Don’t “Share Your Faith”

Article by Cameron Buettel (original source here)

Our postmodern culture gnashes its teeth at biblical evangelism. Their commitment to subjectivity and relativism cannot accommodate a religion that is exclusive, narrow, and declares non-negotiable truth. And that shouldn’t surprise us—Jesus told us to expect to be hated in the same way that He was (John 15:18).

Moreover, Scripture also warns against appeasing (James 4:4) or imbibing (Romans 12:2) the world’s values. But that’s easier said than done. We are called to separatism without monasticism—being in the world but not of the world. We can’t live our lives and engage our mission field without coming into contact with pagan culture.

For most of us it’s difficult to avoid marinating in the postmodern thinking of our friends, families, and colleagues. And we see signs of this even in the realm of evangelism.

The phrase “share your faith” is now deeply embedded in the evangelical vernacular. Most of us use it as a synonym for our evangelistic encounters, myself included. But those three words reek of postmodern subjectivity—a point not lost on John MacArthur:

It’s not your faith and you can’t share it. . . . That is a not-so-very subtle overture to the post-modern mentality that says my faith is my faith and I certainly would be happy to share it with you.

That’s not at all what we want to do. We want to explain the faith, the Christian faith, truth. And our greatest example for that is the Lord Jesus, who throughout His ministry presented the truth. . . . Jesus was relentlessly committed to the truth. He spoke the absolute truth into every situation. And either people accepted the truth, and rejected error, or they held tightly to their error and began to hate Jesus— because they saw what He was doing as an attack on them. And it was.

We don’t share it, we announce it. And it’s not your faith, it’s the “faith that was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3 ESV). It is God’s gospel.

I rejoice that the Christian gospel rests on objective historical facts that transcend my own experiences or validation—God’s creation, man’s fall, and Christ’s redemption. I’ve watched in agony as Christians have vainly tried to duel with other religions and worldviews on the basis of personal experience. Those encounters rapidly degenerate into an endless subjective standoff. The experiential evangelist is powerless to refute someone’s experience with his own.

The truth of the biblical gospel crashes through all of those man-made barriers with God’s own written testimony. It doesn’t hinge on our personal skills or powers of persuasion. It is “the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16).

Behold the Lamb of God

Text: John 1:29

EMERGENCY ALERT: Sin is deadly serious in the sight of God. God’s wrath, His ‘holy revulsion against that which is the contradiction of His holiness’ is fully justified. The only way of escape from this inevitable and just judgment is God’s provision in His sin atoning Lamb. This is not fake news! This is not a drill!

What is the Gospel?

Dr. Robert Godfrey (original source here)

Many Christians, churches, and organizations regularly use the word gospel to describe their convictions. Theological controversies have occurred and do occur over the meaning of the gospel and who preaches it faithfully. What does that familiar word gospel mean? The best way to answer that question is to turn to the Bible.

In the Greek New Testament, the noun euangelion (“gospel”) appears just over seventy times. Since, in one sense, the whole New Testament is about the gospel, we might have expected the word to have been used more frequently. Even more surprisingly, its use varies greatly among the authors of the New Testament books. Paul uses the word more than three times as often as all the other authors combined. Most of the other uses are found in Matthew and Mark, with very few, if any, in Luke, John, Peter, and James.

The word gospel most simply means “good news.” The word is not unique to the Christian message, but it was also used in the pagan world to refer to a good announcement. In the New Testament, it refers to the good news of Jesus the Savior. Often, it is used with the assumption that the reader knows what the word means.

As we look more closely at the ways in which gospel is used in the New Testament, several points come through strongly. First, we often find the phrase “the gospel of God.” This phrase stresses the source of the gospel as a gift from God. The gospel is of divine, not human, origin. Second, the character of the gospel is specified in several ways: the gospel is true (Gal. 2:5, 14; Col. 1:5), gracious (Acts 20:24), and glorious (2 Cor. 4:4; 1 Tim. 1:11). Third, we see two responses to the gospel. The primary response is faith (Acts 15:7; Eph. 1:13). But obedience is also a response (1 Peter 4:7; Rom. 1:5; 10:16; 16:26; 2 Thess. 1:8).

(Paul’s use of the idea of the obedience of faith in Romans has an element of irony as he responds to those who have accused him of antinomianism, being against the law.) Fourth, we see several results of the gospel. The gospel, of course, brings salvation (Rom. 1:16; Eph. 1:13). It also brings the kingdom (Matt. 4:23; 9:35, 24:14). It evokes hope in the people of God (Col. 1:23). The gospel is also a motivation to sanctification (Mark 8:35; 10:29; 2 Cor. 9:13; Eph. 6:15; Phil. 1:27). Continue reading

Ten Things You Should Know About The Gospel

Article by Dr. Sam Storms (original source here)

As much as we hear about the gospel of Jesus Christ one would think that everyone is on the same page when it comes to defining this word. Sadly, that is not the case. So just what is the gospel? How might we define it? Here are ten things to keep in mind.

