Deut 10:12                The Gospel People Might Understand                                     1/25/2015

·         Fear the Lord Thy God (2Pet 1:21, Deut 10:11-15, 10:20-11:6)

 

 

 

#1.       Condemnation Upon All the World (Psalm 14:1-3, Jer 17:9, Ecc 7:20, Rom 3:10-12, Psalm 58:3-5, John 8:34, Rom 6:23, Psalm 2:1-9, 9:17)

 

 

 

·         The Love of God (Lev 1:4, Heb 10:1-4, 1John 4:7-8)

 

 

 

#2.       A Redeemer (Gen 9:5-6, Eph 2:1, Rom 6:4, 1Sam 2:8, 2Sam 12:13)

 

 

 

·         The Forgiveness of Sins (John 3:16, Eph 2:1, Rom 9:15-16, Eph 1:3)

 

 

 

#3.       Chosen and Predestined by God (Eph 1:3-8, John 8:36, 15:7,12,16)

 

 

Please turn in your Bibles to the Epistle of Second Peter, 2Pet 1:21, (2X). The title of this sermon is “The Gospel People Might Understand” (2X). It tells you ahead of time that I am going to bring something very elementary and very simple. First of all I will emphasize that the Bible is the Word of God; these are the words God spoke to His servants the prophets who wrote down these words in the form of Prophecies, or in Epistles, or in Letters, and so on. We read this for example in 2Pet 1:21,

2Pet 1:21, “For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” Can you hear the awesome voice of God through God’s people? The prophets were called “Holy men of God.” Therefore we must have a healthy respect for the words we read in the Old Testament as well as in the New Testament. Knowing that these are words from God makes us fear that we could make mistakes in teaching things that are in error. But approaching God in faith we learn to trust the Lord, and He will strengthen our faith.

·         Fear the Lord Thy God (2Pet 1:21, Deut 10:11-16, 20-11:6)

Please turn in your Bibles to the Prophecy of Deuteronomy, Deut 10:11 (2X). This passage speaks of God’s commandments. God holds His commandments very high. We read in Deut 10:11-15,

Deut 10:11 “And the LORD said unto me, Arise, take thy journey before the people, that they may go in and possess the land, which I sware unto their fathers to give unto them.  12   And now, Israel, what doth the LORD thy God require of thee, but to fear the LORD thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul,  13  To keep the commandments of the LORD, and his statutes, which I command thee this day for thy good.  14  Behold, the heaven and the heaven of heavens is the LORD’S thy God, the earth also, with all that therein is.  15  Only the LORD had a delight in thy fathers to love them, and he chose their seed after them, even you above all people, as it is this day.  16  Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiffnecked.”

What does this passage say? It says to fear the Lord, to love Him, to serve Him, and to keep the commandments and the statutes of the Lord, because this is what He has commanded us, and it is for our good. This is very simple language: Sin and retribution for sin. Obey God and all will be well. Disobey God and you will inherit His wrath. But then God throws in a puzzling verse. Verse 16 of this passage commands us to circumcise the foreskin of our heart. How can we do that without destroying our body? But then we realize that God is symbolically speaking. The true intent of this commandment was to tell us that we must no more be stiffnecked, which means “be no more stubborn in our sinfulness.” Were the Israelites stiffnecked? Yes indeed. They made a golden calf because they could not wait for the return of Moses who was on the mountain communing with God for 40 days. Their evil heart could not wait any longer. It was a manifestation of God’s observation that the heart of man is deceitful and desperately wicked. Let us answer this question from the Bible in Deut 10:20-11:6,

“20  Thou shalt fear the LORD thy God; him shalt thou serve, and to him shalt thou cleave, and swear by his name.  21  He is thy praise, and he is thy God, that hath done for thee these great and terrible things, which thine eyes have seen.  22  Thy fathers went down into Egypt with threescore and ten persons; and now the LORD thy God hath made thee as the stars of heaven for multitude.

