Coaching Session #9: The Gospel Makes All of Us Equal
Living in God’s Gospel Blessings:
The Gospel Is the Great Equalizer
and Makes us All Equal, Irregardless of
Sex, Race, Age, Position or Anything Else
I often refer to the gospel as ‘the great equalizer.’ This is because, viewed from the finished work of Christ’s cross, we are all equals. Everything has to do with Jesus, what he has done, what he is doing in us, and what he has planned for after this life. We are all on the same playing field. The eye is no better than the toe. The mouth is the same as the little finger. We are all ONE (as we saw in session 9).
I know, in some churches there is a social or political pecking-order. The pastor is at the top of the totem-pole, followed by the elders. Of course we all know there is a BIG difference between clergy, educated by human seminaries (called ‘cemeteries’), and just lay people, right? Wrong!
And we all know that men are better, and more mature, and more spiritual than women, right? Wrong!
We know kids aren’t very smart and adults are smarter and more spiritual than they are, especially if they have warmed a pew for a lot of years, right? Wrong!
Many adults have no clue of gospel truth, and often young people have deeper revelation. Gospel truth has experienced a new birth
since the 1980s, which at least partially explains young peoples’ open hearts to it, and why older people often have closed minds.
Of course, someone with earned degrees is worth more than someone with a high school diploma, right? Wrong!
And of course if you have more wealth and success and possessions, you have more value than others, right? Wrong!
The truth is none of this is GOSPEL.
It is all man-made hierarchy made to achieve
recognition, and perhaps even to control others.
It reflects life lived in SELF, not in the gospel.
We Cannot Love Others Who Are Not Our Equal
We talked about God’s love in Coaching Session #2, and we saw how God’s love is UN-conditional. It’s not based on conditional things about our humanity: our good looks, our ability to do good, our money and resources, education, age, sex, etc. It’s all based on the cross of Jesus.
We know to love others as ourselves, and it’s not smart to compare ourselves to others (I Cor 10:12), but we do.
The fact is we can’t love anyone the way God wants us to, unless they are our equal. Think about this!
If someone has not attained the life you have, in any degree, and you look down on them because they’re beneath you, then you can’t truly love them. You can help them, try to impact them to become more, give them money, give them a job, or pray for them. You can do all sorts of nice things for them to cause them to become better and to rise to higher ground — to become more like you.
But you can’t truly love them. They are below you.
They are not on your level. You are not equals.
Now let’s put the shoe on the other foot. If you perceive someone as having attained more than you have, you can look up to them, and you can mimic and copy them. You can pay them respects for accomplishments. You can even ‘brown nose them,’ as it’s called. You can ask for their help.
But you can’t really love them. They are above you.
They’re not on your level. You are not equals.
The Gospel Makes Us All Equals in Jesus
In the gospel, none of us are better than anyone else, and none of us are less than anyone else. We are all on the same playing field, and there are no positions. We are all just one and the same in the eyes of God, because of the cross of Jesus, and we should see others as equals.
We are all dead in Adam’s sin, and unrighteous in God’s eyes, from the time we’re born. We must choose to live in the righteousness of Jesus, as revealed by his gospel.
God knows how many hairs we have our heads! But in another way, I think he only sees TWO people in the world, even in the midst of about 7 BILLION of us. He sees:
(1) those who are in Christ,
(2) those who are not in Christ.
This is part of the UNITY aspect we spoke of in session #9.
And in the New Testament gospel type thinking, I think God also sees two types of Christians in the world:
(1) those who believe and live his gospel truth,
(2) those who do not believe his gospel, and just live by law, or some theology, religion, or personal concoction.
Both of these are EQUAL, in God’s sight, as far as immortality and eternal life go. God is not going to give us a Bible exam in heaven to see how much we know of his word, whether gospel or not. But he does look at our hearts, and what fills our hearts, and whether we believe and trust him enough to live his gospel or not.
In places in the New Testament, you can see where Paul sees Christians in two ways. He refers to us as (1) saints, vs. (2) those faithful in Christ Jesus. He compares those who follow the gospel he was given to preach by God, with those who teach other things, some of which he says should be ‘cursed’ (Gal 1:8-9).
The Gospel Describes Two Types of Life
II Timothy 1:10 says we have both (1) ETERNAL life, and (2) EARTHLY abundant life Jesus came to bring (John 10:10). We do not have to live gospel truth to have eternal life, but we do have to live it to have earthly abundant life in Christ, and to reign with him in righteousness and grace (Rom 5:17).
In a song I’ve written I describe:
Religious people with no true God,
Many Christians without Christ.
The gospel impacts how we live our earthly lives. We won’t need it when we get to heaven.
Living In Self vs. Living In the Spirit
There is so much said in the Bible about our flesh, and self, and our own self-righteousness as opposed to God’s righteousness he gives us as a gift. And there is so much said about living in the law, and being self-righteous.
