"What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith."
- Phillipians 3: 8-9
The Gospel is so simple yet so complicated. It's not just a one-time thing. It's a living thing. We don't ever really get "beyond" the Gospel....because the Gospel is IT. We must realize, everyday, that we are more flawed and wicked than we ever dared believe, and more accepted and loved than we ever dared hope. I never want to lose sight of how DESPERATE I am for God's grace.
Our world functions on a "works-righteousness" mentality, but the Gospel- the true Gospel- is about finding our justification in Jesus. How do you gain approval? What is your justification rooted in? If it's "Jesus plus something else" it's not the Gospel. I can't "try harder" and/or "do better." If I could do that then Jesus' death was pointless and I become my own Savior. But what does God say? Well....each and every one of us is really, insanely messed up, no matter how "good" we are. So, not only does He say, "you're forgiven," but He also says, "you are freely-justified." This is amazing because He is telling us to COME TO HIM and that we are WELCOME TO ALL HIS LOVE AND JOY."
Isn't that beautiful? I'm a sinner and I need Jesus. Therefore, I am TOTALLY DEPENDENT ON THE GRACE OF GOD.
The Gospel (this GREAT news!) cuts right to the heart. It doesn't deal with the symptoms...it actually deals with the heart-issue. We all know there is something wrong with us but we can't stand being "exposed." Everybody is finding justification in something (gold medals, art, music, children, food, friends, control, people-pleasing, sex, drugs, etc.) We need to ask ourselves (constantly): HOW AM I GETTING APPROVAL/JUSTIFICATION? And then we need to realize that, without Jesus, we will never be "good enough." In our own strength we fall so far short it's not even funny. With Jesus we are FREE to take a deep breath, admit our failures, and pick up the grace that is sitting at our feet.
Stop trying. Accept the gift. Love recklessly.