Archive | June 2014

How does the gospel save me?

It’s often difficult to accept and truly believe that all we need is to believe that the gospel of Jesus Christ is complete and sufficient for us. That all we will ever need is contained in the story of Jesus and in there we find the means to an end and the end itself.

I have recently woken up to the reality that is the gospel and really got sold to its truth. As I start to understand the person of Jesus and understand him as totally God even though he lived as a human man in a historical context at a specific geographical space. Through me seeing Jesus as depicted in 2 Cor 4:4-6 I get to accept and live as though the gospel is the whole truth. In this acceptance, I also get to unmask the character that the world has turned him into: contrary to popular belief and accepted world view.

In the acceptance, I discard the view that makes him a man of weakness who avoids conflict at all costs. It also means taking a view that says: He is not a moral teacher seen along the same lines as Ghandi, Martin Luther King Jr or our very own Nelson Mandela. Also He is no spiritual guru to be quoted and used to feed our inflated need to sound wise. Jesus is not a mythical character that lacks relevance to reality or a fictional abstract creature that cannot relate with real humans that walk the earth. In this acceptance, I also experience the light of the gospel shinning through to me which then moves me from blindness to sight which makes John Newton make sense in his Amazing Grace song.

“Amazing grace, how sweet the sound…” So begins one of the most beloved hymns of all times. The author of the words, John Newton, was the self-proclaimed wretch who once was lost but then was found, saved by amazing grace of God Abba Father.

Newton was born in London July 24, 1725, the son of a commander of a merchant ship which sailed the Mediterranean seas. When John was eleven, he went to sea with his father and made six voyages with him before the elder Newton retired. In 1744 John was impressed into service on a man-of-war. Finding conditions on board intolerable, he deserted but was soon recaptured and publicly flogged and demoted from midshipman to common seaman.

Finally at his own request he was exchanged into service on a slave ship, which took him to the coast of Sierra Leone in Africa. He then became the servant of a slave trader and was brutally abused. Early in 1748 he was rescued by a sea captain who had known John’s father. John Newton ultimately became captain of his own ship, one which plied the slave trade.

Although he had had some early religious instruction from his mother, who had died when he was a child, he had long since given up any religious convictions. However, on a homeward voyage, while he was attempting to steer the ship through a violent storm, he experienced what he was to refer to later as his “great deliverance.” He recorded in his journal that when all seemed lost and the ship would surely sink, he exclaimed, “Lord, have mercy upon us.” Later in his cabin he reflected on what he had said and began to believe that God had addressed him through the storm and that grace had begun to work for him.

For the rest of his life he observed the anniversary of May 10, 1748 as the day of his conversion, a day of humiliation in which he subjected his will to a higher power. Total surrender to God and the acceptance of the gospel of Jesus Christ as the only truth also denotes being sold to the reality that Jesus is God and only He can safe me from the highway to hell (in other words, unless I believe in him I will perish but if I do believe I will have eternal life).