Google GogglesRecently, the Lord has been growing my understanding of the Gospel in many different ways, and although these truths are not anything “new,” they are new to me, and I wanted to share them!
In the past, I thought of “the Gospel” as something that we hear when we first become a believer, and then we really don’t think about it again until we realize that it’s our calling to share it with someone else. Recently, I was introduced to a new way of thinking about the Gospel.
At our conversion, we are, for the first time, understanding the great separation between God’s holiness and our own sinfulness. At this point, we understand that God did for us, through Jesus, what we could never do for ourselves. He showed his grace for us and the rest of the world by redeeming us, but he also showed his justice in making sure that someone paid for all our sins, by sending his Son and allowing him to die on the cross instead of crucifying us, the ones who actually deserved eternal separation from a holy God. So Jesus became the bridge between sinful people and a holy God.
At our conversion, though, we might not understand all there is to know about God and his character and the true depth of our sinfulness. As we continue to walk with God, we learn more about who He is and more about how sinful we are. This, in turn, should make what Jesus did for us on the cross all the more necessary. Our love and affection for Jesus and the importance of the cross should grow as we learn more about God and ourselves. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always seem to be the case. Because of our fleshly nature, we tend to minimize the need for the cross by either not acknowledging God’s perfect holiness, or elevating ourselves more than we ought and not understanding our true depravity. Either shrinks the cross and tends to cause us to lose our appreciation for the gospel. (And this is what we should work against.)
As I learn more about the Gospel, I have realized how it should inform every aspect of my life. I have learned that I need to preach the gospel to myself everyday so that I remember the importance of the cross and my inability to please God with any works that I may do. I also need it when I mess up so that I can remember that Jesus already took my place on the cross, paying for those sins. Neither situation can bring me closer or farther from God. The cross is the only thing that can connect a depraved sinner to a holy God. Jesus says in Matthew 9:14, “For I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who are sinners.” In order for us to recognize the great work that Christ did on the cross, we have to first understand how much we need it.
I am in now way saying that I have mastered this “preach the gospel to yourself daily” thing, but it is something that I want to strive to do because I want to see everything through a Gospel lens. (Or “Gospel Goggles” as I am now fondly referring to it after downloading the Google Goggles app on my new phone. This app takes something that you might not know much about and puts it in a new perspective with new information, just like the Gospel can do for us.) The Gospel should be what puts every detail of life into perspective, gives me more (Godly) information about it, and encourages me to be on mission, God’s mission, of sharing this wonderful Gospel news with others who need it just as much as I do!
Below are verses that I have heard since childhood, but they are becoming increasingly more important to me as I strive to actually understand what they are saying and not just write them off as something I have heard for years…
“[We] were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of thegreat love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved…For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.“