Which Jesus are you Trusting?

In our last post we saw that the whole gospel is the gospel of grace. It is “Christ alone.” But which Christ are we talking about? Which Jesus are you trusting in?

-    Is it the baby Jesus who appears each Christmas?
–    Is it the tolerant teacher who was friendly to sinners?
–    Is it Jesus on the cross dying for the sins of the world?

Hopefully, it is none of the above. This may shock you but none of these Jesuses is particularly good news. There is only one Jesus that saves, delivers, heals, rescues, and gives new life, and that is the risen Jesus, seated at the right hand of God.

The resurrection is not simply an Easter sermon. It is the reason the good news is good.

-    Baby Jesus is good news but it is not good enough.
–    Jesus the friend of sinners is good news but it is not good enough.
–    Jesus dying on the cross is certainly very good news but it is not good enough. A dead Jesus saves no one.

If Jesus had not been raised to new life, then everything he did was for nought. Consider the evangelist who tells sinners, “Jesus died on the cross for your sins.” That’s wonderful but how do we know Jesus’ death was a sufficient sacrifice? How do we know that all our sins – past, present, and future – have been eternally forgiven?

Answer: Because Jesus was raised from the dead.

He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification. (Rom 4:25)

It is because Jesus has been raised from the dead that you have been justified and made wholly righteous by God. This is the good news. Selah.The resurrection’s the thing

It’s important that you get this. A gospel which proclaims the cross but not the resurrection is not the whole gospel. A gospel which proclaims a dead Jesus but not a living, all-conquering, ruling and reigning King Jesus, is not the whole gospel. If you would preach the whole gospel, then tell the whole story, not the one that ends at Calvary.

Why am I telling you this?

I recently heard a story about a man called Stan who battled with alcoholism for more than 40 years. (The story is told by Bob George in his book Classic Christianity.) Stan had given his life to Jesus but nothing changed. The drinking continued as before. One night the man came home in such a state that his wife called Bob George. “Please come and talk to him.” Bob went around and was inspired to ask the following question:

“Stan, when you accepted Christ, which Jesus did you believe in? Did you have in mind an honorable man who lived 2000 years ago before and died on a cross? Stan, did you accept Jesus the man? Or did you accept Jesus Christ the God who became a man and was raised from the dead? The Lord Jesus who is alive today and offers his life to you?”

Stan replied that he had put his faith in Jesus the man. Bob asked if he was willing to put his trust in Jesus the living God. Stan was and he was completely delivered from alcoholism that night.

What you believe determines what you see

If you don’t believe that Jesus heals today, guess what, you won’t get healed. If you don’t believe that Jesus conquered death in order that we might enjoy new life here and now, guess what. You won’t experience new life here and now. Your life will be no different from your unsaved neighbor’s, except that you dress up and go to church on Sundays.

The outcome of the gospel is not merely the forgiveness of sins, as wonderful as that is. It is literally new life – his life. What does this new life look like? It looks like freedom. It is the prisoner freed from her captivity and the alcoholic liberated from his dependency.

This doesn’t mean that if you are sick or struggling with addiction, you are not fully saved. If you believe Jesus is Lord and that God raised him from the dead, then you are saved! One-hundred percent saved. Rest in God’s promise and let nothing move you. But at the same time, don’t make friends with your enemies. If you’re battling with illness, work out in your experience that awesome gift of salvation that you have already received. Talk to your problems about your mighty God and what he has done for you.

My point is this: many Christians settle at the cross. They are so grateful for grace and forgiveness that they camp at Calvary and miss the point of the resurrection. They lead others to the cross and no further and the result is powerless, fruitless Christianity.

God saved us so that we might live, really live here and now. Eternal life is knowing God in your present circumstances and trials (John 17:3). It’s a whole new reality.

Which Jesus?

The gospel of grace reveals a certain Jesus and it is this one:

This good news is about his Son, our Lord Jesus Christ! As a human, he was from the family of David. But the Holy Spirit proved that Jesus is the powerful Son of God, because he was raised from death. (Rom 1:3-4, CEV)

Confess Jesus as Lord and you shall be saved, but do you know what the word “Lord” means? It means Jesus has power and authority. It means he is the living king (not a dead martyr); he is on the throne (not on the cross).

When you proclaim the Lord Jesus over your addictions and failings, you are making a bold declaration of faith. You’re saying:

escape_tombAddiction (or illness), you have a strong grip on me but the Lord Jesus is stronger still. I cannot defeat you in my strength, but let me tell you about Jesus my God at whose name every knee shall bow, including yours.