Deut 11:1  Therefore thou shalt love the LORD thy God, and keep his charge, and his statutes, and his judgments, and his commandments, alway (meaning all the way),  2  And know ye this day: for I speak not with your children which have not known, and which have not seen the chastisement of the LORD your God, his greatness, his mighty hand, and his stretched out arm,  3  And his miracles, and his acts, which he did in the midst of Egypt unto Pharaoh the king of Egypt, and unto all his land;  4  And what he did unto the army of Egypt, unto their horses, and to their chariots; how he made the water of the Red sea to overflow them as they pursued after you, and how the LORD hath destroyed them unto this day;  5  And what he did unto you in the wilderness, until ye came into this place; 6  And what he did unto Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab, the son of Reuben: how the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up, and their households, and their tents, and all the substance that was in their possession, in the midst of all Israel:”

Korah, Dathan and Abiram rebelled against Moses, and the Lord swallowed them up. And so, what have we learned so far? God commanded the nation of Israel to obey His commandments, and those who went contrary to His commandments were destroyed. Did we hereby understand God’s principles? Obey God’s commandments and all will be well; disobey His commandments, and destruction is the result. This was the simplest form of obedience to the law of God. What consequences does this have? The consequences are that these laws were spreading death and destruction everywhere in the world. It may sound strange, but this is all the knowledge most people have of the Bible. Obey God and all will be well. Disobey God, and Hell will be the result. Do they not ask themselves, “Where is the love of God? Where is the grace of God? Where is the cross of Christ? Where do sinners go, like David and Bathsheba, or Solomon? And what happens to babies?” And so we see that this limited understanding of the Bible leaves many questions unanswered.

#1.       Condemnation Upon All the world (Psalm 14:1-3, 9:17, Jer 17:9, Ecc 7:20, Rom 3:10-12, Psalm 58:3-5, John 8:34, Rom 6:23, Psalm 2:1-9, 9:17)

Please turn in your Bibles to the Prophecy of the Psalms, Psalm 14:1 (2X). This is how God sees all mankind: they are all wicked sinners; even His most favorite people are wicked. They all deserve to go to Hell. God would be very righteous if He would send all people to Hell. Let us look here at a few verses saying that sending all people to Hell would be a righteous thing for God to do. Before we arrive at exceptions this is where we must start: All people are or have been on the way to Hell.

Psalm 14:1-3, The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none (2X) that doeth good.  2  The LORD looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any (2X) that did understand, and seek God.  3  They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none (2X) that doeth good, no, not one (2X).

Jer 17:9, The heart (of man) is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?

Ecc 7:20, There is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not. (All are sinners.)

Rom 3:10-12, As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:  11  There is none (2X) that understandeth, there is none (2X) that seeketh after God.  12  They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one (2X).

Psalm 58:3-5,  “The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies. 4  Their poison is like the poison of a serpent: they are like the deaf adder that stoppeth her ear;  5  Which will not hearken to the voice of charmers, charming never so wisely.” And so, if people become sinners as soon as they are born, is there hope for any one of them? The Lord Jesus said in John 8:34, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant (the slave) of sin.” It takes only one sin to make a person a slave of sin. You can see this clearly in the case of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. They committed only one sin, and the result was that they became slaves of sin all their lives, and all their posterity followed in their footsteps: all their posterity came out of the womb speaking lies and they all became slaves of sin and of Satan. What is God’s response to people committing sins? God says in Rom 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death” and the death that God has in view is the “Second Death.” I spoke of that several weeks ago. The Second Death is the concept of being cast into a Lake of Fire burning with fire and brimstone. And so, what is the result if someone becomes a slave of sin? Every time he sins he digs for himself a hole in Hell. The longer he lives the deeper he digs for himself that hole in Hell. And the result of that accumulation of guilt will be applied to the man on The Last Day, when the Lord will come to apply the Final Judgment to the living and the dead. Now this is the reason why people invent all kinds of reasons to do away with God. They have invented the theory of evolution, and they have invented the theory that the Bible was generated through the thoughts of many people, so that all the concepts in the Bible were really the thoughts of men. Concepts of God, and of the creation of man, and of Heaven and Hell, and of Sin and of Satan, and of Righteousness, and of Salvation, and of Mercy, and of Grace, and of the Law, and of the Souls of men, and of a Spirit world, and all the rest were really inventions of men. And the purpose of all these inventions of men was the incentive to do away with God, because if people would accept that there is a God, then there would be a Final Judgment; there would be a reckoning of all their sins, and then they would have to acknowledge that the Bible contains the words of a real God. What a frightening idea. The Bible speaks about this in Psalm 2:1-9,

