It is only as Paul has made it perfectly clear to us that to be worthy of our calling, we need to walk in a way pleasing to God which is always through faith, which can only come when we are thoroughly soaking wet with gospel truth. He leaves no doubt that living in unity with our brothers and sisters in Christ only comes when we live by who we are now in Christ, not by a flexible softer kinder version of the law, what we think is acceptable to God. We will only love others and ourselves as we look through the lense of being the brides of the greatest lover we will ever know.
Let it be said, the impact of not preaching the entire message of the gospel, rather instead preaching one that sounds like “look what Jesus has done for you,” alone will leave one without the ability to truly know the joy that moving from being God’s enemy, an object of wrath, to one of God’s excellent ones, will bring. Clarifying then, that while we should preach a gospel message that is distinct from the law, while never severed, that we should be ever expansive in our presentation of the full message of the gospel. We do so in order that not only others, but ourselves as well, understand more and more that real life, real joy comes from not a weakened soft, gentle law, but a law that calls us to offer our bodies as living sacrifices.
Our value, worth, hope for change, does not rest in our change, but in the One who, because He never needed to change, has now made us valued, worthy and beautiful. Today, may we let our hope not be in how we are doing, but in How Christ did. Let us not hope in our capabilities, but in knowing that He was capable enough for all.
No instructions, law, steps to, disciplines by themselves without constant reminder of gospel truth; will awaken affections, create heart change, result in total surrender or obedience that comes from the heart. We must remember that it is the gospel that kills the lies we tell ourselves that keep us from running to the arms of the one who loves us, like none other.
In Ephesians 2:13 we see that we have moved from being out of Christ to in Christ, which is a positional change that reflects that because of the perfect obedience of Christ we are no longer justified by God through our works of righteousness or condemned by our inability to obey perfectly. Such union in Christ places us in the position of now being as though we have never disobeyed.
While it is important to be clear, precise and short when presenting the gospel to someone for the first time, it is wrong to not continue with telling the rest of the good news story. A sure sign that one has only heard part of the gospel or good news is a deep seated lack of interest or a desire to live towards the acknowledgement that Christ is indeed Lord. It is impossible for one to come to Christ and Christ not be Lord of one’s life. That is not to say that one will not increase in such awareness.
Do we truly know joy, what it is to truly be loved, to know what it is to encounter the glory of God? Only through having our lives violently interrupted through our suffering in the storm were we really able to encounter God, have our affections grabbed, our focus righted and actually know what it is to begin to live.
When Christ called all those to come who were weary, he also called them to put on his yoke which was light and easy. He has taken us now from being law breakers, defining ourselves by some supposed ability to call ourselves law keepers, judging ourselves by our performance and others by their lack of it to defining ourselves as being law keepers, because we have been given his ability to do so. No longer defined by our abilities, but by His.
What sort of parent would ever base their love for their child on whether they behave or not? It is a gift for all children that their parents favor, pleasure and love is based on the mere fact that they are the children of their parents. Christ said, in Matthew 7, if your earthly Father knows how to give such good gifts, how much more will your heavenly Father. Can there be a greater gift given or for the children to have their affections stirred by and awakened to the unyielding, immutable, impassable love of God. This, by very definition, is the very thing John spoke of in 1 John 4:19.
Often, because the gospel is mixed with the law in ways that rob us of both their beauty and distinct purposes, one may be left feeling that the gospel is not sufficient as a means to bring real transformation and saving grace. Thus one must do more and keep doing more – to ensure that we are indeed saved rather than resting and living in the finished work of Christ.