So what do I mean when I say, Gospel? It was a question that I posed to a hotel rep the other day as we had lunch in downtown Dallas. "Well", she said, "I know it has to do with some books of the bible and how we live our lives." I thought it was a pretty good answer, comparatively to other answers that you would get. So we discussed the gospel as "good news". Well, why do we need good news? I went on to share about our sin and God's righteous wrath toward it and how He came down in human form to "take away" that enmity between us and so we can come and worship God freely. Notice that I say "worship God", what makes that so provocative today? Especially in the church. Why should the worship of God be central to the gospel? Is it not the very place where God starts, namely himself?
I would say yes. That is precisely what makes the good news, good news! God is the gift of the Gospel, not healing, not circumstantial joy, not perfect health, not financial windfall. God is the good news and that is what I want my life to be about, my marriage, my kids, my home, my work, my friendships, I want them to be about what is contained in Christ himself.
John Piper has written a book about this precise thing and I wanted to share some lines from it for your meditation. Here are a couple of them:
- "It is stunning how seldom God himself is proclaimed as the greatest gift of the gospel." (Intro., p 11)
When was the last time you reflected on the gospel and did not think about the things that it has brought you, even spiritually, but just thought about Him? Not even justification, forgiveness, glorification, etc... just Him.
- "The acid test of biblical God-centeredness-and faithfulness to the gospel is this: Do you feel more loved because God makes much of you, or because, at the cost of his Son, he enables you to enjoy making much of him forever? Does your happiness hang on seeing the cross of Christ as a witness to your worth, or as a way to enjoy God's worth forever? Is God's glory in Christ the foundation of your gladness?
I would encourage you to take some time and think about this. I don't encourage deep introspection just what the Spirit brings about. Ask yourself, why did Christ become a servant and die on a cross, was it truly just so I would happy, is that shallow to you? Why? Why not? If my happiness is the center of God's affection how does that work for others, if my happiness or joy is not for the good of others?
Your boasting friend,