Jesus is the standard. And that is the best news ever! - 10/06/19
The Big Idea
Jesus is the standard. And that is the best news ever!
What does scripture tell us?
2 Corinthians 5:21
For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness 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. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”
What do we know?
What is the highest grade you can get on a test? For most tests the highest grade is 100. Then there are tests like the ACT or SAT that have different scoring but have a maximum score. A perfect score. A standard. What happens when you get an answer wrong on any test? You no longer have a perfect score. Bummer. But hey, missing one question isn’t bad.
This is how we see sin, however, this is not how sin works.
What is a standard? It’s a rule or principle that is used as a basis for judgment; A basis of comparison created by an authority. Who do you think sets the ultimate standard?
What is the gospel? We hear the word gospel a lot but do we clearly know what it is. Have you heard it called “the good news”? That is how the greek word for gospel is translated. We also hear gospel and think of the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, since they are called the gospels.
When we talk about “the gospel”, we are talking about God's plan of redemption and salvation. It’s not a moment in time but the fulfillment of a promise from the beginning of time all the way to the end of time. And at the center is Jesus - who He is and what He has done. Jesus is the standard by which we will all be judged, which is why the gospel is such good news.
In this lesson we are going to be covering a lot so you can get the full extent of the gospel.
If the gospel is the good news, what’s the bad news
Since we have the gospel - the good news - is there bad news? Sadly, yes. We will stand before God and be properly judged for what we have done. Romans 3:23 tells us that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”. Oooh, not looking good for us.
Sin is a challenging thing to talk about. We want to do what we want to do and not have anyone tell us we can’t. We don’t want to feel limited do we? With rules and limitations, there are chances that we can mess up and be wrong. Nobody likes to hear that they are wrong or have done wrong. But with sin we wrong God. We break the standard that He set for us.
Earlier it was called out that we see sin as missing a question on a test and getting a less than perfect score. In James 2:10 we are told, “For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become guilty of all of it.” It is all or nothing when it comes to God. He wants our whole devotion. He wants our whole heart. Less than whole is less than love.
We humans were created in a way that we could choose to love God or not. He made all of creation. He said, “here are so many great things for you, just avoid this one thing”. Then what? Well that’s easy, sin right? Yes, but follow me here. We can look at the act committed by Adam and Eve and think the sin was just the act. They took the fruit and ate, boom, sin! But go back to what was just said - we could choose to love God or not. By eating the fruit, Adam and Eve chose themselves over God. That’s what made their sin so great.
God as creator did not have to make a way for us to be with Him once we messed up. He could have left it solely up to us to never ever commit a sin. But even if we never committed a sin ourselves we still have original sin from Adam and Eve.
Good thing God made a promise. He would establish a new standard in Jesus.
Jesus is the promise
The first time we see the promise of Jesus is in Genesis 3:15 with God talking to the serpent, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” This is called the Protoevangelium, the first announcement of the gospel. What we see here is that from the beginning, God declared there would be a way for all that was just broken to be fixed.
There are many prophecies about the Messiah that would come and rule forever. These prophecies were revealing who God the Father would send and sit on the eternal throne. These weren’t just predictions, they were promises to come. These were promises that Jesus came and fulfilled.
Jesus tells us how the scriptures, referring to the Old Testament, point to Him. In John 5:39, Jesus is talking to the Jewish authorities when he tells them “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me,”. Then in Luke 24:25–27, “And he said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.”
Some of the prophetic verses in the Old Testament include (1)
He would come from the seed/offspring of Abraham and would bless all the nations on earth (Genesis 12:3).
He would be a “prophet like Moses” to whom God said we must listen (Deuteronomy 18:15).
He would be born in Bethlehem of Judah (Micah 5:2).
He would be born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14).
He would have a throne, a kingdom and a dynasty, or house, starting with King David, that will last forever (2 Samuel 7:16).
He would be called “Wonderful Counselor,” “Mighty God,” “Everlasting Father,” “Prince of Peace,” and would possess an everlasting kingdom (Isaiah 9:6-7).
He would ride into Jerusalem on a donkey, righteous and having salvation, coming with gentleness (Zechariah 9:9-10).
He would be pierced for our transgressions and crushed for our iniquities (Isaiah 53:5).
He would die among the wicked ones but be buried with the rich (Isaiah 53:9).
He would be resurrected from the grave, for God would not allow His Holy One to suffer decay (Psalm 16:10).
If these promises weren’t fulfilled in Jesus, then He would have just been a man making a false claim. But we know different. We know different because the apostles knew different. Jesus was revealed to them, specifically Peter (Matthew 16:16), and they got to see what the gospel in action was all about.
Jesus is the gospel in action
Jesus’ earthly ministry only lasted 3 years. When we think about Jesus, or are being talked to about Jesus, our minds tend to think of what He did during those 3 years. We hear about the miracles. We hear about the teaching. We can now read and talk about all the things Jesus did and taught. Even though the events happened nearly 2000 years ago, Jesus death and resurrection made the gospel active.
When someone comes to accept Jesus and proclaim Him as Lord and Savior, we usually hear it happens after they hear the gospel. Romans 1:16 tells us the gospel is “the Power of God for salvation”. When we believe the gospel, we believe Jesus takes away our sins and saves us. We repent of our sins and confess to Him that He is our Lord. When Jesus becomes our Lord, He is the standard God sees when He looks at us. He is the only one that can give us this gift and will continue to shape us through the Holy Spirit. We trust in the work of God from the beginning of time until the time when Jesus returns. We don’t know the future but we trust and follow Jesus’ teachings and scripture to grow us. We put our faith fully in Jesus because He is the standard.
Jesus’ saving work is in action as we speak. It is a living thing that will continue until He returns. When we know how the gospel saves and we are saved by grace through faith, our life begins to change. Graciousness grows greater in us. Forgiveness finds more ears. All of this comes from a great and good God.
Let’s finish with a quote from the great preacher Charles Spurgeon. “The God of the past has blotted out your sin, the God of the present makes all things work together for your good, the God of the future will never leave you or forsake you.”
Walter C. Kaiser, Jr., “The Promise of the Messiah”, (November 22, 2006), https://billygraham.org/decision-magazine/november-2006/the-promise-of-the-messiah/