Cling to the gospel

J.D. Greear has put his finger on a fundamental problem in my life – unconsciously, I had abandoned the glories of the gospel.

This is not a fatal disease. Thank the Lord, God has been gradually leading me back in recent years to embracing the wonderful truth that Jesus Christ died for me and now lives in me. God loves me because of Christ and what he has done – not because of my deeds.

Greear, author of “Gospel: Recovering the Power that made Christianity Revolutionary”, says that much of the evangelical church emphasizes performance – becoming worthy of God’s favour. But that, he declares, is the opposite of the gospel.

He sums up the liberating truth of the gospel in these words which open a prayer he has written:

“In Christ, there is nothing I can do that would make You (God) love me more, and nothing I have done that makes You love me less.”

Once we belong to Christ, we are free to love God and others because God loves us – not because we have to gain his approval.

“He now sees me according to how Christ has lived, not on the basis of what kind of week I’ve had,” says Greear.

He deals with a common objection that this approach can lead to uninhibited sin with these words:

“God’s approval is the power that liberates us from sin, not the reward for having liberated ourselves.”

God already approves of us because of Jesus Christ who died for us.

When we turn to Christ and away from our preoccupation with self, we find the power to deal with sin and self-centredness. We stop jumping through hoops in an attempt to win approval of others.

He urges us to repeat to ourselves daily the gospel truths because we so easily fall into the trap of proving our worth to God and to others.

“We are changed not by being told what we need to do for God, but by hearing the news about what God has done for us.”

As we are captivated by the great story of Jesus, the “beauty of God comes alive in our hearts”.

“Having our eyes opened to see our part in that story creates in us a love for God that is strong enough to finally drive out our attraction to other idols.”

In effect, Greear says, we have been created for God – not for anyone or anything else.

“Jesus is the one essential thing that we must have. He is life itself.”

Jesus is the reason I became a believer. He is all I need.

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