(1) The “gospel” is the gloriously great good news of what our triune God has graciously done in the incarnation, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ to satisfy his own wrath against us and to secure the forgiveness of sins and perfect righteousness for all who trust in him by faith alone. Christ fulfilled, on our behalf, the perfectly obedient life under God’s law that we should have lived, but never could. He died, in our place, the death that we deserved to suffer but now never will. And by his rising from the dead he secures for those who believe the promise of a resurrected and glorified life in a new heaven and a new earth in fellowship with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit forever.

(2) The gospel is fundamentally about something that has happened. It is an accomplished event, an unalterable fact of history. Nothing can undo the gospel. No power in heaven or earth can overturn or reverse it. But as a settled achievement it also exerts a radical and far-reaching influence into both our present experience and our future hopes. Central to why it is the “best” news imaginable is that the glory of what God has already done in and through Jesus transforms everything now and yet to come.

(3) This gospel is not only the means by which people have been saved, but also the truth and power by which people are being sanctified (1 Cor. 15:1-2); it is the truth of the gospel that enables us to genuinely and joyfully do what is pleasing to God and to grow in progressive conformity to the image of Christ. Thus we must never think that the gospel is solely for unbelievers. It is for Christians, at every stage of their lives. There is nothing in the Christian life that is “post” gospel! Continue reading

Bible Study – The Heart of the Gospel

If you are able to make an hour available for Bible study, I would recommend this very highly. Conducted earlier this morning in Dallas, this study by Dr. Steve Lawson centers on Romans 3:21-26. Before you start watching, I encourage everyone to have note paper and pen ready in order to take notes, as Dr. Lawson outlines “The Heart of the Gospel” under 9 headings. You will find it as the top feature at this link: – again, its wonderful material.

Simul Justus Et Peccator

Joyce Meyer denies she is a sinner.

I’m with Dr. R. C. Sproul on this. Here he explains the essence of the Reformation view of justification and Martin Luther’s latin phrase, “Simul Justus et Peccator.”

Transcript

Perhaps the formula that Luther used that is most famous and most telling at this point is his formula simul justus et peccator. And if any formula summarizes and captures the essence of the Reformation view, it is this little formula. Simul is the word from which we get the English word simultaneously. Or, it means ‘at the same time.’ Justus is the Latin word for just or righteous. And you all know what et is. Et the past tense of the verb ‘to eat.’ Have you et your dinner? No, you know that’s not what that means. You remember in the death scene of Caesar after he’s been stabbed by Brutus he says, “Et tu, Brute?” Then fall Caesar. And you too Brutus? It simply means and. Peccator means sinner.

And so with this formula Luther was saying, in our justification we are one and the same time righteous or just, and sinners. Now if he would say that we are at the same time and in the same relationship just and sinners that would be a contradiction in terms. But that’s not what he was saying. He was saying from one perspective, in one sense, we are just. In another sense, from a different perspective, we are sinners; and how he defines that is simple. In and of ourselves, under the analysis of God’s scrutiny, we still have sin; we’re still sinners. But, by imputation and by faith in Jesus Christ, whose righteousness is now transferred to our account, then we are considered just or righteous. This is the very heart of the gospel.

Will I be judged in order to get into heaven by my righteousness or by the righteousness of Christ? If I had to trust in my righteousness to get into heaven, I would completely and utterly despair of any possibility of ever being redeemed. But when we see that the righteousness that is ours by faith is the perfect righteousness of Christ, then we see how glorious is the good news of the gospel. The good news is simply this, I can be reconciled to God, I can be justified by God not on the basis of what I did, but on the basis of what’s been accomplished for me by Christ.

But at the heart of the gospel is a double-imputation. My sin is imputed to Jesus. His righteousness is imputed to me. And in this two-fold transaction we see that God, Who does not negotiate sin, Who doesn’t compromise His own integrity with our salvation, but rather punishes sin fully and really after it has been imputed to Jesus, retains His own righteousness, and so He is both just and the justifier, as the apostle tells us here. So my sin goes to Jesus, His righteousness comes to me in the sight of God.

What Does "Simul Justus et Peccator" Mean? from Ligonier Ministries on Vimeo.

For more on this theme – here is Dr. John MacArthur:

By Design

At the very center of the God’s work of atonement is One called the Lamb of God, who took the place of sinners as the sin-bearing Substitute, absorbing the very real wrath we deserved from a Holy God. And all of this was by design; God saving us from Himself by means of the Redeemer.

Isaiah 53:
4 Surely he has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
smitten by God, and afflicted.
5 But he was pierced for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his wounds we are healed.
6 All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned—every one—to his own way;
and the LORD has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.
7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,
yet he opened not his mouth;
like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,
and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent,
so he opened not his mouth.
8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away;
and as for his generation, who considered
that he was cut off out of the land of the living,
stricken for the transgression of my people?
9 And they made his grave with the wicked
and with a rich man in his death,
although he had done no violence,
and there was no deceit in his mouth.
10 Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him;
he has put him to grief;
when his soul makes an offering for guilt,
he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days;
the will of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.
11 Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied;
by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant,
make many to be accounted righteous,
and he shall bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many,
and he shall divide the spoil with the strong,
because he poured out his soul to death
and was numbered with the transgressors;
yet he bore the sin of many,
and makes intercession for the transgressors.