Therefore He who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you, does He do it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?—just as Abraham “believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.”
– NOVEMBER 11 –
THE CRUX OF THE REAL GOSPEL
We know that preaching, hearing, and believing the gospel are so important because they unleash God’s power to save us from every area of defeat in life. But how do we know if we are hearing the real gospel? What sets the true gospel apart from every other “gospel”?
To answer this question, let’s go to the book of Jude. Apostle Jude tells us to “contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 1:3). What is “the faith” here that the church is to contend earnestly for?
My friend, when you hear the word faith mentioned in the New Testament, it refers to “justification by faith”—how one is made righteous before God based solely on his faith in Christ Jesus. This is the crux of the gospel of Jesus Christ. This is why the gospel is called “good news” and this is what sets it apart from all the false gospels.
Unfortunately, what many preach today is hardly good news, because justification by faith has been subtly replaced with justification by works. Yes, they may tell you that you are saved by grace through faith, but then in the same breath they corrupt the simplicity of the gospel by saying that you stay saved or get blessed through works. You’ll also hear about all sorts of things that you need to do for God in order to be qualified through right living. Now, right living is certainly important, but that is not the gospel. Also, right living comes by believing right in the gospel.
The crux of the gospel is not right living or good works, but justification by faith. And the apostle Jude tells us to contend earnestly for this. That term is translated from one Greek word, epagonizomai, from which the English word agony is derived. In other words, epagonizomai literally means “to agonize for.” We are to agonize for the faith! We are to fight for the truth that we are justified by faith and not works. This is the real gospel.
What else does the Bible say about the gospel we are to preach? Romans 1:17 says, “For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, ‘The just shall live by faith.’ ” What is supposed to be revealed in the gospel? Not our sins, as many are fond of preaching, but the righteousness of God! Only hearing about the grace of God and how we are righteous by faith in Christ will set us free from our struggles with sin, addiction, and bondage.
Romans 1:17 also tells us that this righteousness of God that we have in Christ is revealed from “faith to faith” and that the just “shall live by faith.” Can you see this powerful truth? It’s not this idea that once you are saved by grace through faith, you move on to works and watch your performance to maintain your salvation. Many Christians experience abundant joy when they are saved, only to lose that joy quickly when they are told, “Now that you’re saved, you need to work to please God in order to stay saved.”
No, my friend, it’s from faith to faith to faith to faith . . . all the way until we see Jesus face-to-face! This doesn’t mean that there is no place for good works or living a holy life. These are by-products of living from faith to faith. They will be evident in your life when you live believing that you are justified, made righteous, and blessed through faith in Christ. This is the good news that God’s Word exhorts us to fight for—righteousness by faith in Christ alone!
This devotional is adapted from the book Glorious Grace—100 Daily Readings from Grace Revolution.