A lot has been going on in my heart and mind this week. I'm struggling to integrate things I'm learning into my thinking and, in the process, seeing new depths of my sin. Surely it's no irony all of this is challenging me at a time when I'm preparing to speak about the Gospel - a Gospel I struggle daily to believe myself. What is that Gospel? That God loved me and sent a Savior before I even knew I needed one and that I receive His grace through faith alone (not effort, not good works, not striving.)
Martin Luther spoke of the "old clinging dirt" of wanting to try to prove himself to God, offer Him something. So, this is no new experience for the Christian. And it reminds me of Jerry Bridges advice to "preach the Gospel to yourself every day."
The Gospel tells us several things:
- It tells us what God is like, the extent to which He has to and would go to to rescue his lost people. He is holy; He is love. See Luke 15 for great stories about that.
- It tells us what we're like before God enters in: dead in sin, self-gratifiers, deserving of wrath (Ephesians 2:1-3) We were in BAD shape, nothing we could have gotten ourselves out of.
- It tells us what we're like after God enters in: the old has gone, the new has come! (2 Corinthians 5:17) If Christ is or Savior and Lord, He's taken or sin and given us His righteousness.
- It tells us what we will be like when God makes all things new: we will be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is (I John 3:2) We will share in Christ's glory!
For me, the thing I most need to remember is that I'm not a good person, but I am redeemed and God has good works He prepared in advance for me to do. I can easily get too stuck on myself. Perhaps you can relate? The Gospel reminds me it's not about me, it's about the God who rescued me. Life works better when I submit myself to God's wisdom and not my own foolishness.
Thank you for the cross!
Today, friends, remember your salvation is a gift of God. Go into your churches, confess your sins, and worship with gladness for the Lord has been GOOD to you!
Yet I am always with you;
you hold me by my right hand.
You guide me with your counsel,
and afterward you will take me into glory.
Whom have I in heaven but you?
And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart
and my portion forever.