What does James say? Does he say, “Submit yourselves to Jesus the tolerant teacher”? “Submit yourselves to Jesus the dead Messiah”? No!

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (James 4:7)

As Stan’s story illustrates, the devil doesn’t flee from those who know Jesus as man. But those who know their God shall be strong and do exploits. They shall walk through the fires of life and not be burned (Is 43:2).

Related links
- Not by sight
- Does God give and take away?
- Life doesn’t have the last word (when you’re walking in the spirit)

Comments

  1. Hi Paul. I have been wondering for awhile if you have considered making your blog material more searchable. What I find happens is that I am having a conversation with friends about grace and someone quotes part of a bible verse that challenges what I am saying. And then I think “hey didnt Paul write something about that?” But then I am often unable to find it again as the archives are not searchable apart from short hash tags.

    A good example is the phrase “work out your salvation with fear and trembling”.

    The only other thing I can think of is to hashtag key biblical phrases but this could be cumbersome in the index?

    Perhaps it is possible to put a searchable site engine onto your hosted web blog that would search through the text of your posts? Sorry but I am not IT savvy enough to know what is possible and what is not.

    Thanks anyway for bothering to write the material in the first place. Your material together with discussions with Christian friends is changing my relationship with Jesus, and it’s great!

    Rebecca :-)

    • Hi Rebecca, thanks for your comment. I have long tried to make the site more searchable but I’m lacking good ideas. The WordPress search engine is pretty useless. The subject index you see on the Archives page is made by hand and doesn’t update itself. Really, nothing works better than Google. For instance, if you google “escape to reality fear and trembling” you will get a link straight to the relevant post. You will also find that post if you click on “salvation” in the subject index.

      • Well your–search your site– sure worked for me. Thanks so much for adding it. I just typed in Bob George and up this post came. I wanted to tell you how well Our Gospel in 10 words bible study went over. We all got so much out of it disscussing it with your 2 questions. I am hoping to get my Lutheran ladies doing your study also. Time for me to buy more GI10W’s.
        I am down to my last book again (27). Seven or so were gifts and the others I loaned out but they never get returned. I just did a study on Tim Keller’s “The Prodical God” and it was very good. I am waiting to start Covent History from Biblica.com. I think every church should do their “The Books of the Bible” study.
        The NIV is not my favorite but reading the bible in this order sure explains how we came to learn mixture when we should have embraced Grace.

  2. good point to remember,he is the Lord of life,just to make a point, in grace there is such freedom ,let us not make it a law ,or a step by step program..

  3. Hi Paul. I would just like to say thank you very musch for your blog.I live in South Africa and I get really joyful when a new post comes out. I have just finished your book ” The Gospel In Ten Words” and it is awesome. I wish I could have everyone I know read it. Your articulation of the Good News of Grace is wonderful and with the result peace floods my soul. Please keep it flowing as the Holy Spirit leads. Thank you once again, Robin.

    • Hi Robin, thanks for the feedback! I’m glad you liked the book. One way to encourage others to read it – if you have a couple of minutes – is to write a review on Amazon. The more reviews the book gets, the higher it’ll feature in Amazon searches. Thanks!

  4. I enjoy telling Pastors that I am in Christ and am now unable to sin anymore, this usually results in some emotional discussion. I will end the discussion telling the Pastor that the only sin I can commit is to reject Christ and if I do commit any other intentional sin it is because I never knew the right Christ in the first place the love of Jesus is not in me ( The wrong Christ was preached to me) my unintentional sins are covered so they do not count therefore if I am in Christ as the word says I am free from the law and sin.Unable to sin anymore.. if it is a law preacher at this stage i will receive blatant condemnation from him he will tell me just how sinful I am and will only fall just short of accusing me of being possessed.The opposition to the message off Grace is Strong. .

  5. Tim Johnson says:

    Thanks! That was really for me.

