During the early stages of my Christian walk, I would find the words “preach the gospel to yourself” offensive. Back then I’d consider it only as an entry point to Christianity. I couldn’t be more wrong. If one would use the same statement towards the majority of believers, they would be just as offended (I’ve tried). For it is expected somehow that a “Christian” would “know” the “gospel”. Expounding those quotes and unquotes here:
“Christian” – simply a follower of Christ. Many would claim to be a christian solely because of their religious affiliation and not mainly since it is their true belief system, that which translates itself to daily application.
“Know” – one’s understanding to a given subject. We may claim to know things, and it may be true at some level, but the depth of our comprehension varies from person to person – most commonly because of that person’s exposure to that particular subject.
“Gospel” – the good news, the foundation of the Christian faith. To some, it’s only the books of the bible called the gospels because they’re called the “gospels”. To the minority, it’s the only topic worth investing all efforts understanding that they will only fail to grasp the fullness of its riches, simply because one cannot.
I’m a fan of listening to christian podcasts but I have to be honest that I really am selective with preachers I listen to. I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one but I get bored quickly. Not that the message has to entertain, but it should engage you to a point that you wouldn’t want any distractions your way. Also, we can’t really listen to everyone especially when they don’t make sense and talk big on the peripherals rather than what is should be preeminent.
Recently, I’ve been listening to Paul Washer’s preachings. And in so doing, found that my view of the message of the Gospel has been enhanced as most of his messages keeps the main thing, the main thing, which is God and the message of His Gospel. Here are some of the things I learned about the world’s most important message recently.
Comparing God’s effort in biblical creation and salvation
In reading the book of Genesis, one would find that creation was done effortlessly. He says “let there be” and there is! Out of nothing, the universe came to be. Nothing created into being with nothing but a breath from the Almighty. No other can do this but God Himself.
Then the infamous act of history happened, man sinned. Fast forward, Christ came to redeem the lost, Christ came to die on the cross. Christ, both God and man, entered the physical realm and endured all temptations and human-initiated afflictions set against Him towards this central event.
The pressure of the foreordained punishment made Him sweat drops of blood in the garden of Gethsemane. Those mentioned only pales in comparison to the cup He keeps verbalizing. The cup of wrath, God’s holy judgment, reserved for the sins of men, that He would drink, making him sin who knew no sin, to appease His Father’s wrath on the cross. Salvation of men came at an unimaginable cost in comparison to the creation of the universe.
But why? If to die in place of your favorite pet doesn’t make sense, how much more God for His creation?
The paradox of logical-illogical
“Why is there something rather than nothing?” – Martin Heidegger, Philosophy’s greatest question.
There are many theories attempting to address the question, and I as a biased Christian would find our confidence much secured. Although, I try to be as objective as possible, it is really our platform that would appeal to the rational despite it’s logical limitations. There is something rather than nothing because of the overflow of His abundance.
But is it not also logical for it to be, humanly speaking, illogical? Since it cannot be bound by human comprehension that the God surging with holiness and love would make man only out of an overflow of His abundance. Not by the need, as we logically do, but by an express excess of His natures, naturally displaying itself for appreciation outside Himself.
In the same way, He died on the cross not because we are lovable, as we are sinful creatures only worthy of His intense full wrath, but because He is Love. And because He is the very personification of the word love, Jesus took the cup of God’s wrath on our behalf. True Love is never logical.
Still, this would sound absurd if we don’t know what sin is and who this Christ is.
Christ’s unmatched worth over all creation
A student once asked him proudly, “how does the crucifixion of Christ satisfy God’s wrath?”
Fair question. Why doesn’t the scapegoat, or any other sacrifice suffice to appease His wrath?
First is that none of us have any idea just how sinful the sinfulness of sin is. If we think about it, modern culture has so desensitized us of how terribly wrong sin is. Take into consideration how the world is continuously spiraling down its moral standards on what is right and what is wrong. It even comes to a point of pointing out the relativity of time differences without sound reasoning, as if what’s morally wrong differs from generation to generation. Our understanding has been blurred, so and so that we no longer have a clear view of how vile an act of disobedience of eating a fruit from a specially forbidden tree is just as detestable to Him.
Secondly, words would not suffice the indescribable worth of Jesus Christ. If we put all of creation on one end of the scale and Christ, God Himself, on the other, the scales would have been destroyed in His favor. The point is, why even ask the question? God is always over His creation in a manner outside fathoming. An archangel is not any closer than a randomly floating bacteria in the sewers system to His likeness.
All this leads a person to worship Him in this life and the next. But is our response of worship attain such a level that we can meet the law’s requirements?
Man’s direly severe incapacity to worship appropriately
It is new that I would know that until now I am unable to worship God as He ought to be worshiped. Just as I don’t know just how sinful sin is, just as I don’t know how valuable Christ is, and in the flesh am prone to idolatry.
Yet the Christ, always able to do, always loving the Father with all His heart, mind, soul, and strength, at all times as we ought. It is to Him the Father is well pleased. This is Him who took the place of His people to do the humanly impossible.
This leaves one back to bow himself of His awesome glory. An unlimited level of inception of sorts that enables a person by reminding him that we ought to worship more than we did at our prime.
As a friend would tell me, a story won’t appeal as much when it does not have enough roots, lacks background, or it only has a shallow context that supports it. So mine the infinite treasures of the gospel. Know everything available about it. Preach the fullness of the gospel to yourself. Be unashamed when you shame yourself for it’s advancement. Woe to us if we do not for no other message is worthy of everything.
Doxology: Father, we pray that You traumatize us with Your glory! Let the Holy Spirit’s revelation of the love of Christ compel us all that we’ll also be able overflow in Your abundance. In the matchless name of Jesus we pray, amen!