One True Gospel
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.
John 13:34-35 (NIV)
As Christians, we must never think that we can separate our ethical responsibilities from our salvation. The grace of God, the free, undeserved pardon and reconciliation God has given us in Jesus Christ, is never distinct from right conduct. That’s because righteousness is rooted in right relationships—a right relationship with God and right relationships with our fellow human beings. Love is at the heart of right relationships, and love forms the basis of righteousness. Sin, on the other hand, is whatever damages or destroys those relationships, creating alienation and isolation.
The gospel is all about a return to right relationships. It declares the good news of reconciliation, of restoration of fellowship between estranged parties; that is, between God and humanity. It is a restoration that God himself has brought about though his own Son, Jesus Christ. The Son of God became human, taking upon himself all the alienation and isolation of humanity’s sin, and destroying that alienation and isolation by remaining absolutely faithful to the Father on humanity’s behalf and in humanity’s place as the perfect, and the representative, human being.
In other words, because the Father has, in Christ, brought humanity into the perfect and joyous fellowship of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, you have been restored into right relationship both with God and with your fellow human beings.
You are included and wanted. You belong to your Father, and he loves you with the same love with which he loves his Son, because by his grace you live and move and have your being in his Son. That means that salvation is not merely being saved out of death and the Final Judgment, it is being restored into right relationship with God and fellow human beings. It is being freed from the alienation and isolation of sin. It is being freed to love God and love our fellow man. It is a return to joyful fellowship and it is freedom from the destruction of sin.
Because we are forgiven, we can forgive one another. Because we are forgiven, we can repent of our sins; that is, we can turn back to God who loves us. It’s good news indeed.
Heavenly Father, thank you for your Gospel, the Good News, the only Good News, that we can be restored to you. That you have set out to do just that, through Jesus’ saving work. You even call us, make us conscious of sin, and help us to change from sin to walk your walk. Through Jesus’ name we therefore thank you and praise you.
Study by Joseph Tkach