Psalm 2:1  “Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?  2  The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying,  3  Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.  4  He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision.  5  Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure.  6  Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.  7  I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto Me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.  8  Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.  9  Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.” And so, the existence of God is a very uncomfortable concept in the minds of men. They prefer that God does not exist. What does God say about this matter? We read in Psalm 9:17 “The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.” We understand that all this is the result of Satan’s work in the Garden of Eden when he first deceived the woman, and then the man Adam. Did God not know that all this would be the result of letting Satan into the Garden of Eden? Was this the purpose of God’s plan when He created man that all mankind would condemn themselves to Hell? No! God’s purpose for this creation was that mankind would be to the glory of God. Does God not interfere when all the people in the world are condemning themselves to Hell? Indeed God does interfere, for it is against His loving nature to allow all that He has created go to the dogs. And for this purpose God created the law of “Atonement for Sin”. And how does this relate to the love of God?

·         The Love of God (Lev 1:4, Heb 10:1-4, 1John 4:7-8)

What is Atonement? This is the first time God interferes to give us an escape from Hell. God established the principle that someone else could pay the penalty for our sin if that person would be a sinless person who does not first have to pay for his own sins. Moreover, that sinless person must be able to endure the equivalent of an eternity in Hell without being consumed by it. In the Old Testament time God laid down the law of atonement for our sins (Lev 1:4, Heb 10:1-4), but since it always involved the sacrifice of an animal we know that these were only symbols or pictures of the real thing; an animal cannot endure the equivalent of an eternity in Hell. God says in Heb 10:1-4 that we understand this correctly.  It is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats could take away sins. When we search all that God has created we find that the only Person who would qualify to make an atonement-sacrifice would be the Lord Jesus Christ, because He is both man and the Second Person of the Triune God at the same time. He is sinless, and He will not be consumed enduring the equivalent of an eternity in Hell. This arrangement was created to satisfy a basic property of God, for God is love. And so, we should first of all see that all the Old Testament ceremonies concerning sacrifices of animals, and especially sacrifices of atonement, are pictures of the crucifixion of Christ, and have their basis in the love of God. We read in: 1John 4:7  “Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.  8  He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.” This is an amazing revelation of the nature of God. It means that we must harmonize the wrath of God with the love of God. This is the way to get to know who God really is.

Therefore when God offers His only begotten Son on the cross for our sins, we should see that as the ultimate expression of the love of God for us. This is the greatest gift God could possibly give us. And if anyone rejects that gift it would be the greatest insult to God. It would be an insult that would inherit Hell for sure. In His love God gave us a Redeemer.

#2.       A Redeemer (Gen 9:5-6, Eph 2:1, Rom 6:4, 1Sam 2:8, 2Sam 12:13)

What is a Redeemer? Here is a law which God set up way in the beginning, after the flood of Noah’s days. When someone was murdered his nearest “Kinsman”, or brother, would rise up and pursue the murderer until he had avenged the murder of his Kinsman by taking the life of the murderer (Gen 9:5-6) This “Kinsman” is called “the Avenger of blood.” This “Kinsman” is also called the “Redeemer.” He has redeemed the honor of the one who was slain.

