“I don’t believe the Gospel”

October 29, 2010

Let me be totally honest: I don’t believe the Gospel.  Its not like I’m saying I don’t love Jesus or that I’m jumping ship or that I’m becoming a Buddhist or something.  No I’m not turning all universalist on you . Let me give you an example.

By (human) nature I am an impatient person.  I want things to happen (or not happen) when they work for me.  Change needs to happen on my schedule.  When things don’t go according to my plan I get angry, frustrated or depressed.  I’ve used guilt, shame and coercion to try to make them happen.  And none of this makes me extraordinary, because most all of us act this way.  What this does do is speak volumes to those able to listen about what I’m really believing:

  • “Guilt and shame really aren’t destructive or resultant from sin, so its no problem if I use them to motivate people.”
  • “I’m responsible for my failures and my victories, because it is all about me.”
  • “If I can just get people to do the right things that will fix the problem.”
  • “My value comes from what I accomplish.”
  • “My identity comes from what I produce.”
  • “I can obtain my own safety through doing more.”

You can probably see how the Gospel corrects my thinking.  God is in control.  He will accomplish his work and his plan.  No, we are not justified by our works (our being coming from our doing).  That’s legalism!  Jesus’ work (his doing) has justified me and given me a new identity (new being) that is totally secure in him!  I don’t have to prove my value or fight for my safety because Jesus is my provider!

What a great Gospel!  And what a contradictory message to the one my life speaks most consistently and clearly.  That is why Tim Keller has said,

“The gospel is not the ABC’s of Christianity, it is the A to Z. It’s not just the elementary and introductory truths. The gospel is what drives everything that we do.”

Let me say it again: The Gospel is not what get us in the door!  Every issue is a Gospel issue! My marriage, my finances and how I parent my kids forms the canvas of my life upon which the Gospel is put on display.  Every moment I either show that I don’t believe the Gospel–and continue to need Jesus–or I demonstrate the Gospel and the good things Jesus is already producing in me.

So next time you find me not believing the Gospel, whether it has to do with impatience or not, please preach the Gospel to me with grace.  Jesus will finish his work in me and I’m confident he’s going to use a multitude of people urging me to believe the Gospel to do it.


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