The Gospel - God's declaration of love to us

259 the gospel a declaration of love to us of godMany Christians are not sure and worried about it, God still loves them? They are worried that God might reject them, and worse, that he has already rejected them. Maybe you are the same scared. Why do you think Christians are so worried? The answer is simply that they are honest with themselves. They know that they are sinners. They are painfully aware of their failures, their mistakes, their transgressions - their sins. They have been taught that God's love and even salvation depends on how well they obey God. So they keep telling God how sorry they are and begging for forgiveness in the hope that God will forgive them and not turn their backs when they somehow create a deep, inner sense of concern.

It reminds me of Hamlet, a play by Shakespeare. In this story, Prince Hamlet has learned that his uncle Klaudius killed Hamlet's father and married his mother to seize the throne. Therefore, Hamlet secretly plans to kill his uncle / stepfather in an act of revenge. The perfect opportunity arises, but the king is praying, so Hamlet postpones the attack. If I kill him during his confession, he will go to heaven, Hamlet concludes. If I wait and kill him after he has sinned again, but before he announces it, then he will go to hell. Many people share Hamlet's ideas about God and human sin.

When they came to faith, they were told that if and until they did not repent and believe, they would be completely separate from God, and the blood of Christ would and could not work for them. Faith in this error led them to another misconception: every time they fall back into sin, God will deprive them of their grace and the blood of Christ would no longer cover them. That's why - when people are honest about their sinfulness - they ask themselves throughout their Christian life, whether God has rejected them. None of that is good news. But the gospel is good news. The gospel does not tell us that we are separate from God and that we need to do something for God to grant us his grace. The gospel tells us that God the Father in Christ has reconciled all things, including you and me, including all people (Kol 1,19-20).

There is no barrier, no separation between man and God, because Jesus tore them down, and because in his own being he drew mankind into the love of the Father (1Joh 2,1, Joh 12,32). The only barrier is an imaginary one (Kol 1,21) that we humans have raised through our own selfishness, fear and independence. The gospel is not about doing or believing something that causes God to change our status from unloved to loved.

God's love does not depend on anything we do or do not do. The gospel is an explanation of what is already true - an explanation of the Father's relentless love for all humanity manifested in Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit. God loved you before you ever regretted or believed anything, and nothing that you or anyone else ever does will change that (Rom 5,8; 8,31-39).

The gospel is about a relationship, a relationship with God that became reality for us through God's own action in Christ. It's not about a set of requirements, nor about a mere intellectual acceptance of a series of religious or biblical facts. Jesus Christ not only stood by us at the judgment seat of God; he drew us into himself and made us with him and in him through the Holy Spirit to God's own beloved children.

It is none other than Jesus, our Redeemer, who took upon us all our sins, who through the Holy Spirit work in us to will and do as he pleases (Phil 4,13, Eph 2,8-10). We can indulge ourselves wholeheartedly to follow Him, knowing that He has already forgiven us when we fail. Think about it! God is not a deity watching us far away, out there in heaven, but Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, in whom you and all others live, weave, and are (Acts 17,28). He loves you so much, no matter who you are or what you did, that in Christ, the Son of God, who came into the flesh of man - and through the Holy Spirit comes into our flesh - your estrangement, your fears, Took away your sins, and healed you by His saving grace. He removed every barrier between you and him.

In Christ you are rid of everything that ever prevented you from directly experiencing the joy and calm that comes from living a life of intimate fellowship, friendship, and perfect, loving fatherhood. What a wonderful message God has given us to share with others!

by Joseph Tkach


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