Sunday, December 18, 2011

But God

Today, I was in I awe of the Gospel. May it never stop awing us.

I was reading John 6 - my favorite book of the Bible, by the way - and I read a section about Jesus witnessing. I was suddenly struck with wonder at the simplicity of the Gospel. It is so straightforward and understandable. No other religion is like that. Most religions (if not all) require some action in order to be worthy, holy or enter heaven.

But not Jesus' Gospel.

There is one thing we have to do - then everything else falls into place.

Could this be why so many people have a hard time accepting the wonderful Gospel. Could this be a factor why the Pharisees and Jews could not wrap their brains around it? Who can fathom a love this enormous that requires literally nothing on our parts? Expect believing. . .
I don't mean that all we have to do is believe in Him then forget about Him. Of course not. Once we believe our lives will be changed and we will begin to live and desire to live the Christian life. That requires hard work, but it will be a joy. 

That isn't what I'm talking about. I'm speaking of our initial salvation. It comes through grace alone! Undeserved, unexplainable favor. 

In John 6, right after Jesus had feed the 5,000 and then crossed the sea, a crowd of people questioned Jesus.

They said, "What shall we do that we may work the works of God?" Basically, they wanted to know what hoops they had to jump through to gain everlasting life. Christ's answer was mind-boggling! I got so excited. He lays it out plain and simple - no fine print!  

"This is the work of God, that you believe in Him who He sent."

Wow. You don't have to restrain from eating certain foods, live your life in sworn silence, sell yourself, or kill people in the name of Allah. You have to believe. What love is there on this earth that comes with no strings attached, no hidden motives, and no prerequisites?
The Jews and Pharisees were blinded and prideful. They didn't want to accept that they could do nothing to affect their eternal state, except believe. They didn't want to accept the beautiful charity that comes with the Gospel. 

God is loving and gracious. And all He says to us is, "Come as you are and believe."
What a love! What a friend! What a Savior! He doesn't require a thing from us because He knows better than anyone else that all we can bring to Him is filth. Putrid filth. The debts we owe we cannot pay. The debt I owe to God - for my selfish, wandering sin - I will never be able to pay in and of myself. I deserve to burn in hell.

But God.

Yes, but God.

He sent His Son to pay the debt I couldn't. And now, nothing is required of me. What I owed was paid for when Jesus, the precious, perfect Lamb of God, died. 

The Gospel is simple. Yes, there are some theological issues that get a lot of people's feathers ruffled - understandably. But, the central most important thing is Christ's death and resurrection. Because He is alive, I can live too. And all I have to do is believe. 

God forbid that we should live a day and forget to fall on our faces in awe of such indescirable mercy and grace. 
Oh, but God.