It was J.D. Hall who said,
"Jesus died for sinners, among whom are child molesters. Jesus bore their sins and died in their place. That's a radical Gospel."
It is truly an amazing thing. God takes a person in open rebellion against him, violating his laws and committing those crimes directly against him. He takes murderers, racists, thieves, adulterers, hypocrites, and blasphemers, and he makes them his children. They do no work to earn it, and can't earn it. There is no way. Just imagine a dead person trying to revive himself. Instead, the guy who we died trying to harm saves our life. That is closer to the gospel, but even that pales in comparison. Ephesians 2:1-6 (ESV) says,
"And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience-- among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus."
It is truly a miracle. Alistair Begg puts it greatly, when he says,
"At best we are but clay, animated dust; but viewed as sinners, we are monsters indeed. Let it be published in heaven as a miracle that the Lord Jesus should set His heart’s love upon people like us."
The same Scottish Pastor and Theologian spoke it well in the interlude to Shai Linne's "Regeneration".
I recall my own story. I was a pride filled young boy. I had a type of religion that I used to fuel that pride, and in the center of that religion was the Prosperity Gospel and Antinomianism (A rejection of God's Law). I was lustful, wrath-filled, dishonest, disobedient, and gossiping. I was an adulterer and murderer at heart. He took me, and he changed me, and he made me a new creature. He forgave me, who had broken his law in every way my sinful heart could. It is truly a miracle. I would see no reason why he would give me such a mercy. Not only that, but even after these years of pride, dishonesty, and so much more, he still kept his patience. He continued in his mercy and did not take away his gift of salvation. And my story is just one of many.
Here's two such stories. One of the Evangelist, Ray Comfort, and the other of the Apologist, David Wood.
It amazes me. I can't find the words to describe it. The infinitely holy God, who has every right to send each of us to Hell for eternity, came to Earth in a humble birth, walked as we did, faced temptation, and suffered oppression after leaving his position of absolute power and authority. He suffered a horrific bloody death he did not deserve, taking upon himself a death everyone deserves. It is truly a radical gospel. He became sin. Read Isaiah 53:4-6.
"Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. 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. 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." (ESV)
"Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends."
It's truly a unique faith. All other faiths, all heresies, all cults, all sects, and all idolatries distort such a gospel by adding works to it or taking important parts away from it. We cannot earn it. I like how Tony Miano puts it. If you came up to me and said, "Brandon, I am going to go clean up your house, do all of your school work, and give you $50 so that I can become your son," I would be flattered you want to help me out so much, but I would reply, "Friend, I'm honored that you want to be my son, but doing these things won't make you my child." But if I had adopted you and you were already my child, and you wanted to do good things for me because you loved me and you were grateful to me for adopting you, then the scenario would work. In the same way, we cannot work for salvation, but instead we work because we love God and are thankful to him. The gift of everlasting life is a free gift, and there's no way you can earn it. If it did depend on us, we'd be in trouble. It is all him, while we are undeserving, and that is what makes it so amazing!
In John 15:13 (ESV), we read,
Romans 5:8 shows us how much greater God's love is than any man when it says,
"...the biblical gospel says, 'You are an enemy of God, dead in your sin, and in your present state of rebellion, you are not even able to see that you need life, much less to cause yourself to come to life. Therefore, you are radically dependent on God to do something in your life that you could never do."
"...but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us."
Being a sinner would make us an enemy of Christ. No man has a greater love than to die for his friends, and God demonstrates his infinitely by dying for his enemies. If that is not an amazing Gospel, I don't know what is.
David Platt, who is known for the use of the term "Radical", states,
This Gospel is truly amazing. To think that sinful man could be forgiven by a God who is infinitely Holy and Just and has every reason and right to stop us in our tracks and send us straight to eternal Hell is unfathomable. It reminds me of the words of Shai Linne, who asked, "How could a Holy God pardon a man? Perhaps even harder to understand, from the beginning it was part of his plan." I cannot wrap my head around why he would want to forgive a rebel such as me. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is, without a doubt, the most amazing doctrine in Christianity, the most amazing Narrative ever written, the most awesome plan ever conceived, and the most magnificent story ever told.
Nepal Earthquake Victims
The Persecuted Church of India
A few atheists who I have discussed with over Twitter
Fred Price, Jr., the Son of Frederick K.C. Price, who I've had the opportunity to witness to
Each Family I have been given the opportunity to give Tracts to
About the Author
Brandon C. Hines is a young writer from somewhere in northern Alabama who writes about Theology, Polemics, and Apologetics. His beliefs are best summarized by the 1689 London Baptist Confession.
You can search for various topics I have written about by going to Google and typing in a keyword, then typing site:Learningthepath.weebly.com after it.