Well, this is exciting. My first blog. I better confess upfront: the inspiration for what I will say here, I get from Paul: “….plain and simple: first Jesus and who he is; then Jesus and what he did–Jesus crucified” 1 Cor 2:2 MSG My focus will be Jesus! Week in and week out. Because focusing on Jesus is what makes the gospel “good news.”
And what is the “gospel?” The gospel is the “powerful rescuing act of God” and “the righteousness of God revealed” Rom 1:16-17 Mirror Bible Translation. It is a celebration of a perfect redemption (def. “the action of regaining or gaining possession of something in exchange for payment, or clearing a debt, the action of buying one’s freedom”) accomplished by Jesus Christ on the Cross. In Christ, you & I stand before the Father with the blessing of His favor and friendship. We share in Jesus’ own intimate relationship with the Father!
Is that not staggering? Everything that we could never do for ourselves; God did for us in Christ! And He did it in one glorious act of divine exchange. (2 Cor 5:21)
This is “good news” indeed!
John in his first Epistle says, because of Christ, our heart’s can be full of joy: “we’re telling you so you can experience it along with us, this experience of communion with the Father and his Son, Jesus Christ. Our motive for writing is simply this: We want you to enjoy this, too. Your joy will double our joy!” 1 Jn 1:4 MSG I so agree! And that’s my motive for writing as well. To share with you the inward joy that is a celebration of God’s perfect salvation revealed in the gospel of Christ.
In Luke 24, we read the account of two disciples that had an encounter with Jesus after His resurrection. These two disciples may have walked with Jesus for a couple of years, witnessed His miracles, yet they were “long-faced, like they had lost their best friend.” Lk 24:17 MSG They had allowed their immediate circumstances to rob them of the joy of knowing Jesus. I think there are a lot of Christians today are like those two disciples. Many are glibly walking down “the road of life” without having an inward revelation of the risen Christ in their hearts. Their lives are marked by disappointment and disillusionment instead of delight. They do not recognize the literal “treasure” they possess inwardly.
If the kingdom of God is marked by “righteousness, peace and JOY” (Ro 14:17), and since Jesus said God’s kingdom is “within you” (Lk 17:21). I’m convinced that if you or any Christian you know, cannot personally identify with “JOY unspeakable & full of glory” — then, like the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, you do not recognize “who He is.” Lk 24:16 MSG
I know many people are in the midst of devastating circumstances that are not joyful right now. I am not discounting your agony. But I see in Paul a heart connect with the Spirit of Life that sustained him even while he was in the midst of the most contradictory of circumstances. Circumstances can act like a “veil” that causes you to lose sight of the abundance of grace and peace that is yours, right here; right now, in Christ. Paul knew that by turning your heart toward the Lord, the veil will be lifted and His love, will redefine your life and mind-set.
“This is why no form of suffering can interfere with my joy” Col 1:24 Mirror Translation
Paul had a revelation of the “success” of the Cross. What those two disciples on the road to Emmaus lacked and maybe you lack, is a revelation of the success of the Cross.
Join me in the days ahead as we discover together the “unsearchable riches” that come with unveiling the mystery which is “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col 1:27). Let’s grow together in intimately knowing this risen One and increase our understanding of what God has done in redeeming and restoring His image in us.
I promise you, you will understand why the gospel; and your salvation, is worth celebrating!