I hear the phrase “closer to God” or “close to God” a lot. I have heard it all my life. After a conference, someone might claim that they feel “closer to God” or claim that they ARE closer to God.
I’ve used this phrase often. Most of the time, I haven’t spoken the phrase.
But I’ve thought it.
Can someone get “closer to God”?
I have thought, “am I still close to God?”, or “I don’t FEEL close to God”. Hmmm.
The phrase seems innocent enough. But it draws us away from something pure, something simple. I think it can take away from the Gospel.
Can someone get “closer to God”? Yes. Once they are saved. The Bible teaches that once someone is saved, that is- repenting of sin and calling upon the Lord Jesus Christ for Salvation–> God comes to live in them.
Wow. Jesus had this in view in John Chapter 15 when He spoke of the Vine and the Branches. Jesus spoke of ABIDING in His people, and in Acts 2 the disciples were filled with the Spirit! God dwells in His people!
You can’t get any closer than “in”! OK?
Isn’t this exciting news! God’s Grace saves you and God’s Grace keeps you. And God stays in you. Glory!
Can someone get “closer to God” after they are saved? No. I don’t think so. The devil loves the ups and downs of life. The devil wants you to be feeling driven instead of faith driven. He wants you to question God’s love for you, and when times are tough and God seems so far away, that liar of a devil tells you that you are not “close” to God.
But if you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and are saved, God is in you, and you are in Him. Forever.
Don’t try to earn what Jesus already gave. Don’t try to get “closer to God”. Rest in Him. Love Him. Know that He is always in you, will always help you, will always love you.
So how can this phrase (to quote myself) “take away from the Gospel?”. The Gospel is all about Grace (a free undeserved gift) and not about works. Using this phrase in the context it is usually used so easily lends itself to a “work” mentality instead of a “Grace” mentality. The pure grace-filled Gospel becomes something different. It has been compromised.
If pride wells up in your heart, or if you ever feel as though you earned your status as “faithful child of the King” remember this- any sinner can become just as “close” to the Lord as you are in one holy moment.
See, the ground really is level at the cross.
The Gospel means “the Good News”!
A man named Jesus died and rose again, proving what He claimed about Himself was true- that He was God and that He is the way, the truth and the life, and that NO ONE can come to the Father except through Him.
The Gospel is good news, because Jesus is the solution to your greatest problem- that you are a sinful human being, just like me. The Bible says we all are. The World says we are OK, that we are perfect just the way we are.
The Gospel is good news, because we have a SAVIOR! And we can be free from the sin and death that we were born with! OH! Embrace Jesus Christ by faith today, trust that His death on the cross paid the price for your sins! Believe in Him today!
The Gospel is good news, because it is all up to God, not us! Listen- you can’t blow this thing. Call upon the name of the Lord Jesus and you WILL be saved! (Calling is the act of faith). Its 100% God, 0% you. Your failures don’t matter. The Gospel does!
Your weakness doesn’t matter. The Gospel does. Your past mistakes don’t matter. The Gospel does. YOU ARE FREE when you embrace the Gospel.
Jesus loves you. Embrace Him today. He is wonderful.
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I am currently leading the youth group I pastor through the book of Titus.
We have already covered the first 9 verses, took us 3 weeks. I am teaching Titus 1:10-16 tomorrow.
I am including it on here because IT IS AWESOME. My confidence comes from the Word of God, I know it’s authority and am excited about what this passage highlights in our lives.
The Gospel (or, the Good News) is that Jesus died to set sinners free. We are all sinners, the Bible says there is no one who is righteous, no, not one, there is none who does good. For all have sinned and fall short of God’s Glory! We all have need of forgiveness if we seek to be set free from sin. Sin is death.
We need life.
Jesus died to give us that life. We get it through faith (believing), and faith comes through God’s Grace (unmerited favor). God’s favor over us is unmerited, meaning its undeserved. But, in His love, He forgives us through Jesus. That’s the Gospel. But, let me be clear. The Devil knows the Gospel and hates the Gospel. The Gospel is the power of God unto salvation, for everyone who believes!
So the devil loves Gospel distortions- leading people to begin to believe that Jesus is NOT enough! We have to do “extra things”. Unwittingly, people try to grab Glory that belongs only to God by living life as if they are somehow earning the Salvation that was a free and undeserved gift!
Back to Titus 1. Paul warns Titus against “myths” and “commandments” taught by men who have strayed from the truth (verse 14). The myths or commandments seem to be adding extra necessities to the Christian life, instead of holding on to the true Gospel, which makes all things pure (v.15). We do not have to earn ANYTHING.
Be warned. Humanity loves to earn things. We love to receive what we feel like we deserve. That gives US glory, when God only gives out Salvation for FREE through His Son, Jesus Christ. Wow!
Don’t get caught in the man-made rules we so often turn to. To the pure, all things are pure. To the ones who love to add to the Gospel, even if they profess to know God, they are unfit for any good work! (v. 16).
That’s harsh. Why, Paul? Lord, why be so harsh here? Because if they add their “glory” and “accomplishments” to the Gospel, they feel they deserve it. Pride comes in. And, no good work should be done by those who would EVER take credit that belongs only to God.
Jesus paid the price. Turn to Him. Forget the “rules”. haha. I love Jesus.