The Spirit is called the Spirit of Truth, which refers to the gospel truth. Jesus says the Spirit reminds us of all the things he says. Just as we are meant to be ONE, we know Jesus and the Holy Spirit are one. They are not off doing two different things. For instance, many Christians think Jesus saves us from sin, but that the Holy Spirit convicts us of every sin we commit. Wrong!
If we live in SELF, we live in our minds. We believe what others say, and listen to the wisdom of man because it’s the way we think. We connect with the theology of man in that it too is the way our minds work. We are quick to believe, and say ‘Amen’ to anything from any pulpit that sounds good to our minds and the way we think — or if it tells us what we want to hear. Paul says we have ‘itching ears.’ If we live like this, the gospel is totally strange to us. “Children live what they learn.” If we usually hear non-gospel messages, we are not going to believe the gospel, but instead we will live in darkness: in All the Light We Do Not See.
Living in the SPIRIT, he tells us all that Jesus has said, and for which Jesus says we will be judged (John 12:48). He speaks the same gospel message Jesus spoke. He is very focused on the mind of Christ, which comes from the mind of the Father, and we are given the same mind (I Cor 2:16).
The Spirit tells us all the free things of God that are ours, which the gospel describes to us (I Cor 2:12). Then he leads us to process all of them that are in us so our faith grows strong (Philemon 6). Living in God’s love, and trusting him is what causes us to live in his gospel truth and continue professing our faith (Heb 10:23).
What Was Eve’s Great Sin?
Eve’s great sin was to allow Satan to tempt her with wanting to be like God. She wanted to be equal with God. She ate from the forbidden tree to gain God’s knowledge.
In most churches, this is the same temptation people face almost every week. It is preached to do better, or do more, and you will be ‘more like God.’ Then you’ll have more of his favor and blessing. The truth is we can never be like God — we’re human beings! We can aspire to do better, but we can never be like God. We are human, he is divine. Plus, the cross of Jesus produces our only favor with God.
Jesus Calls Us His Friends
‘Friends’ is not a CASUAL expression of friendship, like we often think of friends. To God, it is a COVENANT expression that means oneness. In covenant we are made ONE with God. We are ‘joint, equal heirs with Jesus’ (Rom 8:17). This is an equality with God that is given to us as a gift.
Equality with God is what Adam and Eve wanted.
Our Abba Father God has given it to us freely.
He has given us an equality with himself that is almost impossible for us to believe.
Not only does he make us all equal in the gospel, but he makes us equal with himself. This is a big mouthful, and takes lots of digesting, but stay with me because the gospel declares it.
Jesus Became Us, and We Were Raised with Him
We are told in Hebrews 7 that Jesus our High Priest became us. Then we are told in Ephesians 2: Christ has raised us up, and has made us sit with him in heaven, even while we are still here on the earth. It’s a lot for the mind to grasp, but again, this is why we’re called ’believers.’ Our JOB is to believe what God says, even if it’s hard to. The gospel says believe every word that comes from God (Matt 4:4).
I will tell you this: if you ever truly believe this in your heart, it will change everything you believe about spiritual warfare. It will reveal your total spiritual authority.
As we’ve seen, “As Jesus is, so are we in this world.” Where is Jesus right now? He is in heaven with the Father (John 16:10). In John 17 he says he wants us to see him where he is and behold his glory. Well, scripture says we are in the same place, at least in Kingdom reality.
And don’t miss this: Satan sees us in the same place!
I John 4:17 also says to have boldness in the day of judgment. This is because we are already there, in the spiritual sense, and Jesus has appeared in God presence for us, taking our judgment (Heb 9:24-26 revisited). This is why God can FORGET our sin. Our sin has been dealt with.
We Are Even Included In Christ’s Own Body
Ephesians 5:30 says we are part of Christ’s body — even his flesh and bones. Just how much more ONE with God can we be, and thus on an equal basis with him, than to be part of his body, his flesh and his bones?
Philippians 2 Will Blow Your Mind
These verses in Philippians is almost unbelievable. We’ve already seen that we have the mind of Christ. But in Philippians 2:5-6 it says the same thing more graphically.
A SIDE NOTE: I’ve never heard a preacher preach on this, in any church, or by writing or recording or other medium.
Here Paul says, “Let this mind be in you that was also in Christ Jesus, who being in the form of God…” STOP!
Preachers just jump over this and go to the next verse which says how Jesus emptied himself, becoming a humble servant. What they preach is TRUE, but it misses the gospel TRUTH. Everything in the Bible is true. Everything! But everything is not truth.
What this passage says at the onset is that we should have the same mind of Christ, and this mind is that we are in the form of God. This is like Genesis saying we are made in the image of God, so it’s an old Bible truth that is given new birth in the gospel describing the cross of Jesus.
This doesn’t say we are ’a little God.’ It says God makes us in his form: A GodMan, a new species, as we discussed before. But we are told we are in the form and image of God.
Keeping in mind that we’re to have the same mind in us Jesus had, this verse then goes on to say: “Jesus did not think it robbery (or wrong) to be EQUAL with God.”
