Grounded in the Gospel: 10 Theological Facets to Increase Your Joy in God's Grace
by Clay Burgess
While the offer of the gospel is rather simple, its impact is quite complex and takes a lifetime of study to fully appreciate all the impact it makes on our lives. Below are ten facets of the gospel briefly explained in hopes of helping you better know and understand the gospel. These ten facets have been the subject of many lengthy books. The purpose here is to introduce you to these key theological concepts and give you some verses to consider. Growing in your understanding of the gospel will help you truly know who Jesus is.
1. JESUS MAKES ME RIGHTEOUS: Jesus is my Justification
Justification is a legal term and means to declare righteous. It is the opposite of condemnation. Justification is God’s declaration that we are righteous before Him. No one can justify themselves, therefore they need help from the outside. We are justified by grace, unmerited or undeserved favor, through faith in Jesus and His work on the cross. When we are justified, righteousness is exchanged. Our sins are transferred to Jesus and His righteousness is transferred to us. Martin Luther called this “the Great Exchange.”
Verses to Consider: Romans 3:24, 8:1; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Galatians 2:16.
2. JESUS SETS ME FREE: Jesus is my Redeemer
Redemption is a commercial term borrowed from the marketplace. It presupposes captivity or bondage and that a ransom must be paid by a benefactor to gain someone’s freedom. Jesus became the ransom for us. He took the initiative and paid the price to redeem us from sin, God’s wrath, and the curse of death.
Verses to Consider: Romans 3:24; 1 Peter 1:18-19; Galatians 3:13; Mark 10:45.
3. JESUS GIVES ME LIFE: Jesus is my Sacrifice
A sacrifice is necessary to restore our relationship with God. Our sin separates us from God and creates a barrier that prevents us from having access to Him. Jesus gave His life as a sacrifice for our sins, to pay the penalty of death, and renew our connection with our Creator. Jesus paid the penalty we deserved so we could have life.
Verses to Consider: Leviticus 16:15-16; Hebrews 7:27; 9:26; 1 Peter 3:18; 2 Corinthians 13:4.
4. JESUS TURNED GOD'S WRATH AWAY FROM ME: Jesus is my Propitiation
Propitiation means to satisfy the demands of justice. It requires a sacrifice to absorb God’s wrath that is rightfully due a sinner and thus allows the sinner to receive God’s favor. Because of the work of Jesus as our propitiation, God’s wrath is averted or taken from us.
Verses to Consider: Romans 3:25; Hebrews 2:17; 1 John 2:2, 4:10.
5. JESUS REMOVED MY GUILT: Jesus is my Expiation
The prefix “ex” means “out of” or “from.” Expiation has to do with removing or taking something away. In Biblical terms it has to do with taking away guilt and shame through the payment of a penalty. Jesus died on the cross as an offering of atonement to remove our sin.
Verses to Consider: Psalm 103:12; Micah 7:19; Isaiah 38:17; Colossians 2:13-14.
6. JESUS RESTORED MY CONNECTION TO GOD: Jesus is my Reconciliation
Reconciliation is necessary when there has been a disruption in a relationship. Where there were once no barriers, there is now a wall, a divide separating what was once a vibrant and healthy connection. In our lives, sin has ruptured our relationship with God. In love, Jesus has absorbed our sin and made reconciliation with God possible, thus restoring our relationship with Him.
Verses to Consider: 2 Corinthians 5:16-21; Ephesians 2:13; Romans 5:6-11.
7. JESUS DEFENDS ME: Jesus is my Advocate
An advocate is someone who comes along side another to provide counsel and defense. Our enemy, Satan, also known as the accuser, is constantly bringing charges against us. While we can neither defend ourselves nor fulfill God’s perfect Law and holy standard, Jesus can. Jesus’ perfect sin-free life and sacrificial death satisfied God’s wrath. Jesus is now at the righthand of the Father interceding for and defending us!
Verses to Consider: Revelation 12:9-10; 1 John 2:1-2; Romans 8:34; Hebrews 7:25, 9:34.
8. JESUS TOOK MY PLACE: Jesus is my Substitution
Substitution refers to a person or thing serving in place of another. We need a substitute to take our place because our sin has violated God’s standard and separated us from His presence. Jesus, because He lived a perfect, sin-free life, was qualified to take our place as our substitute. Jesus willingly suffered in our place so our relationship with God could be restored.
Verses to Consider: Isaiah 53:4-6; John 11:48-51; 2 Corinthians 5:14-15; Hebrews 9:26-10:12.
9. JESUS SHOWS ME HOW TO LIVE: Jesus is my Example
As Jesus lived his life on earth, he modeled how one should live selflessly and sacrificially for the service of and benefit of others. He served his disciples by washing their feet and ultimately served both His disciples and us by giving His life so we could have the opportunity to spend eternity with Him in heaven. All of Jesus’ actions served as an example of how we should conduct our lives.
Verses to Consider: John 13:1-17; Mark 10:45; 1 Peter 2:21.
10. JESUS GIVES ME HOPE AND A FUTURE: Jesus is my Victor
Jesus’ work on the cross and His resurrection from the grave reveal that He is a triumphant warrior and our liberator from the bondage of sin. Jesus conquers sin and the grave and gives us great hope regarding our future!
Verses to Consider: Luke 4:18; Colossians 2:13-15; 1 Corinthians 15:54-57.