What is the best and final gift of the gospel? It’s not what you think.
The phrase “good news” means the gospel.
And translated into popular Greek, it means euangelion–a reward for good news given to the messenger.
The verb form is euangelizo. It’s where we get our word “evangelism.”
Thus, sharing our faith [evangelism] involves sharing the good news.
And…this is important…what is that good news?
The good news is that we have peace with God through the blood of Christ.
But that’s not all.
The best and final gift of the gospel is that we gain Christ.
John Piper, in God Is the Gospel, says as much:
In place of this, we have turned the love of God and the gospel of Christ into a divine endorsement of our delight in many lesser things, especially the delight in our being made much of.
The acid test of biblical centeredness–and faithfulness to the gospel–is this: Do you feel more loved because God makes much of you, or because, at the cost of his Son, he enables you to enjoy making much of him forever?
Who is the focus of the gospel: You or Christ? You must get the answer right. That is Piper’s warning. Which brings me to the point of this post.
The Gift of Christ as Sustainer of Faith
It’s always there: The temptation to let myself go. Distance myself from prayer. Worship. Bible Reading. Study. Fellowship.
The temptation to fall back in love with this world. Drawn to it’s culture. It’s literature. It’s movies. It’s economy. It’s poverty.
Why don’t I walk away? Simple: The gift of Christ as the sustainer of my faith.
At all times I’m a hair breadth away from apostasy. Except for Christ’s preserving work. And this is why my perennial prayer is that Christ would preserve me.
It wasn’t in my own power that I became a Christian. It’s not in my own doing that I remain a Christian. If I fall out of Christianity it will be God’s doing.
But God promises that he’ll never allow a saint to fall out.
My Responsibility in Light of Christ
This doesn’t excuse me from personal responsibility. I still must decide which direction I will walk.
God just makes it easy by clearing the obstructions away from my view of Christ. He softened my heart to burn with love for him. And he makes it easy to see the majesty of Jesus.
I can nurture that vision by spending time in prayer, taking communion, reading my Bible and sharing my faith.
That is the good news of the good news…
That we not only have peace with God through the blood of Christ. But we also have assurance that he who elected us to salvation will complete our salvation.
In other words, we have assurance that we don’t have to trust ourselves to carry us through what otherwise sinks human beings: a love affair with self.
This is why I can say I can not NOT be a Christian. Because it’s impossible to overthrow the creator of the universe.
Then again, with a changed heart and renewed affections for my Savior and an irresistible sense of the sweetness of Christ, I would never think of doing such a thing.
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