The heart-breaking news received by my friend this week has turned her world upside down. And though she is devastated, hanging on by a thread, she still has hope.
The mere fact she could muster any “hope” in the midst of her trying circumstances has led me to this question and post:
Where does such Hope come from?
Without realizing it what we believe about God and the gospel colors everything – all our thoughts, perspectives and emotions. In the book of Galatians the apostle Paul is addressing false gospel. A “different” gospel as he calls it, “not that there is one” because it is no gospel at all.
This different or other gospel is a performance-based gospel. Meaning something other than Christ alone. Jesus + something else….
So in light of suffering, if this “different” gospel is what we are believing here is how it might play out:
Tragedy strikes, we are struggling and spinning out of control trying to make sense out of what is going on. In doing so we may be angry, thinking it is so unfair and not what we deserve! WHY???
- our good works,
- our moral standing,
- our righteous living…
- the Something else or the substitute Savior that we are actually trusting instead of Christ.
Basically a mentality of God owes me “blessing” because I am good.
On the other hand, we may find ourselves consumed with all we’ve done wrong; our lack of obedience and love for God and others. Now we think God may be punishing us because of it, so we are left to beat ourselves up feeling deeply alone and abandoned.
Either way, our behavior (good or bad) has become the Jesus + Something else we believe. This is NOT the gospel!
It is false gospel that will lead me to either be mad at God for getting something I don’t deserve or mad at myself for getting what I do deserve.
Real gospel doesn’t depend on me living a good or bad life, but only on the work and worth of Jesus for me. It is His righteousness credited to me though I did nothing to earn it. It is by His grace alone.
Now when suffering hits I can rest knowing that God is not out to get me. And even though I don’t understand why or have any answers, I find peace knowing that He loves me still and seeks my good even in and through it.
Only the true gospel… believing that God delights in YOU and gave up his son for you not because of anything you did, but because of his great love… can give hope in the middle of suffering. Only the true gospel can give rest in a time of tremendous pain and injustice. Only the true gospel can speak truth and grace in to your soul because of who He is, even when you don’t understand His ways.
Do not mistake Christian-light or false gospel for the freedom and grace of the true gospel. It matters deeply on how you will see life and respond to suffering and sin. Only the true gospel can shine light in to darkness and bring joy even in the midst of trials.
Our hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness… AND nothing more!
- Because of all we do for God…or,
- because we are such a good person…or,
- because we do all the right things.
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