When approaching the topic of the Gospel, my first thought was that this subject has been talked about extensively enough that I had nothing to add to the ongoing discussion. I felt every aspect of it had been covered. Then, upon further reflection, I was seized by the realization that I had, in fact, the opposite problem: I couldn’t narrow down what to talk about! The more I thought about the Gospel and its impact on my life and the world, the more I realized that the Gospel of Jesus Christ permeates everything. So much for feeling I had nothing to talk about. I could write an entire book!
But for the sake of time and space, I will focus on how a recent revelation of the Gospel directly affected my view of Christ, His sacrifice, and my daily life. Having been in church all my life, I could easily quote back that the Gospel means “good news,” specifically that Christ died on the cross for our sins so that we could go to heaven, and if we accept Christ into our hearts, we will be with Him in heaven one day. At age seven, I accepted Christ after understanding the basics of the Gospel and trusting Him for my salvation. I had been saved from my sins, but at seven, I didn’t fully grasp the all-encompassing breadth of salvation and the Gospel (which is OK, because Christ asks us to have child-like faith). Sadly, after nearly two decades of being a Christian, the Gospel had become a textbook answer and not a personal encounter/revelation.
This summer I read a book on grace that reignited my joy in Christ and His sacrifice for me. (I highly recommend it. It’s One Way Love by Tullian Tchividjian.) Surprisingly, I had to be prodded and cajoled by my parents to read the book. They even bought it for me. (Sometimes I get burned out on “Christian” books and feel I could better spend my time in personal Bible study rather than reading another human’s opinions, but that’s another blog topic.) But once I read the book, I truly did see my salvation and Christ’s unconditional gift in a different light. As the title suggests, the book is all about Christ’s love and grace towards us being all we need. Let me rephrase that: Because of Christ’s redeeming love, we do not need to do anything else. It’s done. Complete. Finalized. All we need to do is accept it in humble repentance.
The good news doesn’t stop with salvation. (“Hooray! I’ve got my ticket into Heaven and I’m set now.” NO!) Salvation is only the beginning of truly living. Because of the cross, I do not have to do anything for Christ to make Him want or love me any more or less than He already does, because I did not have any hand in my redemption. He paid for it, He covered it, He said “it is finished.” And because of that, I can live joyfully. Tchividjian points out that because of Christ’s unconditional love, we are free to be nobodies and do absolute nothing because He is the Somebody who did Everything. (Not that we want or should be passive Christians, but we could without condemnation.) We are free from guilt in doing things for God because they don’t affect our eternal position with Him. His Son covered it.
This all gave me great personal relief. I am a fairly Type A, planning, organized, people-pleaser kind of personality. I feel that there is always something more I should do or could do, and I hate feeling like I’ve upset someone. But Christ did it ALL for me. I am free to be a nobody who does nothing with her life. But, because I have the weight of performance lifted from me, I am inspired to do good and live holy because Christ is not keeping score.
The perfectionist in me rejoices. Often, when I have a big project, I avoid it like the plague for as long as possible because it feels insurmountable and I don’t think I can do it well. Eventually, I cave and finish it. But Christ tackled my big project of life. He fulfilled my requirements so that I’ve passed with flying colors. I’ve already passed the class of life without having finished it here on Earth because of Him. Therefore, I’m living free of expectations of myself and what is “good enough.” Christ is more than good enough. And because of that, I can live and love for Him in total abandon. Because nothing I do ultimately matters in my salvation, I’m free to truly live. I don’t have to be fearful or anxious that I’m not doing enough for God. God doesn’t condemn me. Christ’s blood covers me, allowing me to live life abundantly. We aren’t just safe from eternal damnation, but we are also free from condemnation in this life now. Isn’t that the BEST news?
PS: A quote for further pondering from Relient K: The beauty of grace is that it makes life not fair.
Living in grace,