What is the gospel? The greatest question that a man has to deal with if he is truly concerned about his own soul is this: “how can a man be right with God?” The answer to this specific question is the glorious gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Also, a true understanding of God’s character and ours is crucial in answering this question. Since God is holy, just, perfect, and free from all sins, and humanity is fallen, corrupt, and sinful rebels, becoming right with God seems to be an irresolvable problem.
The Divine Dilemma
This is what most of the theologians called the Divine Dilemma.. The word “dilemma” is defined by Merriam-Webster as “a situation in which a person has to choose between things that are all bad or unsatisfactory ”. So, when you are in a dilemma, you enter a situation that seems to offer no acceptable solution. You cannot understand the gospel, the divine solution, without the divine dilemma.
In the Scriptures this is the greatest dilemma: God is good and we are not, God is righteous and we are sinners, God is holy and we are profane. Acting with justice, God must punish. If He gives what men deserve, all will be condemned and all will perish eternally under His wrath in hell. But in the Bible, we know that God forgives.
Can’t God just simply forgive us all? After all, He commanded us to forgive freely, right? There are three reasons why God cannot simply do that:
- God is not like us. We can simply forgive others for their offense. But for God, any form of sin is an insult to His Holy character. God cannot let the guilty go unpunished. To do otherwise is to deny His character and His glorious justice.
- God cannot contradict Himself. There’s no higher law to which He appeals to. He cannot simply ignore His justice to give way for His other attributes to shine. Love and justice goes together.
- God is the judge of all. If an earthly judge simply pardons a criminal who committed murder, he would be the most unjust judge. We expect a just judge to act justly and the Judge of all the earth must do right! It is a basic expectation in an earthly court and we must not expect otherwise in a heavenly court.
The question now becomes:
How can God be just and the justifier of the unjust men without compromising His own justice?
Let us first hear the testimony of the Scripture about God’s response to wicked men and their sins.
Exo 23:7 Keep far from a false charge, and do not kill the innocent and righteous, for I will not acquit the wicked.
Rom 4:5 And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness...
Pro 17:15 He who justifies the wicked and he who condemns the righteous are both alike an abomination to the LORD.
It is clear from the verses above that God will not acquit (Hebrew word tsadeq, which means, to justify, vindicate, or declare right) the wicked, and no man is righteous, all of us sinned against Him. However, the next verse tells us that God justifies the ungodly. Now, the last verse says that it is an abomination to justify the wicked. This is the same word (Hebrew word tow`ebah) used to describe homosexuality in Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13. So, it is an abominable, detestable and even disgusting act to justify the wicked. Indeed, this is one of the strongest word to describe sinful humanity in the Scripture. But far be it from the Righteous One to be described with these words! Are you now seeing the dilemma with much clarity?
Let us rephrase our initial inquiry sharply:
“How can the perfect God justify the wicked in a way that is not abominable or detestable to His holy and righteous character?”
Here’s another verse that is worth our close attention:
5 And the Lord descended in the cloud and stood there with him as he called upon the name of the Lord. 6 Then the Lord passed by in front of him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord God, compassionate and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in faithfulness and truth; 7 who keeps faithfulness for thousands, who forgives wrongdoing, violation of His Law, and sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished, inflicting the punishment of fathers on the children and on the grandchildren to the third and fourth generations.”
In this passage, we read a clear declaration of God’s attributes passed before Moses’ eyes that God gives on the one hand, forgiveness from all sins, and on the other hand punishment against all forms of wickedness. His justice is so certain that He is even said to be inflicting punishment down to the fourth generation.
But the LORD in other passages actually forgives, in Romans 4:7-8 we read,
7“Blessed are those whose lawless deeds have been forgiven,
And whose sins have been covered.
8 Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will not take into account.”
Without a doubt, the Paul under the inspiration of the Spirit writes that David is the one whose lawless deeds have been forgiven, sins have been cleansed, and whose sin will not be taken into account. These three magnificent phrases were written to refer to a sinful man. Paul Washer1 asked “How can both statements be true? The same Scripture that promises pardon for all kinds of sin warns that God will not forgive the guilty or leave him unpunished.”
