A Gospel Tip! The Gospel Is The Impossible Dream! Be Willing To Believe the Impossible
In this Gospel Tip we are going to look at belief and what we believe, and more specifically Bible belief.
The New Testament gospel is actually The Impossible Dream. It allows us to believe in the impossible, because God says it. God cannot lie, so what he says must be true — the gospel truth.
In the Garden, Adam and Eve ate from THE TREE OF LIFE. This is a single-mindedness of total trust in God. It was not mixed with anything else.
But the mixed it and ate from the forbidden tree, THE TREE OF THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOOD AND BAD. This tree was forbidden by God just because he was God. He knew the tree would be poison to us, and cause failure in our divine relationship with him that only THE TREE OF LIFE alone could give us.
The Tree of Knowledge basically required an impossible lifestyle. In the Old Testament, the impossible life was the law of Moses. This defined The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Bad to the Nth degree. The law defined everything good, and everything bad that man could do. And mankind was called upon to live by ALL of the good things, and to refrain from doing ANY of the bad things.
LIVING BY LAW IS IMPOSSIBLE
The fact is that mankind cannot live by law, and God knew it. Moses only gave the people 10 laws (The Ten Commandments) and they couldn’t live by them. Pharisees later increased this to almost 700 other laws and commands, and of course the people couldn’t live by them either. The Old Testment was all about laws and doing things by the book — in countless ways. But don’t miss this:
Adam and Eve only had ONE law to live by,
and they couldn’t live by just that ONE thing either!
What’s wrong with this picture?
Total compliance to divine law was demanded. James says that, under this system, “Whoever shall keep the whole law, but shall offend in one point, he is guilty of all.” This caused the Apostle Paul to write, “There is none righteous, no not one. All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
LIVING BY LAW IS BEING UNDER A CURSE
Galatians says we live under a CURSE if we try to live by law, but don’t live by all of it. Jesus came to take the curses away – so this as the only curse left in the New Testament.
Specifically, the curse is this:
If you live under the law, you are under a curse.
No one can live under the law and be right with God,
so everyone is under a curse even if they try.
RIGHTEOUSNESS IS GOD’S DEMAND
Righteousness is what God demands from us if we are to relate to him. But man could not live by the impossible behavior code of the law that they thought would make them righteous if they did (Deut 6:25).
So, God changed the whole game. For illustration, it might be said that he changed the rules from ‘football rules’ to ‘baseball rules.’ If you know the games, then you know that the rules for each are very, very different. This is what Hebrews 9:9-10 calls “The Reformation.” In this illustration, God changed the game totally.
While righteousness was IMPOSSIBLE for anyone under the Old game, in the New game righteousness (or right standing with God) is possible for everyone. You can say he made the rules a lot easier. This is what Jesus says: “My way is easy.” We’re told in John 1:17: “The law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.”
God can only relate to us if we are righteous. People couldn’t be righteous in the Old Testament, so only a very select few had any type of relationship with him. But in the New, God is no respecter of persons. He only respects our faith and trust in the finished work of his Son Jesus on the cross.
THE BETTER NEW COVENANT
In the New Testament, THE TREE OF LIFE was re-instituted at the cross. Mankind had lived by The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil for 4,000 years. Now, in Hebrews Paul says there was total ‘reformation.’ I can’t prove it from scripture, but Galatians 3:13 says Jesus was crucified on a TREE. I personally believe it was The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Bad that got us all in so much trouble.
God still requires the impossible, but not under the law.
The Old Covenant was so hard it was impossible to live,
but the New is so good, it is almost impossible to believe!
Paul says the New has been established in place of the Old — it has replaced the Old (See Heb 10:9, Eph 2:15, Col 2:14). But the New Testament still requires the impossible: we are called to believe what seems like being impossible to us.
We are called to believe ONLY the gospel, just Adam and Eve were told to ONLY eat from The Tree of Life. You see, God wants us pure in heart, as Jesus says. If we are pure in heart he says we will see God. This means to be single-minded, and not to allow ourselves to be deluded and watered-down by so many different things. Thus Jesus says to repent of all other beliefs and ONLY believe the gospel. If we are, then we are righteous in our beliefs.
If we do this, then we can BELIEVE THE IMPOSSIBLE. Living by law is impossible, but living in the gospel causes us to believe the impossible because we trust God. The Old Testament was about behavior, — the New is about belief. But see this:
Good behavior will never produce correct belief,
but correct belief will eventually produce good behavior.
Jesus says that BELIEF is our ‘work’ (John 6:29).
The gospel is a heart gospel. Living by law is living in your head. The gospel is revealed to us inside, and works through us to what we think, do and say. Thus, belief changes behavior. Paul says the Gospel produces good fruit in us (Col 1:5-6). Thus he says the gospel is the power of God in us (Rom 1:16-17). It causes us to live better by accident than we ever could on purpose.
Why is this true? It’s true because it is the power of God himself working in us. And it all begins with us being WILLING to trust God, and us being WILLING to “Believe the Impossible.” God’s thoughts are higher than ours, and so are his ways (Isa 55:8-9). But the gospel is what he uses to bring us up to think his thoughts and know his ways.
Roger Himes, The Gospel Coach