growing older and the gospel

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

I mentioned a few weeks ago that I'd be back soon with some thoughts on growing older and my goals. Truthfully, I've been working on posts for a while, and I just can't get it quite right. So I'll start here.

As I've written before, I'm not crazy about birthdays. There's nothing I hate more than people singing happy birthday to me! Especially the last few years, birthdays have been worse. And better. Some things get better with age, and I'm beginning to understand what others have told me about the mystery of the gospel.

Each year, I grow in deeper relationship with my Savior. I've come to realize recently that we don't ever get past the gospel. Jesus justifies us when He calls us and we rely on Him for our salvation. Sanctification, however, is a life long process. I want to be like Jesus, but I know I will never be like Him while I live on this earth. Only when I am in Heaven in my new body will I be fully sanctified. 

Why, then, did I think that I wouldn't sin so much now? Why did I think I would be past this point? Why did I think there was something more to the Christian life, beyond the gospel?

I realized that I'm not the only one that thinks that way when I heard my pastor say the same thing in his sermon two weeks ago. (view it here; Acts 9 from March 2; watch it all, but he mentions this after about 29:20)

The gospel applies to everything. If you are in a Bible believing church, you probably hear the term "the gospel" in reference to many things. Whether or not you hear it all the time, it's important to stop and remember what the gospel is. How would you explain the gospel in your own words? (I love hearing different perspectives; please comment!)

In my own words, the gospel is (or should be) the lens through which I view everything. God has always existed, and He created man in his own image, for his own delight. Man sinned, rebelling against God, and thereby introduced death into the world. We all sin (Romans 3:23), and the cost of sin is death (Romans 6:23). God sent his son, Jesus, to live a perfect life that we could not live. Jesus was God's plan for redemption from the beginning. He came to the earth both fully as a man and fully as God. He bore the wrath for our sin on the cross, descended into hell, and rose from the dead. Jesus defeated death and made a way by which we could be saved. He is the only way (John 14:6). He calls to us and we respond (Romans 10:9,10), but is only by his grace that we may be saved, not of ourselves (Ephesians 2:8).

God credited me with Christ's righteousness, not because of anything I have earned. I know I cannot and do not work to earn salvation, so why do I think I should work to earn his love after I've been saved? Although God adopted me into his family, I am still human. I have sinful desires, and I sin. There will never be a point I reach in my earthly life when I don't sin.

But I should not despair. My sin has been nailed to the cross. Jesus paid it ALL. Yes, I continually repent. In doing so, I see my sin more clearly and then see God's love for me more clearly. I need Him EVERY hour. The more I realize that, the more I seek Him, and the closer I get to Him. He wants us to go to Him with every concern, every need. Perhaps that's why we don't ever get it perfect on this earth. If I didn't need Him any more, I wouldn't get to enjoy Him. So, every passing year, that relationship gets sweeter.

To be continued ...

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