15 But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and who called me by his grace, 16 was pleased to reveal his Son to me, in order that I might preach Him among the Gentiles…
What do you think makes a Christian share the good news? Quite often, some church leaders try to get their flock moving by appealing to the duty and commission that the believer should fulfill. Others try to hold motivational speeches and events so that the crowd gets excited and gets going. All of these methods are not wrong in themselves, but this is not the way the New Covenant believer is called to serve God. So what moves us, or should I say, moves us to live a gospel life in front of our neighbors and the people we meet every day.
THE GOSPEL IS MORE THAN YOU KNOW
Too often we have a very narrow understanding of the gospel. A baby Christian knows that he has been forgiven through Christ's sacrificial death and that he has become a new creation through Christ’s resurrection victory. This is the foundational truth for all believers. But sometimes you hear the saying that the gospel is milk for a little Christian, but now he needs proper food, meat to eat in order to progress in the faith. The truth is that the Christian's diet must always consist of the Gospel, or else he will not be able to digest other spiritual foods at all. The reason is that the Gospel is the A&O of Christian life and growth. It fuses heavenly wisdom into his life and causes a new creation to grow in him. A Christian is supposed to grow in knowing God and His grace.
2 Peter 3:18a
But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
The problem we face is that we all suffer from old man amnesia and have a rebel in us who keeps turning to man-made options and different religious exercises instead of deepening our understanding of the Gospel and applying it to our daily lives.
Martin Luther comments in his commentary of Galatians:
This is a righteousness hidden in a mystery, which the world does not know, yea, Christians themselves do not thoroughly understand it, and can hardly take hold of it in their temptations. Therefore it must be diligently taught and continually practiced. And whoso does not understand or apprehend this righteousness in afflictions and terrors of conscience, must needs be overthrown. For there is no comfort of conscience so firm and so sure, as this passive righteousness is.
The gospel of Jesus Christ covers all Christian life and living: It is wisdom from the perfect place, heaven, it is the passive righteousness or in other words "borrowed" righteousness that the believer receives as an undeserved gift, it is grace, and not only that, he is constantly sanctified, separated and purified from glory to glory (2 Cor 3:18), bought free from his old fallen life.
1 Cor 1:30
And because of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption,
THE GOSPEL ENABLES YOU TO GLORY GOD
15 But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and who called me by his grace, 16 was pleased to reveal his Son to me, in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles…
Paul, like every believer who grows in the knowledge of God's mercy and grace in Christ, wants to please his/her Redeemer and proclaim saving truth to people. When we understand God's grace, it inevitably changes our attitudes and inner desires to worship Him to whom all glory belongs. It changes our priorities and gives us perspectives we didn't have before. It actually empowers us to live a new life because the Gospel is the power of God.
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
This is a heavenly mystery, a mystery that has been fought against throughout history because it reveals our true condition: fallen nature and glorifies the redemptive power of Christ to save us unconditionally, by grace alone. This is contrary to our sinful nature because it reveals our inadequacy to save ourselves. Fallen man is a rebel living in sin, who tries to establish his own paradise without knowing God and his saving grace in Christ.
The Gospel = the Good News makes all the difference.
Do you know it or better: Do you know Him?
 Martin Luther, Commentary on Galatians (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997), 22.
In the mid 60s, Hervanta (part of Tampere city) was originally intended to be built as a garden city.
This great idea was messed up and destroyed by multiple different plans and desires. But do you know where this garden city idea came from in the first place?
It's God's idea! In the Bible chapters Gen 1-2 we find the original plan for humans; the image in which they were created and the environment in which they were planted. The conditions were perfect at first; People enjoyed life and fellowship in all its fullness without any inkling of evil or corruption. They lived together in peace and harmony. Not only was their physical condition perfect, but also their mental health and capacity was excellent. A life without worries or physical or mental distortions. WOW! And not only that their environment was also perfect and produced everything they needed for life and enjoyment. Can you imagine? This was the original plan, the GARDEN that people still long for.
WHAT DESTROYED THIS PERFECT PLACE?
The short answer is the Fall of men. The first couple, Adam and Eve, fell into the temptation, the lie set by the father of lies, Satan, and wanted to define for themselves what is right and wrong. They decided to disobey their Creator and create their own rules and lifestyle. This leads to great suffering, corruption and even death, not only for their lives but for all future generations. Even nature was corrupted and has been suffering ever since. Adam and Eve were sent into exile from this beautiful garden. They could not live in that perfect place because they were now imperfect, marred by sin and disobedience to their Creator. They carried death within them.
Now comes the bad news: you have inherited the same problem! We humans also live in exile, as refugees trying to survive in this broken world and make the most of it while we live. God has placed in our hearts the desire to seek something that will last and fulfill our inner longings.
The OT book Ecclesiastes chapter 3:11 puts it this way:
He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man's heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.
So we are all looking for something that we actually lack and living conditions where there is no more impermanence. This can be seen in many ways as we seek to fill this void. The problem is that we cannot solve this problem with human efforts. Many have tried with different religions and worldviews, bringing even more destructive results to this world. The sin problem can’t be resolved by any human effort. We need someone who is not part of this problem and is able to deal with our toxic nature. We seek the way home.
The Apostle Paul puts it this way:
19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. 23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.
IS THERE ANY REDEMPTION TO THIS TRAGIC SITUATION?
God, the Creator, promised to solve this problem by sending a seed that would incarnate into a perfect human being (Gen 3:15). This perfect man would live a perfect life and fulfill all that the first men could not do and live. He would not only live, but die for mankind! By dying, he paid the penalty and redeemed people from their guilt and debt. As the Old Testament foretold in many places, this perfect God-man would not only suffer for the people, but also rise from the dead. So yes, there is redemption for men, but how can it be obtained?
To get back to God's original plan for you, He is calling you to make a U-turn, to start going in the right direction toward God. The key is to turn to the One who made the Way and means to be recreated as a new you. He is the Son of God, Jesus Christ. He holds the keys of life and death and victory for those who come to Him. This applies not only to your life now but also to your future life, your eternity.
THE GARDEN CITY
God has prepared a new world, the Garden City, that is free from all the corruption we experience here on the fallen earth. This is the place we long for and wait for. The door is open to those who come there through Christ Jesus. There is no other way, and therefore your greatest need is to come to Him and ask for forgiveness of your sins and let Him guide you in this life and in the life to come.
Have you heard the call to become a member of this new citizenship that surpasses all other kingdoms and countries?
1Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place[a] of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. 4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”