“The Gospel is so simple a child can understand it; and it is so profound that studies by the wisest theologians will never exhaust its riches.”
Charles Hodges 19th century theologian.
“…Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”
Paul First Century Apostle (Colossians 2:2b, 3)
The Gospel is fundamental to everything we believe. The Gospel is the central message of the Scriptures; the melody line of the Christian life—it keeps astonishing us with God’s lavish love.
In it is the victorious announcement that God alone saves sinners, in the finished work of Christ. Consequently, although the call of Jesus to, “take up your cross and follow Him”, “repent and believe”, “deny yourself” and “keep my commands” are necessary commands which directly follow the proclamation of the Gospel, they are not themselves the good news of what Jesus has accomplished in the Gospel.
Therefore, the Gospel is not a summons to work harder to reach God—it is the message of how God worked all things for the good, costing Christ so dearly, to save us.
In our studies in Mark we have learned, when Jesus steps onto the stage of human history he was a Gospel man. He taught what sin was and how He was to be the only way a person could be freed from its penalty and be righteous before God. His context and ours was the long terrible story of humanity trying to make satisfaction for their sin and the alienation they feel removed by their works.
However, at the heart of the Gospel is what has often been called, “the Great exchange” or “imputation.” God has credited our sin to Christ account so that He is held answerable for our rebellion—think of that. His righteousness is credited to our account so that we receive His righteous status and He took our punishment (2 Cor.5:21). He takes ours sin; He gives us His righteousness. As the only work of righteousness which will justify the sinner is the work of Christ.
In short, our righteousness is the forgiveness of our sins. Or, as said in Psalm 32:1,2 and Romans 4:7,8 “sins not counted,” “sins covered,’ “sins not seen”.
Although saints will always be sinners, things drastically change in light of Christ’s righteousness for our sin. Everything is made new. We can finally rest in the performance of Jesus, knowing we could never earn God’s favor on our own merit.
Please don’t miss that. Often times we can think if I can have “this” or if I can do “that” or if this situation would work to my favor –then I can finally rest. Not so says the Gospel. The Gospel says you have that rest now—in Christ. A deep rest—so enjoy it.
Perhaps your Easter meditations would be to consider all the implications of the Gospel in which you lean on every day; access to God in prayer, promises given, promises kept, forgiveness of sin, our union with Christ and our union with each other, etc.
Finally, please remember the message of the Gospel is something which cannot be postponed because we do not know whether you or the people will be alive in a week’s time or even in a day’s time. It has always been true ‘In the midst of life we are in death.’
This Easter, please tell someone: Jesus is risen. He is alive. He has defeated death. He will return to judge the living and the dead.
May God bless you and grant to you lasting joy rooted in that which matters most.
P.S. “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say rejoice.” (Philippians 4:4)
P.S.S. You can go to our website westcohassetchapel.com to find our Easter week worship times.