Good morning, brothers in Christ! Today we investigate the keystone of Christianity, the Word of Truth, the Gospel. In studying the gospel in Colossians, I have come upon an analogy of baking. Looking at Colossians 1:5b to 1:23, here is the "recipe of our salvation."
Step Number 1: Gather the Ingredients
...of which you previously heard in the word of truth, the gospel
The ingredients of the "Gospel Recipe" is the
word of truth. These are the facts that must be understood concerning Jesus the Christ. His name (Yeshua/Jesus) discloses who He is and what He did. His name means "God Saves." Another name or title for Jesus is "Christ" or "Messiah." He is the "anointed One" who will save us.
Who Jesus is:
Jesus is the Word (John 1:1). He is
image of the invisible God, the fount of all creation. (Col. 1:15)
. He is the God's
(Col. 1:13). He was also a flesh and blood man, a Jewish carpenter and traveling evangelist.
What Christ did: He came as the promised Messiah/Christ. He lived a sinless life of complete obedience to God. He died on the cross. He was buried. He rose from the dead (the
first born) on the third day, and appeared to the disciples. He ascended to heaven and
sits at the right hand of God (Col. 3:1). He is Lord of all creation, since
by him all things were created...through Him and for Him. (Col. 1:16).
Step Number 2: Preheat Oven
...constantly bearing fruit and increasing, even as it has been doing in you since the day you heard of it and understood the grace of God in truth...since you learned it from Epaphras
...if indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard. (Col. 1:23).
The power of the gospel is faith. The message of the gospel must be
understood and learned
. No faith, no power, no baking! You can have all the ingredients ready to go, but without faith nothing can happen. The gospel ingredients cannot be transformed into a delicious cake.
Our salvation is entirely dependent on believing the gospel, for we are justified by faith, apart from the works of the law (Rom. 3:28). Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved (Acts 16:31).
Step Number 3: Mix the Ingredients
and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross...And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach
This is a critical step, and it is God who performs it. This is where our delicious gospel dessert starts to take form. Every person has two problems which alienate us from the Holy God. We have a long history of sinning (our past sin record) and we will continue to sin in the future (because of our sin nature). We are criminals. We need to have our record expunged. We are criminals. We need to be rehabilitated so we don't end up back in prison tomorrow. As it stands, we are qualified for hell, and totally unqualified for heaven.
God's solution is imputation
. Imputation is a glorious doctrine. Imputation is the greatest trade in history. It is greater than exchanging a few trinkets for the island of Manhattan. Here is this wonderful transaction: all our sins are imputed to Jesus. He paid the penalty for our sin by the
blood of His cross
. But this only takes care of our sin record. What about our eternal future? Even if all our sins (past, present and future) are being forgiven, that only solves one problem. We may escape hell, but we are still not qualified for heaven. This requires a second transaction. Through Him we are credited with the perfect obedience and righteousness of Jesus! What a deal! Jesus gets our sin, paying the penalty of death. We get His righteousness, receiving His reward.
I ran track in college. In order to run in the more important meets, you needed to meet a qualifying standard. Qualifying for heaven is like that. But God's qualifying standard is absolute perfection. No man or woman save One has met that high standard,. It is only by the imputation of the righteousness of Jesus that we are qualified.
Step Number 4: Baking Time
Giving thanks to the Father, who has
us (Col. 1:12).
us from the domain of darkness, and
us to the kingdom of His beloved Son (Col. 1:13).
In whom we
redemption, the forgiveness of sins (Col. 1:14).
Yet He has now reconciled you (Col. 1:22).
It is time for our ingredients to be put in the oven, and the timer set. Cooking time varies greatly, depending on the desire of the Baker. I cooked for 34 years until I was ready to be taken out of the oven on December 8, 1990. For some, cooking time is only 7 or 10 years. For others, 50 or even 70 years of baking is required.
No matter though. Regardless of our cooking time, at some point we will be taken out of the oven. Our salvation is accomplished. Please notice the tense of the verbs in the passages above. He
qualified us. He
. us. He
redemption. He reconciled us. Isn't this amazing! Our salvation is accomplished. This is the great dividing factor between evangelical and Roman Catholic teaching. Rome proclaims that justification is an ongoing process, unfinished until death and some time in purgatory. Initially justified through the sacrament of baptism, our final justification is conditional on our works. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, "Moved by the Holy Spirit and charity, we can then merit for ourselves and others the graces need for our sanctification, for the increase of grace and charity, and for the attainment of eternal life." (CCC 2010).
Justification is indeed an event, not a process. The oven timer went off; Jesus has declared "It is finished!"
Final Step: Tasty Treats!
understood the grace of God in truth (Col. 1:6)
love in the Spirit (Col. 1:8)
filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual understanding (Col. 1:9)
walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God (Col. 1:10)
strengthened with all power...for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience (Col. 1:11)
joyously giving thanks to the Father (Col. 1:12)
The ingredients have been gathered. The oven has been set. The recipe followed. The dessert baked. Having been taken out of the oven, we are ready to eat.
The good news of Jesus Christ transforms us. This occurs since we have the Holy Spirit, and Jesus Christ lives in the believer (Col. 1:28). Thus, having been transferred from the domain of darkness into His marvelous light,
we can understand spiritual truths, we love, we bear fruit in good works, we increase in knowledge of God, we are strengthened to endure trials, and we are joyously grateful. Wow!
Since each of us is a different delicacy; we have different spiritual gifts and different levels of faith.
Each believer is a special treat for the benefit of our Savior. Despite our differences, we all enjoy the same benefits of being identified with Christ, and we have the same hope. Praise God for His indescribable gift!
For Further Study
Here are some other verses that relate to our glorious gospel:
1. The gospel will be proclaimed throughout the whole world. Mt. 24:14; Mk. 13:10
2. The gospel was first preached to the Gentiles by Peter. Acts 15:7
3. Believing the gospel results in the gift of the Holy Spirit. Acts 15:8
4. The gospel is God's power for salvation. Rom. 1:16
5. God's righteousness is revealed in the gospel. Rom. 1:17
6. God will one day judge us based on the gospel. Rom. 2:16
7. All people are disobedient and in need of the gospel. Rom. 11:28-33
8. The gospel makes us acceptable to God. Rom. 15:16, Acts 13:39
9. The gospel transforms us and sets us apart by the Holy Spirit. Rom. 15:16
10. The gospel content: Christ died for our sins; was buried and rose on the third day; he appeared to His disciples; we are raised to new life in Christ; death is defeated through Christ's resurrection; we will be raised at Christ's coming and given new eternal bodies for life in heaven.
1 Cor. 15, Acts 5:42
11. The gospel reveals the glory of Jesus, the image of God. 2 Cor. 4:4
12. There is only one gospel, but many counterfeits. Gal. 1:8
13. Those who declare a different gospel are dangerous and perhaps accursed. Gal. 1:9
14. The righteousness of Jesus is imputed to us through faith. Gal. 3:6-9
15. The gospel calls for repentance and belief. Mk. 1:15, Acts 14:15
16. The gospel liberates us from the power of sin. Lk. 4:18-20
17. The gospel gives us strength and power, and the ability to obey and follow Jesus. Rom. 16:25-27
18. We are sealed and protected through the gospel. Eph. 1:13-14
19. The gospel is of immeasurable worth, reflective of the riches of Christ. Eph. 3:8
20. Those who reject the gospel will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from God's presence. 1 Thess. 5:9
21. We are saved through the gospel apart from the works of the law.
Heb. 4, Gal. 2:16, Rom. 4:2, Gal. 3:10, Gal. 5:4.