One person (Jesus) made provision for our salvation through two events, the crucificion and resurrection. Through those two events God makes two promises to people.
In Peter’s sermon at Pentecost, he elaborated by saying, “Repent…and be baptized, each of you, in the name of Jesus the Messiah for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the gift is for you and for your children, and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call” (Acts 2:38-39, HCSB).
The first promise God makes is that we can be forgiven of our sin. The word for forgiveness is a financial term that speaks of the elimination of a debt. Have you ever had a debt forgiven? When my wife and I were first married, our first major purchase was a new car. We bought a 1985 Mercury Lynx (the Mercury version of the Ford Escort). We financed it for 60 months and kept the car until it was paid off. I still remember the amount of the payments: $159.23. We wrote sixty checks for that amount until finally we were able to tear the final coupon out of the payment book and mailed it in. We were so happy to truly own the car, even with the door dings, soda stained upholstery, and 100,000+ miles on the odometer.
The problem with sin is that there is no end to the amortization schedule. We can’t pay it off by our own efforts through good deeds. The reason being that good deeds may help us feel better as we contemplate the fruit of sin (the bad things we do), but it doesn’t deal with the root of our sin. The Bible teaches that we are born with a tendency or a bent toward sin and self. Have you ever noticed that you don’t have to teach a child to lie, hit, or grab? No, you have to teach a child to tell the truth, restrain their anger, and to share. We are born from birth with a bent to sin and self. Its in our DNA, and there’s not enough good deeds to overcome that. Yet Jesus offers forgiveness–elimination of the debt–of sin. That’s good news.
But wait, there’s more!
Not only does God promise that he will provide forgiveness. He promises the Holy Spirit. So what’s that all about? According to Ephesians 1, the Holy Spirit is God’s pledge of promise on our eternal life. Again we see another financial term. If you’ve ever purchased a home, you know that in order to complete the contract offer you have to write a check to accompany your offer. That check is called earnest money. It’s a good faith promise that you intend to fulfill your contractual obligation in accordance with the terms of the sale offer. Or to put it simply, its a deposit.
When a person responds to the gospel God fulfills two promises. Not only does he forgive our sin, he also gives the gift of the Holy Spirit who serves as God’s pledge of promise that the faith we exhibit will indeed result in eternal life right now and a home in heaven when we die.
Gospel preaching calls out the good news that one person through two events offers two promises. It’s that simple. And it’s something everyone of us is called to do.