Look at how beautifully and how loving this arrangement is. The Lord Jesus Christ has been appointed to be our Redeemer. He is the One who will avenge us. Satan, through his lies and deceptions on Eve, has murdered the whole human race in the Garden of Eden. From that point in time we were labelled as being “dead in trespasses and sins,” (Eph 2:1) because we were in bondage to sin and Satan. But Christ has delivered us from this bondage to sin, and has paid for us a new life by His death and resurrection in AD 33. In our present life, in AD 2015, Christ has made us “Born Again” in our soul by applying the ransom that He already paid in AD 33 (Rom 6:4). With the ransom He paid in AD 33 he avenged our murder in the Garden of Eden. He has thereby translated us out of the kingdom of Satan and placed us in the kingdom of Christ. And thus He is our Avenger of blood. Satan has been defeated and will be cast into the Lake of Fire when Christ comes again on the Last Day. And look how beautifully Christ has redeemed our honor: He calls us His “next of kin” and that is why He could function as our Avenger of blood. He calls us His brethren. We are brothers and sisters of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Second Person of the Triune God. He has raised us up from the dunghill of this world, and has set us among princes in the courts of Heaven, (past tense,) and made us inherit the throne of glory. (1Sam 2:8). Can we imagine a more glorious inheritance? His righteousness before the throne of God became our righteousness. Who will be the ones who are so blessed that all their sins will be forgiven? And now God has to interfere again, for the second time.

God gave us a Redeemer; God gave us a most precious friend, the Lord Jesus. And when God asked us to bring the most precious sacrifice we can offer, we had to offer our most precious friend, our Lord Jesus Christ. We had to nail Him to the cross; we had to raise the cross until He died; we did that because of the heinousness of our sins. Our sins required the most precious sacrifice we could offer, and that sacrifice was our dearest friend, and brother, the Lord Jesus Christ. Can we now understand how great our sins were? Our sins were vile and wicked and very dirty. I am not talking about accidental sins. Our sins were deliberate insults to God. Think for example of the sin of adultery by David and Bathsheba. This was not an accidental sin. This was a deliberate sin, and David was hoping that no one would know about it. David did it in secret, but God announced it with great fanfare in the Bible, which was spread throughout the whole world so that everybody knew about it.

2Sam 12:13, “And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the LORD. And Nathan said unto David, The LORD also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die.”

“The LORD also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die.” It means that God has forgiven David his multiple sin: of adultery and of murdering Uriah the Hittite. And so, here we see that for some people God will forgive their sins, but for other people God will retain their sins. Even heinous sins, like the sins of David and Bathsheba, and the murder on David’s loyal friend Uriah the Hittite can be forgiven. Can we arrive at a reasonable understanding whose sins will be forgiven and whose sins will be retained?

·         The Forgiveness of Sins (John 3:16, Eph 2:1, Rom 9:15-16, Eph 1:3)

Please turn in your Bibles to the Gospel According to John, John 3:16 (2X). Perhaps you remember these words from the Lord Jesus. The Lord Jesus said in John 3:16,

John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish (in the Second Death), but have everlasting life.”

Who are those who do not perish in the Second Death? The answer is: Whosoever believeth in him. There you have it: Whosoever believeth in him. But we have seen earlier that Satan has murdered the whole human race so that everyone of the human race is “dead in trespasses and sins,” (Eph 2:1) If I was dead, then how can I do anything that pleases God? If I was dead then how can I believe? If I was dead, then how can I be saved, because a dead man cannot believe; he is dead in trespasses and sins, and is a slave of Satan. And so, we see that God has to interfere again for the third time. It is not sufficient that someone takes the action to believe in Christ, but this someone must believe because God has appointed him to believe. In other word, only if God has predestined him to believe, and made him believe sincerely and truthfully, only then would this person’s sins be forgiven by Christ on the cross. This does not apply to everyone in the world, but only for a select few who would receive the gift of repentance. This is an important principle. You can see here how God operates. First He gives people, both male and female, the spiritual characteristics He would like to see in those persons, like faith in Christ, and like a sincere love for Christ, and like a desire to commit their life to the service of Christ, and so on, and so on. These are all gifts from God the Holy Spirit, for of ourselves we have nothing to give. And then He rewards those persons for the spiritual gifts they have, like a perseverance in the faith, and the gift of living for eternity with Christ in the New Heaven and the New Earth. All these are gifts compounded upon gifts. This is how God operates. And then God the Holy Spirit takes action to implement all these gifts. But this would take place only for those who would be predestined to believe and who are predestined to put their trust in the crucified One who was crucified to atone for all their sins. This action of God the Holy Spirit must take place, or else no one would be saved, for without this interference of God there is NONE that seeketh after God. And thus, only the special people of God, the elect of God, can be saved. Only the elect of God receive the special grace of God, the special unmerited favor of God.