The Divine Solution
If we have a problem that seems to be irresolvable, then we have a solution that is totally amazing! In Romans 3:21-26, we find the heartbeat of the heart of the gospel,
21 But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 but it is the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in God’s merciful restraint He let the sins previously committed go unpunished; 26 for the demonstration, that is, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
In this passage we see that in Christ God maintained His righteousness in forgiving sinners like you and me. Three times, the Apostle Paul writes that God’s righteousness was demonstrated and manifested. The divine dilemma is answered by the glorious gospel of the LORD Jesus Christ. The cross of Christ is the theatre upon which we see the brightness of God’s love, holiness, grace, justice, righteousness, and mercy shines together. The demand of God’s justice is fulfilled in the death of Christ and the proof that God was satisfied was seen in the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. The late founder of Ligonier Ministries, R.C Sproul writes,
The good news of the Gospel is that Jesus lived a life of perfect righteousness, of perfect obedience to God, not for His own well being but for His people. He has done for me what I couldn’t possibly do for myself. But not only has He lived that life of perfect obedience, He offered Himself as a perfect sacrifice to satisfy the justice and the righteousness of God.
God Himself became a Man (Philippians 2:5-8), bore the sins of His people by shedding His blood on the cross of Calvary (1 Peter 2:24), suffered the divine judgment and drank the cup of God’s wrath against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men (Rom 1:18).
This is the good news of the gospel, and those who repent of their sins and trust in Him by faith alone will be saved. You will have His perfect righteousness clothed upon you and His perfect blood to wash from all your sins. You will not only be forgiven but you will also be given a new heart (Jeremiah 31:31-34) that you may love Him truly. My friend, this is the ONLY SOLUTION to your dilemma. Are you now concerned about your soul’s eternal destiny? You can be right with God though Christ alone. Come to Him for pardon and be cleansed within!
SOLI DEO GLORIA!
*The cover photo was taken from Pixabay.com by qimono
1 In this study, I used Paul Washer’s book Discovering the Glorious Gospel
19 thoughts on “The Glorious Gospel”
Good Gospel driven post with a biblical view of God’s attributes, sin, man and grace!
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To God be the glory! I taught this to the Young men from our and other churches
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Praise the Lord glad to hear that and also see you cited Washer
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Paul Washer’s book has really been a great help for the people of God!
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Praise the Lord
Where do you get it from that “God Himself became a Man (Philippians 2:5-8), and would “bore the sins of His people by shedding His blood on the cross of Calvary (1 Peter 2:24)” God is Spirit and like Jesus said a spirit has no blood.
“5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in the Messiah Yahshua: 6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” (Php 2:5-8 KJBPNV)
Being equal or on the same foot does not mean being the same being. Jesus is the sent one from God who like other prophets got layed sinews upon him, and got flesh upon him, and was covered by the Highest with skin, and received breath in him, and had live in him; and he like other prophets knew that the Divine Creator is Jehovah. (Eze 37:6) We too should know that the Only True God is Jehovah (Eze 37:13 )
Jesus is the True God 1 John 5:20. By the way, what does the phrase “in the form of God” means? And how did He demonstrated His humility in Philippians 2:5ff that you quoted?
“god” means to be or stands for an important person and as such angels but also Moses, Pharaoh, Baal, Apollo, Beelzebub and others are called gods but are not The God.
Nowhere is written that God says Jesus is Him, the Elohim Hashem Jehovah. At more than one place, God declared Jesus to be His son. Also at more than one occasion Jesus declared God his heavenly Father. Also in the verse you quote it is pointed at the fact that God is the father Who loves His son:
“ For the Father loveth the Son, and showeth him all things that himself doeth: and greater works than these will he show him, that ye may marvel.” (Joh 5:20 ASV)
Why do you not believe what is written in that and other verses of the Bible, like the one where Jesus also says that Allah, the God Jehovah, his heavenly Father, his greater than him and that he cannot do anything without the power of this God, Who has granted him authority and Who had given Jesus the commandment to speak and act in God His Name?
