“But he said to them, ‘Do not delay me, since the Lord has prospered my way. Send me a way that I may go to my master’.” Genesis 24:56 (ESV)
I recently reviewed my notes on the work of the Holy Spirit and noticed a reference to Genesis 24 where we are introduced to a servant sent with the task of finding a bride for Isaac. In a spiritual sense, the servant is a picture of the Holy Spirit whose work is to bring the lost to Christ and thus make up His bride. The servant’s name is not given, for the ministry of the Spirit is to point to Christ and glorify Him alone.
As I re-read Genesis 24, I was surprised at how often the servant mentions his master and his master’s son. He lived to please his master, for the word “master” is found 22 times in this chapter. The servant is an example for as us we seek to serve the Lord. The servant thought only of his master and his master’s will. He was so anxious to finish his task that he cared nothing for food (v. 33; John 4:31-34). Note also that the servant reported to the master when he returned home (v. 66), just as we must give an account when we see Christ.
Accountability to the Gospel
Those of us who are committed followers of Christ will give an account to our Lord. We will be held accountable for the light He has given us, especially the light of the gospel. On the subject of the gospel, I recently had a rather disturbing discussion with an individual who happens to be a leader in his local church. Our discussion centered on what constitutes a saving faith.
His position was that the gospel means different things to different people. I was shocked because the entire storyline of the Bible is the gospel, and the Bible addresses this with great clarity. When the gospel is mentioned in Scripture, the definite article “the” is always used. It is only referred to as a gospel in Galatians 1 when Paul warns the Galatian Christians about false teachers promoting a false gospel which cannot save.
In “The Truth War”, John MacArthur warns about the ambiguity which is rampant in the contemporary evangelical church: “The church has grown lazy, worldly, and self-satisfied. Church leaders are obsessed with style and methodology, losing interest in the glory of God and becoming grossly apathetic about truth & sound doctrine.” Not knowing what you believe is by definition a kind of unbelief.
Refusing to acknowledge and defend the revealed truth of God is a particular kind of unbelief. Advocating ambiguity, exalting uncertainty, or otherwise deliberately clouding the truth is a sinful way of nurturing unbelief. The latter is what I was witnessing when the individual wanted to make the gospel anything one wanted it to be. In 2 Thessalonians 2:10, Paul makes it clear that a genuine love for the truth, the gospel truth, is built into saving faith.
We Need the Gospel Every Day
In his book “The Gospel for Real Life”, Jerry Bridges is helpful regarding the absolute and unwavering truth of the gospel:
- God’s holiness responds to sin with immutable and eternal hatred. God always hates sin and inevitably expresses His wrath against it.
- Why the cross? God’s holiness demanded it as punishment for our sins, and God’s love provided it to save us from our sins.
- Our need is not to be measured by our own sense of need, but by what God had to do to meet that need. Our situation was so desperate that only the death of His own Son on a cruel and shameful cross was sufficient to resolve the problem.
- We should not limit Jesus’ suffering just to the hours He hung on the cross. It actually began at His incarnation when He laid aside His divine glory and assumed a human nature subject to the same physical weaknesses and infirmities we are exposed to.
- Jesus reaped what we have sown. His life was one of suffering obedience and obedient suffering.
- God’s justice is certain and inflexible (2 Thessalonians 1:6-8; Romans 12:19). God’s justice must be satisfied; otherwise, His moral government would be undermined.
- In order to maintain His justice, all sin without exception must be punished. Contrary to popular opinion, with God there is no such thing as mere forgiveness. There is only justice.
- We should never cease to be amazed that the One who established the Law and determined its curse should Himself ransom us from that curse by bearing it in our place.
- Christ’s ransom secured for us not only redemption from the penal curse of the Law, but also redemption from our bondage to sin. These two aspects of redemption always go together.
- One thing is readily apparent in the life of Jesus: Every work of Christ is directed toward God.
- As we contemplate the glory of the cross we must see that not only is our deepest need of salvation met, but that it has been done in such a way as to bring the most glory to God Himself.
The most important question we all face is this: How can a sinful man or woman come into a right relationship with an infinitely holy and just God? The answer is found in the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. And it addresses man’s greatest need—to be reconciled to God.
When Paul elaborates on this in Romans 3:21-26, he tells us that in the gospel we find a righteousness that God both requires and provides for us. We need to remind ourselves every day that God’s favor comes to us not on the basis of our works, but on the basis of the infinite merit of Jesus Christ. Am I obsessed with the truth of the gospel? Absolutely! My eternal destiny, your eternal destiny, depends upon it. And the ultimate hate crime would be to blur the lines of demarcation and encourage others to be self-deceived about their eternity.
Yours in Christ,