Be Careful Little Ears

The title’s few simple words of a children’s Sunday School song have been sounding over and over in my head lately.  It stems from stopping to consider one key word of our Christian existence – gospel.  After all, it’s what Jesus told His disciples to share with the whole world, just before He ascended to heaven.

Mark 16:15 NIV  He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.

Just what is this gospel we are to share with the whole world?  In brief, Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words says the English word gospel denotes the good tidings of the kingdom of God and salvation through Christ and what He did, which is to be received by faith alone.  We don’t have to work to receive or keep salvation.  It is in Jesus Christ and His finished work alone.  This truly is good news!  But, do the messages we hear always sound forth the simplicity of this truly good news?

If the gospel is good news, then it is always totally good news.  The completed gospel of Jesus Christ will stir our faith and bring us into deeper revelation of freedom from condemnation and guilt, with its post-salvation lie of working to make ourselves righteous.  It will always exalt the finished work of Jesus on the cross and expand our understanding of the perfect and unconditional love of our Father for us, which removes all fear.  When what we hear from our pulpits, our fellowship with one another, Bible studies, online ministry, etc., produces anything contrary to these things, we are not hearing the gospel.1  Jesus came that we might have life and have it more abundantly2 – because He paid the price for our sin and unrighteousness already, not because He would help us work to become righteous.

The reality of the gospel needs to be the filter for every message we hear, in whatever form the message takes.  Then we can receive only that which Jesus came to give, and discard that which would draw us back into the place from which we were saved.  Confusion will be greatly diminished, and that peace that passes understanding will be greatly increased.

What are you listening to and receiving?  Be careful, little ears, what you hear!

1 Galatians
2 John 10:10
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2 thoughts on “Be Careful Little Ears

  1. We receive salvation by faith alone but to say we can keep it forever is not right. Everybody can receive Salvation by the Ultimate Offer of Jesus Christ. When we get baptised after we repented over our previous mischievous deed we can be forgiven for them, but when after that we are baptised and have been reborn go on sinning we shall not be worthy to call ourselves Christians. When we do not work on our character and try not to sin or Faith shall be death without the works.
    When you write: “We don’t have to work to receive or keep salvation.” it would indicate that going through a narrow gate, or through a needles eye would not be about staying on the right path. To be able to stay on the right road we have to make the right decisions and we do have to take the right measures, so we do have to work on it to keep our salvation, because other while we would be just as the seeds between the rocks, or between the weeds, or without water not able to grow up and prosper.

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    1. Thank you for weighing in on this post. I struggled with this for far too many years, living under condemnation and guilt when I didn’t think I lived up to what I should have done, or when I did what I shouldn’t have done. But Romans 8:1 tells me that there is therefore now no condemnation for me because I am in Christ Jesus. It’s in His righteousness alone, not mine. Even after I get saved – completely by grace through faith in what Jesus finished at the cross – I am not able in my own strength to uphold the law and commands, as good as they are. Yes, I want to. Yes, I ask Holy Spirit to help me live out the righteousness of Christ in me. Not so I can maintain my salvation; rather, in response to it.

      Jesus’ prayer in John 17:3 was that we may have eternal life – that we may know the one true God, and Jesus Christ whom He sent. Eternal means forever. When we receive salvation, we receive eternal life – forever life – not just until we sin the next time. If that were the case, Jesus’ death was less powerful than the death of bulls and goats once a year under the old covenant of the law. But it’s not less powerful. It’s so much more powerful as hardly to be compared! Jesus bore all our sins for all time, not just the sins we committed before we received salvation, and suffered our judgment for all those sins so we don’t have to. We can now live in the glorious freedom of the beloved children of God – without constant fear of sinning and falling short. We can now and for all time (when once having received Christ as Lord and Savior) know and live in the law of the Spirit of Life that made us free from the law of sin and death. Instead of focusing on our worthiness, we can focus on knowing Christ more, recognizing His worthiness and that His worthiness lives in us. Thus, we are worthy in His worthiness and righteous in His righteousness.

      As for the narrow way, Jesus is that narrow way – the only way. He said in John 14:6, I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father but by me. He and His finished work is the way – none of our own work. And it’s all because our Father so loved us – even in the midst of our sin (before we were even born) – that He sent Jesus to take all our judgment.

      Our faith is in Jesus and His finished work. Our hope is in Jesus and His finished work. Our eternal life is totally dependent on Jesus and His finished work. All glory to God and His amazing plan for you and me!

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