Yesterday we looked at four hindrances to believing the Gospel of Done, hindrances that keep us in miserable fear and darkness, and away from the joyful rest and peace of Christ’s finished work. However, God has provided four helps to get us there and keep us there. We’ll look at the first two today, and the remaining two tomorrow.
Re-believe the Gospel of Done.
The remedy for unbelief is belief. The Gospel of Done must be believed again, and again, and again.
And it must be preached again, and again, and again. Too often it is assumed. “Well, we all know that already.” But do we? Does the world?
Why don’t you take a survey, with a sample of unbelievers and believers, and ask them: “What is a Christian? What is the Christian faith? How does someone become a Christian?”
You’ll be stunned at how much misunderstanding and ignorance there is. The vast majority of people think that you become a Christian via do’s and don’ts, and you stay a Christian in a similar way. Little wonder that so few are attracted to our churches or that Christians experience so little joy and zest.
God’s Law and conviction of sin have an important place in our lives and ministries. They show us our desperate need of outside help. However, the greatest emphasis of our lives and churches must be the divine Done not the divine Demand. God’s deeds, God’s acts, must be kept ever in the foreground.
Our works are always waiting in the wings, looking for any opportunity to run onstage and replace “Done” with multiple do’s, don’ts, shoulds, oughts, and musts. Hogging the spotlight, their ugly costumes, stumbled lines, and ham acting changes the whole mood of the show, silencing the applause, emptying the theatre, arousing the ire of the critics, and bringing down the curtain on any hope of a long and prosperous run.
The most successful Christian lives are those that manage to keep the spotlight on Jesus Christ, the incarnation of the divine “Done!” But how do I get in to enjoy this show?
Faith in Jesus is the entrance fee. Faith carpets the foyer. Faith unfolds the seat. Faith’s program notes list Him as the only actor in this one-man-show. Faith’s spotlight fixes on Him alone and refuses to allow anyone or anything else onstage. Faith’s ears hear the show’s final line, “It is finished” and says “Amen!” Faith’s hands clap, applaud, and praise Christ alone. The noisy and cantankerous old critic, Mr Conscience, is nowhere to be found in this scene of unmixed peace and joy. No encores are called for. None are required. It is done. It is finished. The End!
Re-focus your Bible Reading
Here’s another survey question for you: What’s the Bible all about?
Most popular answer: “How to help us live better lives.”
In other words, it’s all about ME. I am the main subject of the Bible. Hate to disillusion you – no, actually I’m glad to – but the Bible is all about God. He is the subject, and the object, and every other grammatical term in between. As a book about God, our first question when reading it is not, “How does this apply to me?” but “What does this reveal about God?”
Although I sometimes imagine that if only I can get the whole world, including God, to orbit around me as the center of the universe I will be happy, that’s the way to end up in a black hole.
By putting God’s Word and works at the center of our religious experience, especially of our personal Bible reading, we will begin to orbit around the heat and light of His divine Son.