The Gospel…Everyday

The word “Gospel” can carry with it powerful connotations. For some, it is the word that enabled freedom from a the entrapment of a destructive lifestyle. Others immediately think of an outdated religious word heard attending services around Easter or Christmas. And sadly, some associate “gospel” with corruption stemming from spiritual abuse often caused by a pastor or church leader. The true meaning of the word is actually quite simple if we can leave the baggage behind. It means “good news”.

For the early believers, the good news was that Messiah had come. Though Jesus appeared and lived in a unexpected fashion, He brought freedom from oppression and hope, eternal hope. He didn’t establish a warring kingdom and liberate the Jewish people from Roman occupation. He didn’t stop corruption nor worldwide abuse or even slavery. He didn’t heal every disease and remove poverty from the vernacular. He did something much greater, He gave us Himself.

Born of the most humble means, Jesus spent His early life in relative obscurity. Though facing all of the pressures and struggles of His time, He remained sinless. He was tempted, as Scripture indicates, in every way, yet remained pure – completely pure. Following this sinless life, He chose to lay it down to pay for my sin and yours. He chose to become a payment to satisfy the very justice of God in the world He created. God sent His Son to die on the cross to meet the standards of holiness the world was designed to work within. Because God is holy, and we have sinned – He made a way. And on the third day, Jesus rose from the grave, conquering sin and death and establishing a way for God’s most amazing creation to forever remain in a relationship with Him. It is a relationship built on the sinless life, substitutionary death, and life-giving resurrection of Jesus Christ.

The gospel is the good news, the story of Jesus restoring our relationship with God when we place our faith in Him. And we need the gospel everyday. Placing your faith in Jesus Christ forever seals your salvation for eternity. You are made new and are being daily transformed into the likeness of Jesus Christ. And it is in that daily transformation that we need to remember the gospel. It is not just good news for our eternity, it is good news for our present. Jerry Bridges in his recent book, Respectable Sins stated it this way; we should preach the gospel to ourselves every day. We should remember that the good news is just that, even though I continue to struggle with sin. When we take time to discover the Gospel each day, two amazing things begin to happen. We live in a constant state of thankfulness remembering Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. Second, we learn to live free from the chains of our sin and free to pursue God as we are daily made more like Him.

Today, you will likely hear story after story of bad news. Let’s learn to start with the life changing good news and let the the Gospel bring everything else into proper focus.

The Body of Christ

“Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.” Ephesians 4:15-16

We often rightly talk about the church as the body of Christ. Scripture clearly teaches about this concept and it is an amazing illustration of the believer’s relationship with Christ. Corporately, we are the body, and He alone is the head.  All of us have a tendency to either want to be the head or be able to influence it. It is a foreign concept to follow One we cannot see nor completely understand. The Israelites shared this same struggle to which they cried for a King, like all of the other nations (1 Samuel 8). The body must have a head, but it cannot be a man. Only One is qualified to lead the body. Only One has the wisdom, foresight, understanding, patience, love, and righteousness to lead perfectly. Understanding this then, leads to an amazing realization. Jesus chooses to use His body to accomplish His work.

The Head, who is Jesus Christ, perfect in every way, chooses to work though hands and feet that will spend their entire lives here struggling with their flesh. It is astounding to meditate on the simple reality that God not only loved us so much to send His Son to die on the Cross, but that He now chooses, in His patient love, to draw humanity to Himself through you and I. With our imperfect voices and lives, He speaks boldly and courageously. In our scattered priorities and busyness, He works to accomplish His purposes. Though I fail, He succeeds, and yet still uses me. The body of Christ is an intricate tapestry of believers gifted to live to the glory of God. Each hand, finger, leg, foot, and even toe is designed for balance to accomplish the work of the Head, who is Jesus Christ.

Thinking on these two truths, we can apply Ephesians 4:15-16. May we grow up into Jesus, who is the head of the body. May we align our lives to imitate Him (Ephesians 5:1). May we walk in such a way that we represent the Head well, whatever part of the body we are called to be (Ephesians 4:1). We are to be built on love and truth we are held together in Christ. Praise God that He chooses to work through His body. He has written us in to the great story of life. Let us play our role well, to His glory.