The Power of the Gospel, Part 12

Romans 1:16 – “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.”

Colossians 1:13 – “For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son,”

If the Lord Jesus Christ who is King of Kings came to deliver His people from the dominion of darkness, Satan, and sin (Col 1:13), then a person only has Christ if that person is broken from the bondage of sin. A true believer in Christ is one that has Christ the King in his or her soul. The Gospel is powerful because King Jesus is powerful in the soul. The true believer is one that has been transferred from the domain and dominion of darkness which consists in the power of the loves and lusts of the self-centered heart. The true believer is one that is now in the kingdom of Christ which is to be under the reign and rule of Jesus Christ. It is not that the believer is just one who has prayed a prayer and made some changes in the behavior, but the true believer is the one that God has changed the heart. A believer is one whose deepest beliefs, convictions and loves come from the indwelling Christ.

This certainly does not mean that a person will be perfect, but simply that the Gospel of Jesus Christ does deliver a person from bondage by the power of the Gospel or the power of God in Christ. The true believer in Christ Jesus is one who has Christ Jesus as his or her true belief because Christ is the life of the heart of that person. No longer is that person is bondage to the death of spiritual self. No longer is that person ruled over by his or her own lusts of deceit. No longer is that person in bondage to the ways of the world. The believer is indeed not a perfect person, but now the believer has life in Christ. Now the believer has the life of Christ in him or her. Now the believer has the Holy Spirit restraining sin and working to extricate sin. Now the believer has the power of God working in him or her to kill sin and to bow in complete submission to the living God.

We are so used to hearing something called the gospel that depends upon the act of human beings. But the Gospel of Jesus Christ depends upon the acts of the living God. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the power of God for salvation and not the power of man to save self. The Gospel of Jesus Christ demands that the Gospel be the power of God because no human being has the power to overcome one little sin. No human being has the power to change his or her heart or to overcome the deceitful heart of self. No human being can do one thing to rescue him or herself from the dominion of the devil and of darkness. The devil has far more power than human beings and far more wisdom. He has a human heart that loves self to work with. No human being can outwit or overpower the evil one who works in the human according to that human’s love which is for self. All that the unbeliever sees is through the eyes of self. All that the unbeliever loves is out of love for self. The unbeliever hates because self-love is threatened. The unbeliever hates when the authority and sufficiency of self is threatened. So the unbeliever can and will never be able to extricate him or herself from the power and web of deceit that the evil one has thrown over his or her mind and heart. Only the power of God and His Gospel can do that.

It is said that the most dangerous thing to a lifeguard is the person that is drowning will fight too much and prevent himself from being saved and also be a great danger to the lifeguard. That is a picture of what happens when a false gospel is given to people. They are told that if they will pray a prayer or make a decision that they will be saved. Those are nothing but the actions of the dead self and cannot save because only the Gospel of God is powerful to salvation. A sinner must give up in total despair of all hope in self and look to the true power that will truly save. In 1671 Joseph Alleine wrote An Alarm to the Unconverted. In it he told sinners that “Never think you can convert yourself. If ever you would be savingly converted, you must despair of doing it in your own strength. It is a resurrection from the dead (Eph 2:1), a new creation (Gal 5:15; Eph 2:10), a work of absolute omnipotence (Eph 1:19). Are not these out of the reach of human power? If you have no more than you had by your first birth, a good nature, a meek and chaste temper etc., you are a stranger to true conversion. This is a supernatural work.” We read of the older writers saying things like this over and over. Today we are told not to offend people and to tell people things they can do. That is nothing more and nothing less than the devil would tell people. People must see the depths of their sin and the bondage they are in or they will not give up all hope in themselves and be turned to be like little children who look to receive Christ and Christ alone. The Gospel is of infinite power or we have no hope. The Gospel is the work of the power of God and He will not share His glory. We must be broken from self.

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