Chronicles

The Great News of the Gospel

I am a sinner. That is, perhaps, the most uninventive way to begin any theological conversation. And yet, I feel that truth in my bones. Notwithstanding my own attempts to escape that reality or pretend it doesn’t exist, I am a sinner. I’m the chief of sinners. (1 Tim. 1:15) I know that. Everyday, I am confronted with the harrowing reality of my own deficiencies. I’m not perfect. I lose my cool. I succumb to temptation and contradict my sanctification many times. I’m pretty bad at staying “Christian” all the time. Fortunately, the good news of the gospel declares that my ability to stay and act “Christian” has no bearing on whether God justifies me or not.

I understand the law and its demands. And yet, all those things I know I should be doing, I am not doing. And the things I don’t want to be doing, I keep on doing. (Rom. 7:14–19) But when I seesaw between sinner and saint, and vacillate between one step forward and two steps back (Rom. 7), I’m reminded of the good news that my justification isn’t up to me. It’s up to God. (Rom. 8) And, indeed, it has already been secured and sealed by God’s own blood. God did all the work. his initiated and finished the redemptive plan to exchange my sin for his righteousness.

“The law saith, Do this and live; but the gospel saith, Seek righteousness wholly in another, by believing.” (Beart, 121)

Certainly, God’s new covenant with man contains action verbs. But it’s vital to remember who’s actually doing all the actions. (Heb. 8; Jer. 31; Ezek. 36) We’re dead, remember. (Eph. 2) It’s pretty difficult for corpses to do anything related to life. Therefore, it’s God who acts in us and for us. God who breathes into us and makes us alive. God who enacts this glorious transaction wherein we’re given (for free!) his righteousness and he takes on our sin. (2 Cor. 5:21) This is the gospel. This is the good news.

I’ve been struck, lately, to give proper weight to that word: news. That’s literally what “gospel” means: good news. Accordingly, we must be adamant that the gospel of God is not a new law. It’s not some new directive of God to call for some lower tier obedience that he’ll accept. The law is still the law. It still unflinchingly demands for a perfect holiness. It still exposes me as a bonafide sinner for not meeting that demand. But in that space, the gospel interjects its sublime news. And so it is that the gospel is an announcement. It’s the proclamation of perfection already performed for you. On your behalf. It’s the broadcasting of the heavenly headline news of flawless righteousness and pristine obedience for you. As John Beart rightly notes (122):

“The gospel [does not] come commanding and calling for a righteousness for justification, but revealing a righteousness already wrought out.”

You see, what makes God’s glorious gospel so astounding is that it doesn’t ask for anything. It just gives. The gospel shows and reveals, in marvelous and innumerable ways, the depths to which God stooped in order to rescue his children. The gospel’s the twist we never see coming. It’s an exhibition of a finished law-keeping performance by the Law-Maker on behalf of the law-breakers. Good News indeed!

References

The Only Message I’m Called to Preach

The Only Message I’m Called to Preach

This past Sunday, I was ordained as a Baptist minister of the gospel by my sending church, Beacon Baptist Church. I have been called to serve Grace Baptist Church of Southwest Ranches, Florida, under the shepherding of Pastor Jay Hartzell. I am humbled by the seriousness of this call and the urgency of the message with which I have been entrusted.

Push Notification Masochism: Killing Ourselves & Boasting in Our Busyness

Push Notification Masochism: Killing Ourselves & Boasting in Our Busyness

Twitter’s no longer on my phone. Yep, I deleted it. I’m not saying that so you can see how much better I am at self-control than you are. (I know my own heart enough to know for sure that’s not the case.) Nor am I saying that to sound super-spiritual or Puritanical in my devotional walk with God.

When God Closes the Door & Shuts the Windows

When God Closes the Door & Shuts the Windows

Perhaps the harshest word we ever hear growing up is also one of the shortest: “No.” “No” is a small word that packs an enormous amount of power. It has the ability to both prevent and protect. Growing up, we almost singularly see the prevention side of this command, seeing “no” as merely a barrier hemming us in.

Jennifer Lawrence, the Irony of Normalcy, & the Righteousness of Faith

Jennifer Lawrence, the Irony of Normalcy, & the Righteousness of Faith

She caught our eye in 2007 on a short-lived network comedy. Then, she broke through with an independent drama in 2010 that earned her national acclaim and attention. She flew into the stratosphere and became the mega-star we know and love with a summer blockbuster in 2012. If you didn’t already catch it, I’m referring to Jennifer Lawrence.