    • My approach to life is this, in all things I will be humble and back down not to cause or give offence but when it comes to the message of the cross, the manifestation of the Messiah.I will not back away I will not compromise I will give offence and I will take offence . I recently had a discussion with an elder in a Church on the message off Grace , it ended with him quoting the scripture where the soldier had tried to prevent the Ark from falling of the cart and insinuated that I was trying to protect God.He failed to see the real message in this story the Ark was never meant to be carried on a cart, David had instructed for it to be moved in this fashion , but God had previously instructed that it only be carried by the Priests by means of a pole through the rings. I believe the real lesson in this event is not that God will strike us dead if we try to protect him , but that when Anointed leaders instruct their followers to carry the presence of God in a manner contrary to his instruction it can result in the death (old testament) spiritual Death (new testament) of that person , I believe that soldier is in heaven (saved) in the same way you can be saved but spiritually dead in other words spiritually ineffective. I believe that God was speaking to this elder.Even when we strike the Rock it may give water but there is no continued blessing.

      I love the Law of God it inspires me . I enjoy reading the old Testament and Torah more than the new Testament I believe it speaks more of Christ than the new testament. it illustrates mans futile work.

      The Freedom Liberty and Victory in Christ is not to be compromised.
      The Cross is not a Sunday school story to believe in it is the Power of God and it will change a life without any help from that life, and it will continue to do so, again with no assistance, other than the belief that it can.

      All this I do not believe. I Know it is true !!

      Radically Saved
      Chris van Rooyen

  6. Thanks for this article. Really hits the nail on the head! I have taken it to heart for myself and am praying it’s message for my loved ones….no longer a baby, not just a good man or prophet, certainly not hanging on the cross or dead in the tomb, but ALIVE and seated at the right of hand. What an awesome message for Christmas! Blessings to you as you keep on writing and sharing the whole gospel!

  7. Hi Paul I agree the Cross without the resurrection is powerless and of no effect, Paul’s definition of the good news was Jesus resurrected. I am looking forward to reading your book. Great site this with provoking insights, true but thought provoking.

    Can you Recommend a good Church in Auckland.

    Chris.

  8. Thank you Paul for this post.It is so timely.As I was cleaning out a drawer in my night stand guess what book I found?Classic Christianity.I do not remember reading this earlier.I skimmed through the book and thought,wow this sounds like GRACE.My mind turned to you when I was reading it,thinking this would be a great book for Paul Ellis.Ha Ha!

    The Lord is helping to establish me in his wonderful resurrection power of grace.I am in the process of moving after my DH passed.I don’t want to move but I have to.Let’s just say it is very emotional.Loss and moving.I know I have hope for the future because of Jesus and He is ALIVE in me.

    You were born Paul for such as time as this.Keep up the great work the Lord is doing through you. When the church gets this message it will be a mighty moving force.

  9. Only problem with what you are writhing is that Jesus never was a “tolerant” teacher. He was the most radical teacher that ever walked upon this earth…

    The word radical comes from the Latin word Radix, meaning Root. Being radical is to attack the root of the problem. To be soft like the religious leaders of the time were is to attack the surface of the problem. Religions greatest fear is the absence of sin. Because as long as there are sin, the can keep up with their holly appearance and at the same time they can go on condemning those who’s appearance does not meet their standards.

    This was the real issue between Jesus and the religious leaders. Jesus came to take away the sin of the world. And where there is no sin, there is no condemnation. And where there is no condemnation, there is no room for religion. Sin and condemnation is the fuel that runs the religious Matrix. That’s why the religious leaders hated Jesus. They could see that Jesus was about to put them out of business.

    No, my friend – Jesus was not a tolerant teacher, he was the most radical teacher that ever lived.

  10. I can feel god’s words in what Paul’s saying. He definitely needs to write a book, I’d buy it.

  11. Shelton Gaines says:

    In 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 Paul is speaking to the church at corinth and he said first of all I declare unto you the gospel, then he goes on to say that by which also ye are saved, then he tells them what the gospel is and he says that it is the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ according to the scriptures. How is it then that you are saying that none of the other parts except for the resurrection has no meaning when it comes to salvation when Paul clearly states that it does and this is coming from a prisoner of the Lord. Please check out Romans 1:16 because it says different there also. Don’t get me wrong maybe I am not understanding you fully but as men of God if we are going to teach someone something then let’s do it the right way.

  12. I know you’re busy Paul so I don’t know if you’ll answer this but in the last post you said you would talk about in this post what we should preach. I agree we should preach Christ and Christ alone but some don’t want to do that and like you said they think we should preach on confession, fasting, prayer, turning from sin, etc. So for example they might want to preach Gal 5 about the works of the flesh. I believe Jesus is on every page in the Bible but how do you see Christ in those few scriptures or ones like them? Can anyone else comment on this please as Paul may not have the time? Thanks

Tell us what you think (<250 words)...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s