"GRACE and PEACE to you from God Our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ who gave himself for our sins to RESCUE us from this present evil age."
If you wish to be clear about the Gospel of Grace, you must understand that, in Jesus, 2,000 years ago you were RESCUED!
|Mining 4 Men|
The most dramatic and theologically precise illustration of this rescue was provided to us some months ago in the rescue of 39 Chilean miners. As you remember, the mine shaft they were working exploded and they were trapped beneath a half mile of solid granite.
Everyone assumed they were dead. If they were not killed outright by the explosion, they had no chance of surviving because they couldn't be reached. The thought that drilling a half mile through granite and drilling in exactly the right place was obviously - not possible. They were dead or, in time, would be.
But then, an American mining group came up with a plan and procedure that worked! Long story short: they drilled a hole into where the miners were and then lowered a rescue capsule. One by one, the miners climbed into the capsule and were raised to the surface. In the course of minutes, they were transported from a grave to freedom, love, and the fresh air of life above.
This is, in essence, the basic Gospel. Jesus was lowered into our "present evil age" and made himself available to rescue us. When we believe into him, we are rescued. We are, in Paul's words, then rescued from this present evil age.
This is NOT religion. Religion says to those trapped underground, "you must do more, try harder. You can make it to the surface and God's favor if you just ____________(fill in the blank).
Religion and what passes for much of Christianity doesn't take the extent of our lostness seriously enough. We simply can't help ourselves. We can only accept the rescue capsule that's provided. When Jesus died on the cross, he said, "It is finished." He didn't say it is 50% finished, now you do the rest. He said, "it is finished" 100%.
If the drillers had gone a quarter of a mile down and told the miners to meet them halfway - they were dead. That's religion.
Jesus, the Last Adam, became one of us. He gathered us up into him and raised us up (Ephesians 1:3-10).
True, we can by faith get into the rescue capsule or not, but can you imagine any of the Chilean miners saying, "No thanks. I'll stay down here. Just give me some beer and cable."
All the work has been done for us.
Be at peace.
He has adventures for you on the surface.