I've been thinking recently about the Gospel. Good, well done Ed, you should think about the Gospel. But i mean, i've been thinking about why it's good news that what makes the good news good is Jesus. Does that make sense?
Ok, well, what is the best and highest good news of the Gospel, of the 'Good News'? It's Jesus. We get Jesus. We get Him, the greatest reality, the greatest Person there is or was or ever will be. The Good News is not forgiveness of sins, as infinitely necessary as that is, the good news is not God will give me a happy marriage, the Good News is not that i get a whole bunch of new sunday morning friends or something else to do other than sit through the Hollyoaks omnibus. Now, all those things are good, but they're not why Jesus died on the cross. Those things make us the apex of the Gospel, which, quite simply, we are not. Those things make Christ our servant, our means, our way of getting something. It makes an idol of forgiveness. And how sick the human heart is that we can make an idol of something as beautiful as forgiveness.
But whats new about that? I've written and spoken and thought and rejoiced in that before. This week i tried to start going on a bit in my thinking to try and see on a practical, broken down level why this is good news. Why the fact that God is the Gospel is better than forgiveness being the Gospel. There are the obvious reasons of course, obvious and glorious. It's not Heaven if Jesus isn't there...there's not an ounce, not a scintilla of joy or peace or love or happiness apart from Him. It just doesn't exist.
That can be quite an abstract concept.
God is the Gospel is better than my faith in Jesus is the Gospel, because sometimes i won't be faithful. Sometimes i'll deliberately sin, sometimes i'll be in a pattern i can't get out of. My faith isn't good news then, in fact, if i'm relying on my faith then what have i got to rely on. God is the Gospel is better than sanctification is the Gospel for the same reason. But if we, as Spurgeon has it, flee to the wounds, then we will never be turned back, never lose hope.
God is the Gospel is better than a nice life is the Gospel because sometimes the Christian life is not nice. It's not meant to be. 'Take up your cross and follow me'. Where then the good news that your life will be better if you follow Jesus. So often my Gospel presentations turn into a sort of spiritualised prosperity Gospel. Thats nothing short of cruel. Jesus is wonderful and all satisfying, why promise someone a lie. The wounds. The wounds.
God is the Gospel is better than church is the Gospel, because sometimes being part of a church is not good news. Or, at least, it doesn't feel like it. Church is still great. We'll be hurt, let down and sinned against in the church. If we look for our hope, security and satisfaction there, we won't find it. Where is it to be found? In Christ's blood bought communion with Himself.
Christ knows what we need. Himself. He is all our hearts long for, He is what we need. And He knows that, so He died on the cross that we might have that relationship with Him that we need. Now forgiveness, sanctification, the church and deep non circumstantial spiritual joy are all good things. Very very good things. But their not The Good thing. They can't be.
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