What is grace? Webster’s Dictionary defines grace as the unmerited favor of God. Can you merit unmerited favor? No, you cannot! Therefore God distributes His grace according to His will, totally independent of those who want to work for it. God speaks about this in Rom 9:15-16 as follows:

Rom 9:15-16, For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.  16  So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.

God passed by the majority of mankind, which He called the Reprobate. They were already on the way to Hell, having to pay for their own sins, so God did not do them a disfavor by passing them by. Those whom God favored were chosen by Him. When were they chosen? Since God is omniscient He knew how this situation was going to develop from before the foundation of the world. He knew that people would be dead in trespasses and sins, unable to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and resistant to take on something new. God knew that He had to interfere to change sinners into saints. And so, how did God do that? How did He change sinners into saints without relying on their works? Please turn in your Bibles to the Epistle to the Ephesians, Eph 1:3 (2X).

#3.       Chosen and Predestined by God (Eph 1:3-8, John 8:36, 15:7,12,16)

This is a gift by grace, a gift of unmerited favor. In order that God’s plan of the salvation of many would occur unhindered by sin and Satan, God made sure that His plan would succeed. God took His precautions before the foundation of the world. And then He would send His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, the Second Person of the Triune Godhead, and He would make Him the prime executor of His plan. He could not leave this plan in the hands of some human being who would again mess it up for sure. No! This time God made sure that no one could mess up His plan. This plan would be the best plan, for God Himself would take charge, and no one would be able to interfere, for God is in control. So let us see how God started this plan, and let us see how God’s providence is going to control the circumstances. Please turn in your Bibles to Eph 1:3 (2X), and we are going to read the first 6 verses.

Eph 1:3-8, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:  4  According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:  5  Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,  6  To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.  7  In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;  8  Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence;

What is God saying in this passage? He tells us of His plans before the foundation of the world. Before God created the first speck of dust in this universe He reserved for Himself the special people He was going to create to serve His purposes. He predestined them to become believers in the Gospel that He has determined, which leads unmistakably to the forgiveness of all their sins. This is the Gospel. This is the Good News. They will be called saints. They will be transformed from sinners to saints. This really is the beginning of the story of creation, not the story you read in Gen 1. How will God accomplish this task? He will forcefully apply the actions of God the Holy Spirit in the souls of His special people. It is an act of grace. It is an unconditional free gift independent of the sins of His special people, His saints. What am I talking about? I am saying that the free grace which God will bestow upon the human race will be channeled only to His special people apart from works. There will be no grace for the reprobate. They have to fend for themselves. God is not sending them to Hell. They were already on the way to Hell to pay for their own sins. But to all the elect God bestows His free grace, which is His unmerited favor. Please turn to the Gospel of John, John 8:36, which contains the essential element we need to hear,

John 8:36, “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.”

These are the special people Christ will save by forgiving all their sins by His atonement on the cross. These are the special people Christ shall make righteous before God, because He shall give them His righteousness, and His righteousness is perfect. This is the Gospel, that in believing it you shall be saved. There is no other way anyone can become righteous before God. We cannot become righteous by fervently praying for it. Please turn in your Bibles to the Gospel according to John. Most people start on the wrong foot with a prayer from John 15:7, which says,

John 15:7, “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.” Is this true that we can ask whatever we will? It is true, but we must believe the context where these words were said: “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you.” Are we truly abiding in Christ, and is He abiding in us? Have we in our mind relived through the agony He experienced in the Garden of Gethsemane, and are His words printed in our memory? And I am not referring to only His words in John 15:7, but to all His words that are recorded in the Bible. For example, the Lord said in,

John 15:12, This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.