So, this is saying two things to us, if we are in the same mind Jesus was:
(1) We are in the form and image of God,
(2) It is not wrong to say we’re equal with God.
The Gospel Works Horizontally and Vertically
The gospel is totally UN-believable in many ways. It is totally mind-blowing. God’s gospel creates us equal with each other, which is how God’s love can occur between believers. Human love is nice, but it can’t compare to God’s love.
But God’s gospel also puts us on an equal, spiritual plain with himself. Again, this doesn’t say we are ‘a little God,’ but we are in God’s same dimension. Love for others is horizontal, but what God does in us and through us with himself is vertical. God wants us living in both dimensions, not just one.
“Behold what manner of love the Father has given to us: we are his sons and daughters.” This isn’t just a ‘covenant’ term as friends is. This is also a FAMILY term. We are part of God’s family in every sense of the term. We are even equal and the same with those already in heaven (Eph 3:15).
Reiterating Our Love For Others
Recall we talked about the difficulty of loving people who are not equal with us. Well, in our minds, God is NOT equal with us, unless we truly see what the gospel is saying. Most of us have what is called a ‘separation theology’ about God and just think he is ‘up there somewhere.’ In the gospel, this isn’t true, but it IS the way most folks think.
Because we think this way, it’s very hard for us to truly LOVE God. Sure, we respect him, and think his awesome, and praise him, and worship him, and pray to him, and call upon him. But truly LOVING someone so unequal with ourselves is hard — until we truly see what the gospel says about God putting us on an EQUAL level with himself.
When we live gospel truth,
it gives us the power to live life loving God,
and loving others the way he wants us to.
Who Should We See Looking Into A Mirror?
We all know the answer to the question, ‘who do we see when we look into a mirror?’ It’s a pretty easy answer if we view it naturally. We know that we see US. But who does the gospel say we should see? II Corinthians 3:18 that what we should see in the mirror is ‘the glory of the Lord.’ It goes on to say that we are changed into the same image of the glory of God.
I Peter 1:9-11 says the Old prophets saw the GRACE that would come to us, and the GLORY that would come to us due to the sufferings of Christ (the cross). It is like Paul in saying God predestined us to be conformed to the image of his Son (Rom 8:29). These describe the same type of equality. Putting these passages together, the gospel gives us a portrait of us: our identity in Christ, and who we are IN him — IN GOD.
‘The Lost Command of Jesus’ Is Hard to Believe
I call the gospel ‘the lost command of Jesus’ because it is preached so seldom. It is the TRUTH that originates with him, and him only (John 1:17). He is the truth (John 14:6).
Most preaching is true, but very little is gospel truth.
Do you know it’s much easier to preach TRUE things than it is the TRUTH? This is why Paul says so many desire to be ‘teachers of the law.’ The law is easy to understand. It’s easy to preach: “DON’T lie, cuss, cheat, steal, commit adultery, yell at your spouse, kick the cat, or be a brat.” It’s easy to preach: “DO attend church, give money, read your Bible, pray each day, join a small group, and give lots more money.”
Teaching gospel truth is harder: “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” How do you really teach that in a short sermon? Or, “I am crucified with Christ, but I live, yet not I, but Christ lives in me, and I live by the faith of the Son of God.” These take deeper understanding and revelation.
Mental Discovery vs. Divine Revelation
Proverbs 25:2 says, “It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, to search out a matter is the glory of kings.” The New Testament refers to us as Kings. But the fact is the gospel requires REVELATION, not just discovering it on our own.
The gospel requires a prayer saying, “Lord, I choose to believe anything you say because I trust you, and I know you love me, so I love you. Please reveal it to me.” It took me a year to seriously begin getting revelation after I prayed this.
We’d closed our church, The Vineyard Christian Fellowship of Evergreen, and I was discouraged and willing to try anything.
I guess God knew I needed spiritual heart surgery first. And the revelation is still coming. I know it won’t ever end.
But it also took Paul a long time as I said: 17 years and a trip to heaven to confer with God to understand the gospel.
He Who Comes to Me I Will Never Turn Away
These words of Jesus can apply to more than just salvation. He says himself we must believe the gospel, and we’ll be judged for not believing it. I hope you don’t think our Lord would not reveal the gospel to ANYONE who comes to him and asks him to reveal it.
He may use what Paul calls ‘fathers of the gospel’ to help. I like to think I’m one. Gospel fathers at least help counter some of the 10,000 other preachers. Paul compares the two of these in I Corinthians 4:15.
But be prepared for some heart surgery first. Most of us have a lot of religious cancer in us to cut out, which is what Jesus means when he says, ‘REPENT! Believe the gospel!” This is how we come out from living in darkness in All the Light We Do Not See.
The gospel is so good many folks can’t believe it.
A few people have said something like,
“That’s just too good to be true.”
Or “There’s got to be something wrong,
this isn’t God I’ve as I’ve come to know him.”
But the real truth is the gospel is so good
it can only be true, because
only the mind of God could invent it,
and only his love for us could gift it to us.