Growing up, the gospel for me was really just the minimum amount of truth you had to believe in order to get on the bus to heaven. And once you grasped it and believed it, you largely moved on from it to "weightier" topics like not going to movies, drinking wine, or dancing. It looked to me like the gospel was only for unbelievers, and after you believed, you forgot the gospel in order to focus on the laws of Christianity.
But this is really backwards. God's law comes to unbelievers as a spotlight, illuminating their sin, uncovering their brokenness, and exposing their inability to live up to God's standard. That same light shines on Christ who stands in the middle of a glorious garden of grace we know as the gospel. And, as the Spirit enables us, we run to this garden and find rest. We are rescued out of bondage and into freedom. The law drove us here, but the gospel is where we dwell.
But just what is this gospel? It is much more than a minimized, homogenized, dehydrated, 4-sentence sales pitch for team Jesus. It is the glorious story of God's redemptive plan, first hinted at in Genesis 3:15 and magnificently worked out to completion in the person and work of Jesus Christ.
The gospel can be as simple as "Jesus Saves", or as complex as a treatise on the sovereign, elective decree of God settled before time began. Either way, it will always be a bottomless treasure chest of intellectual and emotional delights as our eyes are illumined to its beauty and our minds opened to its truth.
So, as we look ahead to a new year, let's covenant together to let the truths of the gospel flow over our souls as often as we can. Perhaps a deepening knowledge of God's sovereign grace will calm our panicky minds. And perhaps an awakened realization of his unconditional love will bring us joy even midst daily trial. And hopefully, a daily dose of our own unworthiness will push us to live beyond ourselves, giving our lives in service to the Savior and his church. After all, wouldn't it be the height of selfishness to keep this glorious, life-transforming, joy-filled, darkness-eclipsing message to ourselves when all around us people are wallowing in the slough of despair?
Certainly the God who made us, and has now rescued and reformed us, has done so for nobler purposes than our own selfish pleasure. May this be the year we come more fully to know the joy of following so closely that it is obvious we belong to Jesus.
Photo Credit: "Bible" by Janaka Dharmasena; Freedigitalphotos.net