cross. 

So, what about this judgment?  If we accept the gospel of Jesus (His birth, life, death & resurrection), then why fear God?   The whole duty of man Solomon talked about is to fear God and keep His commandments.  Was the wisdom of Solomon inaccurate? Do we have to fear God or not?

I ponder the thought of fearing a God who loved me so much that he gave His Son as payment for my past, present and future sins.  I wonder if I’m completely off-the-hook for my sinful nature or if I have some responsibility or control for my “deeds.”

Throughout the Old Testament God deals with man directly; He would send angels to speak to them, give dreams to offer insight, and in some cases, talk directly to their hearts and minds.  The pure and perfect God loved His creation so much that he did not completely destroy them after Adam’s fall, or during the flood of Noah’s time.  God was merciful, in spite of man (and woman’s) foolishness.

Some believers in Jesus Christ hang their hat on salvation and everlasting life as a ticket to pass the gates of hell.  Considering Jesus did all the work by dying for us, some believers fall back on the gift of Jesus and tolerate their short-comings, believing “human nature” makes us all fall short of Gods perfection.  I beg to differ.

As joint heirs in the promise of everlasting life, believers have an important part to play as Solomon said.  We who love God fear Him; we who fear Him keep His commandments.  We are not off the hook at all.

In 2 Corinthians 5:10 believers are reminded, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.”  This has nothing to do with salvation; that issue is resolved; it has to do with the heart and actions of believers after salvation. 

We can all agree Jesus Christ was the final sin offering.  This offering paid the toll, cleared Adam’s debt, and offered us freedom from condemnation.  We are reconciled to Almighty God.  After this reconciliation we have responsibility.  We have a responsibility to love God and keep His commands. 

The Creator has not changed.  He has shown love, forgiveness, blessing, and grace molded into our Savior Jesus Christ.  We preach and teach the goodness of God to a lost world.  We persuade men to receive the blessings, the prosperity, and the favor of God.  We pray that they hear us and accept the invitation to receive God’s free gift of Jesus and forgiveness of sin.

But now comes the hard part.  People have to live, in a human world with human lust, desires and temptations.  We fall and get up, then fall again.  All the while Jesus is there helping us, teaching us and forgiving us.  This cycle could go on forever. 

At some point, however, believers must remember to respect, revere and even fear God.  As God transforms our body from physical to spiritual, we are instructed to transform our minds from earthly to heavenly.  We are reminded to put away childish things and grow-up spiritually.

In 2 Corinthians 3:17 we’re told, “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.  And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with everlasting glory, which come from the Lord who is the Spirit.”

True freedom from sin is the reflection of Jesus in our lives, minds and “deeds.”  Our soul should leap to be like Him, to please Him and to love Him.  If we believers hear the gospel of Jesus and don’t comprehend a wonderful opportunity to be renewed, then they have missed the awesomeness of God’s gift.

God, who has shown us mercy in Christ Jesus, will also show His wrath on the earth.  There will be a judgment, and each man (and woman) will face God.  Every knee will bow, and every voice will acknowledge that Jesus is Lord.

Knowing this, we know there will not be a happy ending for all.  The Gospel isn’t always pretty, and we have a responsibility to know and tell the whole truth.  The wrath and terror that God promised will pour down on a lost world.  The word of God has promised this and God has not changed. 

Quoting from Solomon once again in Proverbs 1:7, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.”  Believers who have received the gospel of Jesus Christ must also receive knowledge.  Fear the Lord, listen to Jesus, and do as He did.  

Now, let His reflection shine from you.  



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