Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Gospel Stings As It Saves

The Gospel Stings as it Saves
“…the gospel of God…”
Romans 1:1

Untouched Bibles are floating around U.S. homes and stores like bobbing Man-of-War creatures in an ocean. They can be found generously scattered everywhere. Both of these objects produce quite a sting when contact is made with them. Most people realize this and avoid both of them, sometimes at all costs!  
The Man-of-War looks harmless enough with its small, clear balloon-like body trimmed in pink & blue. It floats on the salty sea or sometimes is washed up on the shoreline. But it it is not harmless, it's poisonous. It has long, deceptive tentacles that cause a fiery, long-lasting sting when it touches human skin. There’s more bad news:  the stringy tentacles leave unsightly, burning welts on the skin and it’s a good idea to try to find a lifeguard at the beach who has an antidote for the painful exposure. There is nothing after that because the Man-of-War just stings.  
But the gospel stings and saves! When a person comes in contact with the word of God, there is also a piercing sting; whether the reader knows God or not. Why?  Reading the Bible is like looking in the mirror – it is truth and reality. We might say in the mirror. "Is that really what I look like???? Ewww." “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12). Whew! That’s God Power! The power of the gospel message separates the light from the darkness, exposing everything in its wake.  We’re either going to hate the fact that God knows and sees everything about each one of us or we’re going to find great comfort and joy knowing He loves His children in spite of our sinful stumbling.
Here’s the Good News: The gospel message offers abundance in our lives --here and now -- as well as eternally. It is readily and easily available in the U.S., but people refuse to read it and they use their rebellion to deny God’s existence. The truth is, the Lord knows all, sees all and understands man’s ways. "'Am I only a God nearby, declares the LORD, “and not a God far away? Can anyone hide in the secret places so that I cannot see him?” declares the LORD. “Do I not fill heaven and earth?” declares the LORD''' (Jeremiah 23:24).
The gospel was promised in the Old Testament and was fulfilled in the New Testament. The gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures regarding his Son...” (Romans 1:2). 
Do we get it, yet? “God so loved the world that He gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ have such a love for each other that they are “one” (John 17:22). There is a deep love between them. God LOVES His Son. And yet, “regarding his Son” (Romans 1:1) –His Precious Son -- He let Him suffer a tormenting death, for sinners. God does so love His world and His children.
Jesus is real and He is here. Now. He is HERE. In fact, He is everywhere! Whether we know Him or not He is everywhere, all the time!  “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give an account” (Hebrews 4:13).
After Jesus rose from the dead He appeared to His disciples and ate fish with them. He spoke to them about the promises of the Old Testament being fulfilled. “Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. He told them, ‘This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem” (Luke 24:45-48).
Wow. God’s love for His children is immeasurable. It’s so powerful it covers sins.  It’s unconditional so that we can come to Him just as we are right now. Do you know Him? Do you mock Him? Do you love Him? Are you His?
Sistas, we can’t mess with God and we surely cannot mess with His Son! My Bible says if we do, there’s hell to pay and it’s going to be a much bigger sting than we could ever get from a Man-of-War.

Copyright @2012 Polly Balint, Totally Devoted 3

"The Gospel Stings as it Saves" is the first devotion in the upcoming Totally Devoted 3,
the last of the triliogy of the Totally Devoted series by Polly Balint.