I have found that when I am in a dry spell in my walk with God, all the myriad of reasons, my spiritual laziness in prayer, my lack of hunger for the word of God, and just general products of my flesh, can usually be traced back to one root cause. I have ceased to be awed by the Gospel. That which is most uncommon has become common to me. The truth that the righteous God became a man and paid the penalty for my sin, the truth which I should treasure and marvel at every day, every moment of my life, I begin to take for granted. I become too familiar with it and lose sight of the bigger picture, no longer marveling at the fact that God loves me because I forget how undeserving I am of this love and how very deserving I am of His wrath. I casually pass over the thought that God has forgiven my sins because I no longer think on the great price which was paid for them. I lose sight of the Cross and all its significance for every facet of my life and being. I think we all find ourselves in this place at one time or another.
Thankfully, God is gracious to His children and does not allow us to remain like this for long. Just as He opened our eyes to the truth of the Gospel for the very first time, He is faithful to continue to reveal it to us again and again so that we might be renewed in our faith and hunger for Him, spurred onward in our pursuit of Christ. God, in His patience and loving-kindness, continually reminds us of what He has done, enabling our hearts to marvel anew and love His Gospel more and more, even when we sometimes treat it as commonplace.
Indeed, God, through His word, has done so for me today as He has done time and time again. He has allowed me to perceive the Gospel afresh and be once again, amazed. I pray for myself and for you all that we never ceased to be awed and never take for granted that which has been done for us. So, I ask that we marvel at it together. Let us consider the Gospel, in all its beauty, sweetness, and heart-piercing truth, that it may awe us, change us, and first and foremost, make us to love and desire Christ more and more.
What has been done for us? What have we, who are in Christ, received? We know that we have received salvation and eternal life. We know that our sins are forgiven. But why is this so amazing? Let us consider the beginning of the story. It is easy to forget this side of salvation; it is easy to place a distinction between us, the righteous, and them, the lost sinners. But let us remember that “all of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath.” –Ephesians 2:3 Loving the darkness and hating the light, we were dead in our sins with no hope of savings ourselves and no desire to even if we could. We were chained, by the very nature of our souls, to God’s wrath.
Then come some of the sweetest words in the whole bible: “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions.” –Ephesians 2:4 In the most amazing intervention, the sweetest and most powerful action, God reached down and brought us from death to life. But how did He do this? We know that we have received salvation and eternal life, but let us consider the great price that was paid so that we might treasure it more. God did not just hand us our freedom and salvation. He could not, for the depth of our sin demanded the fullness of His wrath. We could not be set free without payment and we could not escape His wrath unless it was satisfied. And so, “he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.” –Isaiah 53:5 We have all sinned and fallen short. We all deserve the full wrath of God. “We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” –Isaiah 53:6
Consider that statement for a moment and be amazed: the iniquity of us all. When I think on my own iniquity alone, I know it is very great and that I do not even really realize how great. Now consider the iniquity of the entire world throughout all of history. Take a step outside your door and you won’t have to go very far to discover the deep and total depravity of mankind. For the past thousands of years, we have been endlessly adding to the list of our crimes and so, to our debt. We have and are, in effect, heaping up for ourselves the wrath of God, a great and insurmountable burden.
Yet, Christ bore it all. He paid it all. Not only that, He defeated it all. He reigns victorious over death and sin, setting us free from their bondage and the chains of God’s wrath. Who is like our God? “He will again have compassion on us; He will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.” -Micah 7:19 No wrath remains for us because Christ has borne it. No penalty stands against us because Christ has paid it. All that remains for us is to receive His free love and grace for the rest of our lives and onward into eternity.
This is the Gospel. It is anything but common and nothing short of amazing. I realize I have said nothing new or revolutionary, but I pray that we never tire of saying it and that it never ceases to revolutionize our hearts and minds, that we may become well-acquainted with the love and grace of God, but never overly familiar with it. May we always stand in awe of it, for we were once chained by our sin to be objects of His wrath, but because of the full payment and victorious action of Christ, we are now set free to be objects of His love.
For just as we were once joined to His wrath, we are no irrevocably joined to His love. “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” -Romans 8:38-39
“Praise and glory and wisdom and thanks and honor and power and strength be to our God for ever and ever. Amen!” -Revelation 7:12