WHAT is the plain Gospel truth, the Good News of old that is now touted by the likes of Joel Osteen, Joyce Meyer, Benny Hinn, Kenneth Copeland, Myles Munroe, T.D. Jakes, et al (of the Word-Faith Movement), as the crowd-pleasing, get-rich-through-JESUS "prosperity gospel"?
But first -- the bad news -- and it is that we've all eaten of that "apple" called sin that so enticed Eve... that fruit called pride which caught her eye with its delectable appearance, whetting her appetite so that she lusted to satisfy her covetous desire (deceitfully persuaded by the father of lies -- satan); and Adam in lame agreement by his silent acquiescence, both rebelling at the Owner's prohibition against picking fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil... resulting in separation from GOD, banishment from the Garden, spiritual death upon all of Adam and Eve's descendants --
Paradise lost. (Genesis 3)
That bad news is still in effect today -- we're still barred from the Garden of Eden.
We repent and turn to GOD for His gracious gift of pardon through the only Way provided by Him -- via the Cross of CHRIST JESUS, who is Himself Truth incarnate and eternal Life manifested in the flesh. For as it is written in the Holy Scriptures, whosoever believes in the Son of GOD shall not perish but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)
CHRIST holds the heavenly key which swings the door wide open to GOD's heart -- Owner of the Garden of Eden -- in fact, Owner of everything on earth and in the entire universe. (Job 41:11)
GOD the Father so loved the world that He commissioned GOD the Son to be the Savior for us lost sinners. The Son of GOD was the Substitutionary Sacrifice who paid for our sin-debts against a thrice-holy GOD. The Son so loved the Father that He willingly relinquished for a time the infinite riches in glory (though not His deity) that He equally shared with the Father and the Holy SPIRIT so that He may glorify the Father's name -- His perfect holiness and righteous justice, and His incomprehensible love and abundant mercy to us undeserving rebels.
CHRIST JESUS accomplished the inconceivable. On the Cross, the Father's holy justice and merciful love met in the Person of CHRIST. JESUS' own shed blood was the only sacrifice infinitely worthy to satisfy the Father's holy wrath against all of mankind's sin, all of which JESUS bore upon Himself. With CHRIST's death as the Propitiation (Appeasement) for our sins, GOD can then be a just Judge to the unjust because He poured out all His holy wrath on His own Son. JESUS, the perfect and righteous sacrificial Lamb, drank to the very last drop the cup of GOD's unfathomable wrath that we, sinners all, deserve. GOD's holy justice was satisfied, His name glorified by JESUS' incomparable work on Cross -- the ultimate act of supreme love and amazing grace.
The Good News -- CHRIST died an excruciating death on the Cross; and worst of all, He suffered the ultimate mind-boggling wrath of the Father -- an infinitely holy GOD who hates with a deep-seated righteous anger the wicked of the world, whose sins since the beginning of time until the end of the world, GOD has stored up for punishment -- and this WRATH He unleashed upon GOD the Son on the cross, to save condemned sinners, the whosoever of John 3:16 -- you and me and whosoever calls on the name of CHRIST. When we cry out to GOD, LORD, be merciful to me, a sinner! with a genuinely repentant heart, trusting in CHRIST as the Son of GOD who has supreme authority to forgive all our sins, believing in the historical fact of His resurrection, and receiving Him (through faith alone in GOD's unmerited grace) as Savior and LORD of our body, heart and soul -- MASTER of our lives -- we are made spiritually alive In CHRIST, born-again of GOD.
Receiving JESUS as the CHRIST -- Savior and LORD -- of our lives is the Truth and the Way to a prosperous Life! JESUS Himself is the Key to the eternal prosperity that begins when we confess that He is LORD. In CHRIST dwells the fullness of GOD; therefore, in CHRIST are the TRUE riches that will never fade or rust or get moth-eaten or stolen or lose their value -- they're imperishable and priceless.
And we don't have to die the physical death to receive this prosperous eternal life! It is ours immediately -- the instant we receive redemption through our faith in CHRIST, GOD's eternal gifts are provided for those spiritually born-again into His family. The following is but a short list of the abundant blessings freely given to the children of GOD:
** the Holy SPIRIT and His almighty supernatural power, enabling us to accomplish the good works that the Father had planned for us even before He began time (John 7:38-39, 2 Corinthians 9:8)
** the new birth -- regeneration... our spirit made alive to the things of GOD... no longer stiff-necked, hard-hearted rebels, but new creatures in spirits divine -- children of GOD (2 Corinthians 5:17, John 1:12)
** justification -- all our sins forgiven... past, present and future! Redeemed -- guiltless before the holy Judge... saved from His judgment -- saved from Hell! (2 Corinthians 5:21, Romans 4:25, 5:1, 9)
** daily cleansing from sins of the flesh (forgiveness of sins directly from JESUS who is our High Priest... no need for a human mediator to mete out penance in the form of mindless repetitive prayers) (1 John 1:9, Matthew 6:14-15)
** adoption into GOD's family... we are granted the honor and privilege of calling the Almighty Creator -- Father, Abba...DAD! and JESUS -- who is Lord of lords and King of kings -- our Elder Brother, Faithful Friend, Perfect Husband (Romans 8:14-15, Galatians 