“27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be fearful. 28 ¶ Ye heard how I said to you, I go away, and I come unto you. If ye loved me, ye would have rejoiced, because I go unto the Father: for the Father is greater than I. 29 And now I have told you before it come to pass, that, when it is come to pass, ye may believe. 30 I will no more speak much with you, for the prince of the world cometh: and he hath nothing in me; 31 but that the world may know that I love the Father, and as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do. Arise, let us go hence.” (Joh 14:27-31 ASV)
“17 ¶ But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh even until now, and I work. 18 For this cause therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only brake the sabbath, but also called God his own Father, making himself equal with God. 19 Jesus therefore answered and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father doing: for what things soever he doeth, these the Son also doeth in like manner. 20 For the Father loveth the Son, and showeth him all things that himself doeth: and greater works than these will he show him, that ye may marvel. 21 For as the Father raiseth the dead and giveth them life, even so the Son also giveth life to whom he will. 22 For neither doth the Father judge any man, but he hath given all judgment unto the Son; 23 that all may honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. He that honoreth not the Son honoreth not the Father that sent him. 24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth him that sent me, hath eternal life, and cometh not into judgment, but hath passed out of death into life. 25 Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour cometh, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God; and they that hear shall live. 26 For as the Father hath life in himself, even so gave he to the Son also to have life in himself: 27 and he gave him authority to execute judgment, because he is a son of man. 28 Marvel not at this: for the hour cometh, in which all that are in the tombs shall hear his voice, 29 and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of judgment. 30 I can of myself do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is righteous; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. 31 ¶ If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true. 32 It is another that beareth witness of me; and I know that the witness which he witnesseth of me is true. 33 Ye have sent unto John, and he hath borne witness unto the truth. 34 But the witness which I receive is not from man: howbeit I say these things, that ye may be saved. 35 He was the lamp that burneth and shineth; and ye were willing to rejoice for a season in his light. 36 But the witness which I have is greater than that of John; for the works which the Father hath given me to accomplish, the very works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me.” (Joh 5:17-36 ASV)
“ Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I came forth and am come from God; for neither have I come of myself, but he sent me.” (Joh 8:42 ASV)
Don’t cherry pick please. Are you a Christian?
What do you think? And why do you think I would be this or that?
You say, “God is Spirit and like Jesus said a spirit has no blood.”
This displays your ignorance of the Incarnation.
May the LORD help you in your search for the truth. Jesus is the Truth, know Him truly and humbly and you shall be free.
Nowhere in Scriptures is indicated that Jesus would be an incarnation of God. What is clearly indicated is that God declares Jesus to be not Himself but His only begotten beloved son.
Clear? What passage?
God declares Jesus to be His only beloved son.
“21 Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Yahshua also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened, 22 And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, You are my beloved Son; in you I am well pleased. 23 And Yahshua himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli,” (Lu 3:21-23 KJBPNV)
“10 And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him: 11 And there came a voice from heaven, saying, You are my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” (Mr 1:10-11 KJBPNV)
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Yes, He is His Eternal Son (Heb 1)
May I understand from your reply that you now agree that Jesus is the son of God and as such not God? Though you call him also an eternal being, meaning that you do not believe Jesus died and was resurrected, i.e. taken out of the dead!
Jesus being the Son of God does not mean that He is a biological Son. You really do not understand what you are critiquing. You can read the details on my blog.
Is in your ‘Holy Scriptures’ not written that God is an eternal Spirit Being no man can see. But you claim that God would have come to earth, as Jesus Christ > born and then seen by many people, who did not fall to death, which is contrary to the sayings that no man can see God and that God is eternal, meaning having no birth and no death.
If God can not die, because being an eternal Spirit Being, why would he have come to earth to fake his death? What for use were all that acting or theatrical work, doing as if he died and was taken out of the dead?
Have you studied the incarnation?