Are we truly loving one another as Christ has commanded us? Where is the evidence that we love one another? The fact is that in our congregation we live many miles away from each other. But that should not hinder us from loving one another. For example, it has touched me that the church did not fall apart when I was hurt in the accident a few months ago; instead it had the result that the bond between the members became stronger, and it convinced me that we truly love one another.

John 15:16, Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in My Name, he may give it you.

The fruit that the Lord speaks about in verse 16 is referring to spiritual fruit. “Whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in My Name” is referring to spiritual fruit we are asking from the Father in the Name of Jesus for the furtherance of the Gospel using the church as His instrument. My accident has caused the church to become stronger in the faith in those who remained in the church. This is a gift of grace. It is not of works. We did not deserve it at all. And so, let us summarize what we have seen so far:

#1, God laid down the law, obedience and penalty. The result: all mankind ends up in Hell. Satan works overtime to cause all God’s works go to the dogs. Everyone ends up in Hell.

#2, God gave us a way of escape; someone else could atone for our sins. The result: No one qualifies to atone for our sins, which means again that all mankind ends up in Hell.

#3, God gave us His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, who qualified to atone for our sins, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish. But no one believes in Him, for we all were born dead, unable to please God. The result is again that all mankind ends up in Hell, for no one believes that God did this out of His love for mankind.

#4, Here is the final interference of God. Before the foundation of the world God elected certain ones to become adopted children of God through the sacrifice of Christ on the cross. They were predestined to believe, according to the good pleasure of His will. What is the surprising result of the good pleasure of His will? God is a righteous Judge. This is His will: that many shall be on the broad way going to Hell, which they deserve, and few shall be on the narrow way going to eternal life (Mat 7:13-14). This is the true Gospel, and this is God’s will. But the true Gospel remains an offense to the natural man. Even though these words of God are in the Bible, and even though God declares that He is infinitely wise, many people still refuse to believe it. But if God declares His plan, we must accept it by faith that it is the best plan, or else He is not God. And when we say that we accept it by faith, we must realize that it is a faith that was a gift from God, and not a faith that we conjure up ourselves, for that is not faith but cold hearted fire insurance. There is no love for God or for Christ in this kind of faith.

But here is the Good News for those who by the grace of God have been made willing to believe. Here is the work of God the Holy Spirit. This is how God operates. First He gives, first He sows, and then He reaps the harvest of the seed that He has sown. This harmonizes with all the words and parables the Lord has spoken. And if people do not want to accept this, then their unbelief is their sin. People sin voluntarily. God is not the author of that sin. The Gospel people might understand has been stated here in simple terms so that even a child can understand it. But if people do not understand it, it is because they do not want to understand it. Their unbelief is not a result of an imperfect Gospel declaration, but it is a result of the fact that they are still not saved. Their mind is still under the control of Satan. They resist the command to bring their mind under the authority of God, and let God declare what He wants us to believe. And so, it is to the glory of God if we want to believe His word. This is a work of God the Holy Spirit, and we receive no credit at all for believing His word. Why do we want credit for something we did not do? Besides, we do not need any credit for believing this Gospel, for on the Last Day we will experience that eternal life is a free gift. Our reward of eternal life with Christ in the New Heaven and the New Earth is a totally free gift. And so, what we receive on the Last Day does not depend on how we have lived our life on this side of the grave. It will be glorious, but it will not be a reward for things done in this life. Such a reward would be honoring man rather than God, and it would be very tiny compared to the gift of eternal life. But the inheritance that we will receive will be glorifying to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit since it is a free gift.

AMEN.     Let us turn to the Lord in prayer.