3:26, Ephesians 5:25-30, John 15:13-15, John 20:17)
** a heavenly inheritance with JESUS and all the saints (Romans 8:16-17, 1 Peter 1:3-4, Colossians 3:23-24, Ephesians 1:13-14, Revelation 21:7)
** bold access to GOD's throne... bringing to Him our petitions and prayers with childlike trust and loving reverence (1 John 3:21-22, 5:14-15, Romans 8:31-32, John 14:13-14, John 15:7, Matthew 7:7-8)
** no Judgment Day... rather, we are given rewards for the good works which were done with pure motives -- for the love of JESUS, to the glory of the Father, for the advancement of His Kingdom (Jeremiah 17:10, Matthew 5:11-12, Colossians 3:23-24, Matthew 10:42, James 1:12)
** resurrection in glorified bodies (John 11:25-26; Romans 8:11; 1 Corinthians 15:42-44, 15:51-53; 2 Corinthians 5:1; Revelation 22:12)
** answered prayers... GOD's promises guaranteed to His children who are IN CHRIST (John 14:13-14, 15:7; 1 John 3:21-22, 5:14-15; Matthew 18:19-20; Mark 11:22-24; 2 Corinthians 1:20)
** communion (fellowship) with the Father and Son through the indwelling SPIRIT (1 John 1:3)
** illumination of GOD's Word by the Holy SPIRIT... heart-to-heart communion, wise counsel and life-direction from GOD through His written WORD (John 16:13, John 14:17)
** no Hell... no outer darkness... no gnashing of teeth... no fire and brimstone, where the worm does not die (no 72 virgins!) (Revelation 20:11-15, 21:4; Matthew 25:30; Mark 9:43-48)
** no boredom in Heaven, no wasted time... since GOD is infinite in CHRIST, it will take all of eternity to discover all the gazillion facets of GOD's infinite perfections (Revelation 19:7-9, 20:4-6, 22:3)
** supernatural peace from JESUS that surpasses understanding, the kind the world cannot know (Philippians 4:7, 2 Corinthians 13:11)
** settled peace with GOD... no longer under the condemnation of His wrathful judgment against our sins (Romans 5:1)
** indescribable joy of JESUS... experientially -- not imagined or manufactured, but through daily grace from GOD (Nehemiah 8:10, Psalm 16:11, John 15:11, 16:24)
** reconciliation with GOD the Father (Romans 5:10, 2 Corinthians 5:18)
** fruit of the SPIRIT: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control, righteousness, truth (Galatians 5:22, Ephesians 5:9)
** the perfect righteousness of JESUS in exchange for our filthy rags of self-righteousness (1 Corinthians 1:30, Philippians 1:11, Romans 3:22, 5:17)
** sanctification, positional and progressive CHRISTlikeness (1 Corinthians 6:11, 2 Corinthians 3:18, Romans 12:2)
** meaningful and purposeful life serving others for GOD's glory (John 13:35, 14:12, 15:8; Matthew 28:19)
** no more sin in Heaven -- no more tears... no more pain (Isaiah 25:8, Revelation 7:17, 21:4)
** unconditionally loved as precious and valuable (1 John 3:1, John 3:16, Ephesians 2:4)
** security... GOD will never, ever -- no, NEVER ever leave or forsake His children (Hebrews 13:5, Deuteronomy 31:6, Joshua 1:9)
** constant Companion -- Counselor, Helper and Comforter in the Holy SPIRIT (John 14:16, 26; Matthew 28:20)
** wisdom for the asking, which our heavenly Father will give in abundance (James 1:5)
** citizenship in Heaven... we are in this world, but not of this world (Philippians 3:20, Ephesians 2:19, )
** intercessory prayers... JESUS Himself praying for His followers, and the Holy SPIRIT communing with the Father as to our deepest desires (Romans 8:26, 34)
** strength from CHRIST to endure all things (Philippians 4:13, Isaiah 40:31)
** the reality that GOD causes all things to work together for the good of those who love Him, to those who are the called, according to His purpose (Romans 8:28)
** protection from satanic forces (Psalm 91:4-6, 9-10, 14; 2 Thessalonians 3:3; Psalm 121:7-8; Matthew 6:13)
** contentment in all situations (Philippians 4:11, Matthew 6:31-33, Hebrews 13:5)
Truly born-again followers of CHRIST are the most spiritually prosperous souls on the face of the earth!
Though i'm no Bill Gates -- i am by far richer than he because i have all of the above -- extravagant blessings now, some in progress, and all that my finite mind can't even imagine waiting for me as my inheritance in Heaven as a child of the Almighty GOD, guaranteed by CHRIST JESUS for those who have put their faith in Him. But as it is written: "Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which GOD has prepared for those who love Him." (1 Corinthians 2:9)
Ultimate prosperity then -- here on earth and in Heaven -- is in the Person of JESUS CHRIST. For in Him all the fullness of GOD was pleased to dwell... (Colossians 1:19)
Delight yourself in the LORD and He will give you the desires of your heart. (Psalm 37:4) Seek first the Kingdom of GOD and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you. (Matthew 6:33) Those who seek the LORD lack no good thing. (Psalm 34:10) The LORD is my Shepherd, in Him i shall not lack. (Psalm 23:1)
And yet, for me, to know JESUS Himself, with heavenly blessings or none, materially prosperous on earth or not -- He is enough! To know Him supremely, to see with the eyes of my heart His indescribable perfections, to delight in His Person, to exult in His Presence -- that is enough for me.
For what would heaven be without JESUS? Just another pretty place... Without JESUS' precious presence in Heaven -- a Paradise without His Life, without His Light, without His Truth, without His incomparable beauty and glorious holiness -- eternity would be dull and lifeless and boring as the infinite number of years roll on and on, forever and ever and ever...and evermore!
Eternal prosperity -- real success and true wealth -- is knowing and having JESUS Himself.