The final exam – Question 2

God will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.

2 Thessalonians 1 v.8

Do you obey the gospel? Following on from the last two days this is the second question that Paul sets before the church in Thessalonica which we are taking to be two key questions  the answers to which will either lead to God’s fearful judgement or a glorious future.

 Once again it is possible to be offended by such a question but the answer we give has more impact than simply our eternal future (which is  pretty big impact) for it radically affects how we live our lives now and how that living has eternal consequences!

At the beginning of Mark’s Gospel we read the following:

After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee proclaiming the good news, (that is the gospel) of God. The time has come, he said. The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news (that is the gospel)!

So Jesus’ ministry began with an imperative. Repent and believe!

There are of course many aspects to obeying the gospel but these two from the lips of Jesus himself sum them up. Primary is the call to repent – to turn around from the way we all follow from birth as the result of the fall and go in the new direction of believing and following Jesus.

In the account of the conversion of the jailer in Philippi he asks the question of Paul and Silas ‘What must I do to be saved?’ and their immediate and gloriously simple reply is ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved’ and it happened! Acts 16 v 30-31.

Then in possibly the best known verse in the Bible, John 3 v. 16 Jesus says to Nicodemus.

God so loved the world that her gave his one and only Son that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

In the light of the above we simply cannot escape what obeying the gospel means. However that is but the first step as moving from darkness (our lives without Christ) to light (our position in Christ) we will find that believing the gospel is to enter a whole new realm of obedience to God’s call to live all out for him.

Half-heartedness is a dangerous way of living for it fails to glorify the God who has done everything for us. The great pioneer missionary CT Studd wrote the following words:

“If Jesus Christ be God and died for me, then no sacrifice can be too great for me to make for Him.”

He sacrificed much of what the world valued.- financial riches, position in society, the possibility of a spectacular cricketing career but finding Jesus Christ he obeyed the gospel.

Be sure you ‘Know God’ and ‘Obey the gospel’ and the final exam on the Day of the Lord will hold no fears and you. Further you will find, possibly to your great surprise, just how God has used your obedience to the gospel for his glory in the salvation of others.

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