I don’t know if this is something you may well feel, have heard others say or are absolutely astounded that these very words would ever roll of the lips of a Christian. If so maybe you should stop reading right here as this is something I most certainly believed maybe a year or so after I had been saved.
I wanted something more meaty, I wanted more knowledge and craved to be known as someone who knew their bible back to front. Yet I found it tiring, I wasn’t really getting anywhere and if I’m at all honest on reflection I can see how my relationship with god was affected by it, it most certainly wasn’t helping me to see Jesus as more beautiful.
Sat here writing this now I think, how stupid! Naive and younger me really didn’t have a clue, and yet actually even now I still see myself making small of the gospel.
Which is ridiculous, and I know it’s ridiculous. The gospel isn’t just a pass to heaven, it isn’t just the thing that saves me and I move away from, it’s absolutely everything. Yes, everything!
So why do I forget it? Why is it that I turn to trying to make things better myself, why do I lean on my own strength, why am I both dishonest with myself and with others?
We’ve spent the last few days looking at Sanctification with the lovely Ellie and Paul which has been both fun and challenging. We have spent time considering how we see ourselves trying to perform, being dishonest but also the very idols of our heart that drive us in either of these directions.
Quite conveniently this week I too had the pleasure to sit down with a lovely student having read Tim Keller’s book ” The secret to self-forgetfulness”, in which both Kinna and I sat and wondered and questioned about how time and time again we forget the gospel. We know it’s such great news, we take great joy when reminded of it and yet it so easily looses centre stage.
Recently too, as part of the relay study programme, we have been thinking through our adoption as children of God, sons and co-heirs with Christ and it has struck me, even now as I’m writing, the very reason I move from the gospel is that in my heart I see myself as an orphan. The very name of this blog is “Lost now found”, yet in the depths of my heart and through that expressed via surface actions and attitudes it would seem quite the opposite. God sees me and sees Christ. I’m apart of his family, I’m loved by God my father to depths Im not even aware of, just as he loves his son and to whom he says I am pleased. Yet I say, some way some how I need to work at gaining this verdict. The irony of that being, the verdicts already in, Jesus in his perfection achieved everything I couldn’t achieve and would never achieve in all my efforts of trying to make myself holy. This is the gospel, why on earth would I want to move away from it? God in his grace, through his sacrifice and humility has defeated the very thing which separates me from him, the very wrath of God is now directed away from me and has been dealt with and not because of anything in and of myself.
The beauty of this extends further though, and this is what sometimes puzzles me and yet when reminded of it, when meditating on it causes me to take so much joy in Christ. It breaks me and allows me to drop my mess at the foot of the cross, because of my union with Christ by the same spirit I can cry “Abba, Father”. The more I see the holiness of god the greater my sin becomes and sometimes this is surprising (me a sinner!) and also frustrating (oh, not again). Yet this is what the path of a Christian is, we have that future hope of being made fully perfect, but for now the gospel centred life is repentance and faith.
So how, how do I get to a point where I don’t shrink the gospel? This is something I will think through some more tomorrow, but for now I’m left needing to repent, asking the spirit to change my wretched and self centred heart and to fix my eyes on Jesus again and left rejoicing at knowing God loves me and has open arms.
The son said to him “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you, I am no longer worthy to be called your son.” But the father said this to his servants. “Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.” So they began to celebrate. Luke 15v21-24