I find myself to be what I call, an “unnecessary analytical.” If you are like me, you fall asleep at night thinking about different obscene things that really don’t matter. Last night I was thinking about the gospel. What does it mean to believe the gospel? Asking this question led me down the bunny trail of defining words.
Gospel is typically defined as good news. With this definition of gospel, it made me wonder “is there a difference between believing the gospel and believing in Jesus?”. In some ways I think there is.
I think that everyone wants to believe the gospel, in that everyone wants to believe in good news. We all want good news. But believing that there is good news is not what saves. Too many people believe in the news that there is salvation, but they do not actually put their faith in the Savior.
It is easy to celebrate good news. We will build our lives around the fact that there is good news. We will live happy because there is good news. We want the good news. We accept the good news. We tell others about the good news, but it is not enough to accept that there is news.
Isn’t that what the religious leaders of Jesus’ day did? They spoke of salvation. They waited for salvation. They prayed for salvation. They had scriptures about salvation. They knew God would bring them salvation, but they ignored the Savior.
Here is my point, religion will call us to believe in and move our focus on the fact that there is good news. Religion will call us to celebrate that there is a gospel, but we must actually interact with the person of salvation- Jesus Christ. Just focusing on the fact that there is good news, would be like me texting all of my friends saying “you will never believe what happened to me.” And when they ask “what,” I only respond with “something good.” I only shared that there is news but I never shared what the news is.
Yes, I know this is a lot of circular reasoning and getting hung up on words, but there is a distinction in my mind. We do not build our lives on the fact that there is good news; we build our lives on what the good news actually is.
Our hope is not that we believe there is a gospel; the gospel is that we have hope in Jesus Christ. The good news is not that there is good news. The good news is that there is a saving, loving, personal God- Jesus Christ.
Been dealing with questions about sin recently. So many times we feel like Paul, knowing better but unable to act. Even when we know better, we can’t help but do what is wrong, and then we can’t seem to ever do what we know is right. We feel helpeless to sin.
One of sin’s greatest strengths is self. Sin is self absorbed. Sin is self focused. Sin is self pleasing. It desires, attempts, yet fails to satisfy self.
Now we need to be satisfied. We need to be taken care of. By no means do I think that we should live in some unhealthy, over spiritualized self denial. I think we must learn to deny self the way Christ called is to. We deny ourselves and carry our cross so that we can follow Him. Self denial is for the greater purpose of true satisfaction- being in Christ.
The problem is not that the Christian does not want freedom, peace, joy, or satisfaction, it is that we want it on our own terms. We want freedom from sin our way. But there is self again. In our seeking freedom we still seek to do it our self. With this in mind, I find that a lot of times, sin is a battle of submission and obedience.
Here’s my conclusion. If you’re struggling with sin, as I unashamedly and consistently do, try love. While that may sound pretty condescending, it is true. While sin is self absorbed, love is selfless.
Love is God’s great command. It calls us to serve, promote, validate, and meet the needs of others. In God’s command for us to love, He calls us to be loved. He calls us to be satisfied no longer by the misleadings of self but by the Sustainer of all- Jesus the Christ.
Where sin will leave you trying to help yourself, God will love you and in that satisfy your soul. Love does not seek its own. Love conquerors all. Love conquers sin. Love never fails. God is love.