Thursday, September 3, 2015

The Gospel: Love It!

* One of the occasional devotionals I write for our church bulletin...

In reflecting on the ongoing theme of the gospel in Philippians I have begun to use this phrase to articulate a vision for the gospel:

We exist to promote the gospel of Jesus Christ
as we manifest his truth and character
in the church and in the world.

An even shorter and more memorable sequence is this:

The Gospel:
Love it!
Live it!
Share it!
Defend it!

What does it mean to “love the gospel?”  Since the gospel message is centered in the cross of Jesus Christ as the place of forgiveness of our sins, for us to love the gospel is to continually be in wonder and awe at the grace of God displayed in Jesus Christ.  We are a people who continually “glory (or, boast) in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3.3).  Without the cross-work of Jesus and his sacrifice for our sins we would be under the wrath of God and without hope.  Imagine, a life with no hope—no future except darkness and wrath.  God’s kindness in Christ Jesus has saved his people from such a bleak state of affairs.  Those who are looking to Jesus in faith know peace with God and adoption into his family (Romans 5.1; Romans 8.15-17).  Nothing less than a transformation from death to life has happened in the believer (Colossians 2.13-14).  When we begin to fathom what we have been saved from (death, sin, hopelessness) and what we have been saved to (life, peace with God, and hope) we will desire to “rejoice in the Lord” (Philippians 3.1). 

But what if I don’t feel that kind of joy and love for the gospel?  One antidote for the believer is to go back and reflect on Jesus Christ.  Consider his great humiliation in going to the cross for you (Philippians 2.5-8).  Consider that “though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich” (2 Corinthians 8.9).  Consider the sufferings of Jesus that bring us to God (1 Peter 3.18).  Keep reflecting and remembering the great love of God in Jesus until his love awakens your love!

The Gospel: Love it!