At Liberti Church one of our values is that we are Gospel Centered. We are all about the gospel which is focused on who Jesus is and what he said and did. Jesus is the hero of history and the centerpiece of the entire Bible.
God made us to worship Him. He was our Father, living and walking among us, giving us everything we needed to live, and yet we chose to sin against Him - a cosmic act of treason punishable by death (Gen 2:17; Rm 6:23). As a result, we were separated from God, and we try to be our own gods, declaring what is right and wrong, and living life by our own standards.
JESUS LIVED A LIFE WE COULD NOT
Despite our pride and ignorance, Jesus, who created the world and is God, lovingly came into human history as a man (John 1:14; Rm 1:3; 8:3; Gal 4:4; Philemon 2:7, 8; Col 1:22; 1 Tim 3:16; Heb 2:14; 1 Jn 4:2; 2 Jn 7). He was born of a virgin, (Mt 1:23; Is 7:14) and He lived a life without sin, (Heb 4:15; 1 Pt 2:22; 1 Jn 3:5) though He was tempted in every way as we are.
Because of His great love for us, He went to the cross and took on the punishment of death that we justly deserved (Rm 3:25; 1 Jn 2:2). Before His death and after His resurrection, Jesus preached that the good news of God’s kingdom, love, promise, forgiveness, and acceptance was fulfilled in Him, in both His life and death.
JESUS DIED A DEATH WE COULD NOT
Adam and Eve in the garden substituted themselves for God, like we do, choose to trust in ourselves and be our own god rather than trusting in God himself and, at the cross, Jesus reversed that substitution, substituting Himself for sinners (1 Cor 15:45–48). When Jesus went to the cross, He willingly took upon Himself the sin of those who would come to trust in Him. That means that if you trust Him as your Lord and Savior, Jesus went to the cross and took upon Himself all your sin; past, present, and future, and that He died in your place, paying your debt to God and purchasing your salvation (Rm 10:9; Mt 10:32; Lk 12:8).
THE GREAT EXCHANGE
Jesus not only took the punishment for your sin, but He also lived a perfectly righteous life. When you trust in Christ, your sins are forgiven and you are declared righteous by God, the ultimate judge. The righteousness of Christ is attributed to you as if you lived a perfect life. 2 Cor 5:21 tells us this: “For our sake He made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.”
Martin Luther called this the Great Exchange: “Lord Jesus, you are my righteousness, just as I am your sin. You have taken upon yourself what is mine and have given me what is yours. You have taken upon yourself what you were not and have given to me what I was not.”
JESUS ROSE FROM THE GRAVE
Jesus’ dead body was then laid in a tomb, where He lay buried for three days. On the third day, Jesus rose in victory over Satan, sin, death, demons, and hell (Lk 42:1; Mt 28:1–8; Mk 16:1–8; Jn 20:1). Jesus spent more time eating, drinking, laughing, and teaching with his closest friends (Jn 20-21).
He ascended into heaven, and today is alive and reigning (Acts 1:6–11). He is seated on a throne, and he is ruling over all nations, cultures, philosophies, races, and periods of time. Jesus will come again to judge the living and the dead, and those who trust in Him will enjoy eternity in His kingdom of heaven forever. Those who do not will suffer apart from Him in the conscious, eternal torments of hell (Rev 21).
He is King of kings and He is Lord of lords (Rev 17:14), and He is ruling and reigning over all people, commanding everyone everywhere to repent. And now He commissions us with the Holy Spirit to be missionaries, telling this amazing news that there is a God who passionately, lovingly, continually, and relentlessly pursues us.
WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?
Because of the amazing and radical message of the gospel, it’s important that we don’t confuse the Gospel with religion. We intentionally talk about Jesus, who He is and what He has done, all the time. We worship Jesus, not religion. As such we desire to talk more about what Jesus has done rather than what people should do (Gal 1:6–9).
The beauty of the Gospel is that once you truly understand what Jesus has done for you, you desire to do what He calls you to do. Trying to do it the other way around is futile.
The message of Jesus was, “Repent!”, not “Be better!” As Martin Luther said in the first of his 95 Theses: “When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said ‘Repent', He intended that the entire life of believers should be one of repentance.” So, echoing Luther, we affirm that all of the Christian life is one of repentance. Turning from sin and trusting in the good news that Jesus saves sinners isn’t merely a one-time inaugural experience but instead the daily substance of Christianity. The Gospel is for everyone, every day, every moment.