Monday, November 22, 2010


Perhaps you have heard the advertisement for something called "The Total Transformation System." Its creator claims that it can somehow bring a rebellious and unruly child into quiet submission, with results experienced in as little as 30 minutes. Needless to say, I won't be buying his product. There is only one "Total Transformation System" and it belongs to God. It’s called the gospel.

Before we can appreciate the full measure of the gospel's transforming ability we need to appreciate the extent of man's sin problem. As a result of the fall every man is born a sinner (Rom. 5:19; Rom. 3:23). “The wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23). Man is helpful to resolve his sin problem (Rom. 5:6; Eph. 2:1).

It is also helpful, however, to our appreciation of the gospel's transforming power, to reconsider the events related to the fall of man. Adam and Eve were created in the "image" of God. What is meant by the term "image?" The meaning of the term and the results of the fall both help us to answer that question. According to the Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament the word "image" "basically refers to a representative, a likeness." There is a visual component to this definition. There was, for Adam and Eve, some visual correspondence to God. This understanding is affirmed by what happened to them after the fall. They saw themselves "naked" and took immediate steps to deal with the problem. What else could account for their nakedness, but the loss of some kind of God-imparted glorious covering?

Their response is instructive. They "sewed together fig leaves and made themselves loin coverings" (Gen. 3:7). Their man-devised response to their sin problem was the best that their sin-darkened minds could come up with. Their response is emblematic of all the misguided efforts of man ever since in dealing with sin. Fig leaves are no substitute for a God-imparted glorious covering. The religious efforts of an unredeemed man are "like a filthy garment" before God (Isa. 64:6).

God has a better way. "And the Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife, and clothed them" (Gen. 3:21). Two elements of this act are especially noteworthy: 1) God clothed them by grace. They didn’t come up with the plan. They expended no effort. They had done nothing to merit it; and 2) God clothed them through sacrifice. "He made garments of skin for Adam and his wife." These garments would have required a sacrifice, a sacrifice that looked to the future sacrifice of the Lamb of God. That covering was not the glorious one they had previously enjoyed, but it looked forward to a future one.

The gospel alone can restore unto man what was lost in the fall. "It is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes" (Rom. 1:16). The gospel saves "to the uttermost those who draw near to God" (Heb. 7:25). Through the gospel--through faith in Christ and His finished work on the cross--a person is forgiven, transformed, and set on a course to heaven. These things take place per God’s design--by grace, through sacrifice. This glorious gospel represents "the power of God and wisdom of God" (1 Cor. 1:22-24).

The gospel imparts no half-way salvation. It doesn’t just save a man from hell, it saves him to heaven. It doesn’t just clean up his behavior, it changes his heart. It doesn’t just make him a good churchgoer; it prepares him for Christ’s presence. It changes a man from the inside-out. It is a transformation from one state of glory unto the next: 2 Cor. 3:18, "But we all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit."

Christ's saving work is culminated in the glorification of the believer in Christ. Phil. 3:21: "(He) will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself" (Cf. Col. 3:4; 2 Cor. 4:17-5:4). It is this very work that is said to be "exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think" (Eph. 3:19-20).

Are you enrolled in God’s "Total Transformation System?" Have you trusted in Christ for salvation (Acts 16:31)? Fig leaf coverings and white-washed tombs are no substitute for the transformation empowered through the "glorious gospel of the blessed God" (1 Tim. 1:11). "To Him be the glory in the church to all generations forever and ever. Amen" (Eph. 3:21)!

Pastor Jerry

Monday, November 1, 2010


1 Cor. 15:3-4, “For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.”

Gal. 1:7, “There are some…who want to distort the gospel.”

2 Cor. 11:4, “For if one comes and preaches…a different gospel…you bear this beautifully.”

The message of the gospel is the most glorious of truths. And because “it is the power of God for salvation to ever one who believes” (Rom. 1:16), it is the work of the Devil to oppose its proclamation in every possible way. He relentlessly works to distort the message, dissuade messengers, and deafen hearers.

The Apostle Paul reserved his most severe condemnation for those who would distort the gospel: “But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we preached to you, let him be accursed” (Gal. 1:8). Lest his readers underestimate his concern, he repeated himself, “ As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to that which you have received, let him be accursed” (Gal. 1:9).

Nevertheless the gospel message is distorted in countless ways and counterfeits gospels are in wide circulation. In this day of diminished doctrinal emphasis and understanding it is getting harder and harder for believers to distinguish the genuine article.

The Father of Lies is a proficient distorter of truth. “Indeed, has God said?” he asked in his first deception. His temptations to our Lord were not with clearly identified falsehoods, but with subtle distortions of the truth (Matt. 4:1-11). It is a device of the Devil to dress up his deceptions in attractive and innocent looking garb (Eph. 6:11; 2 Cor. 2:11).

So it is with the gospel. Catholicism does not deny Christ and the cross, but the gospel is diminished and distorted in the sacraments. Mormonism acknowledges Christ, but not the Christ of the Bible. The modern evangelical church has its own distorted gospels. The believer needs to be able to discern the genuine article amidst counterfeits (1 Thess. 5:21).

Discernment is all the more necessary in this postmodern day. Most deny the existence of any absolute truth. Many believers give but lip service to the inspiration and inerrancy of God’s Word. “We preach Christ crucified” is not the anthem of the modern church. And gospel distorters find little resistance.

But in the midst of the darkness of our day, there are those who are gladly and accurately proclaim the “glorious gospel of the blessed God” (1 Tim. 1:11). And from time to time God opens the eyes of the blind to the truth. Praise God for the gospel and the salvation it brings! Let us always endeavor “to make it clear” (Col. 4:4).

Pastor Jerry


Charles Spurgeon,

"The greatest thing the church needs in this time, is God's Holy Spirit. You all get up plans and say, "Now, if the church were altered a little bit, it would go on better." You think if there were different ministers, or different church order, or something different, then all would be well. No, dear friends, the mistake does not lie there, it is that we need more of the Spirit- his power and influence. But now people are saying, "This must be altered, and that must be altered." But it would go no better unless God the Spirit should come to bless us. You may have the same ministers, and they shall be a thousand times more useful for God, if God is pleased to bless them. You shall have the same deacons, they shall be a thousand times more influential than they are now, when the Spirit is poured down upon them from on high. That is the church's great lack, and until that lack be supplied, we may reform, and reform, and still be just the same. We need the Holy Spirit, and then whatever faults there may be in our churches, they can never materially impede the progress of Christianity, when once the Spirit of the Lord God is in our midst. All we need is the Spirit of God.