From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 4:17, ESV)
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. (Titus 2:11-14, ESV)
We are living in a time that the gospel message that Jesus and his apostles preached is being greatly distorted. Any mention of what the Bible teaches as sin draws a swift reaction of being intolerant. The gospel of the Kingdom when clearly proclaimed demands repentance from sin – which is not only a change of mind but also a change of behavior. Repentance is a positive action that we all need to take, it’s not some hateful or harmful message. The fruit of repentance produces the peace of God. To repent the Holy Spirit must help us to understand the difference between light and darkness, truth and error. Repentance is obedience to the truth. And truth is found in the Bible, which by the way is not some outdated book. The true gospel demands that we find our identity in Christ.
A distorted view of the gospel only requires mental assent to the message, and ungodly living seems to be acceptable. That version of the ‘gospel’ saves no one. If we are not willing to walk away from our sin we are not willing to follow Jesus. Some hyper-grace teachers, teach that after we ‘accept’ Jesus we no longer have to ask God to forgive us of sin again, which is a serious misrepresentation of the true gospel message.
Some are teaching that every God rejecting human being will ultimately be saved. That is called universalism and is also a distorted view of the gospel. Jesus died for the whole world to pay the sin debt of all that trust in him alone for salvation. And he rose from the dead so that we to can enjoy new life in him. Trusting in Jesus doesn’t produce sinless perfection, but our goal is to be more like him. The apostle Paul labored in teaching and prayer so that Christ would be fully formed in Christians.
“my little children, for whom I am again in the anguish of childbirth until Christ is formed in you!” (Galatians 4:19, ESV)
Our spiritual formation is a life long process. The blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin and forgiveness is available to all that acknowledge sin. As Arthur Pink said, “The Son of God did not come here to save His people in their sin, “but from their sins” (Matthew1:21). – Bobby