Tuesday, October 23, 2012

the (not so) mundane Gospel.

God, in His incomprehensible power, created what we call the universe. He created mankind. Mankind sinned against Him. The punishment for the sin was to be eternally separated from God. He provided a temporary fix for that sin. Sin was so offensive to Him that the only thing that could cover it was blood: death by sacrifice. He created a way for mankind to sacrifice animals in order to cover their sin. He sent His only Son, Jesus, to be born of a virgin. Jesus lived a perfect life and never sinned. Because He was the only person ever capable of living a life without sin He was the only person capable of being a sacrifice for that sin. He was killed on a cross to pay the price of sin. His sacrifice did not do what the animal sacrifices had previously done, which was cover the sinner's sin; rather, He made a way for the sinner to be completely cleansed from that sin. He took away the necessity for the sinner to be punished. He was buried. Three days later He rose from the grave and was alive again. He ascended to Heaven and is now seated at the right hand of God. If one will believe in these things and admit their sin to God, He will forgive them and Jesus' sacrifice will pay the debt on their account. When that person leaves this earth they will find themselves in the presence of Jesus Himself, their Savior, in Heaven forever and ever.

Essentially, this is the Gospel.

I typed that out pretty simply. It didn't take me too long. No tears rolled down my face. My heart didn't skip a beat. 

If I've heard it once, I've heard it a thousand times. And, if you're reading this, you most likely have too. If this is the first time you've heard it, then praise the Lord...this is good news. But I'm going to go out on a limb and assume that you, the reader, are well aware of everything that I have said thus far. It's probably not news to you. You probably know it backwards and forwards and upside down. I'm so blessed to have grown up in the Shelley household where there is no way to make it past 3 months old without this ingrained in your head.

While I'm so glad that I do know this backwards and forwards and upside down, I'm afraid that I've become a little numb to it. I'm afraid that you've become a little numb to it too. And that is why I am writing this. Now, obviously I have no idea who you are and I may be speaking to a diverse crowd here. But, I think this would apply to the majority of readers.

In my opinion, the Gospel today has turned into more of a "Jesus died on the cross and all that jazz" type of thing. Everyone has heard that. Whether you're a Christian or not I'm pretty sure you know the phrase, "Jesus died on the cross." I hear it often. It doesn't make me stop in my tracks any more than, "I'm Mitt Romney and I approve this message."

And this is why I'm scared.

We have programs for "the furtherance of the Gospel". We teach Bible clubs so that we can tell children of the glorious Good News. We hand out tracts at the grocery store so that others can experience the Gospel in their lives.

These things are so great. But these things are about the Gospel in them. I'm afraid that among those who actually are concerned about the Gospel, it is a concern for getting the Gospel out. But if the Gospel doesn't even make me in awe every time I hear it and if it becomes mundane and if I get tired of listening to someone explain the Gospel, how in the world can I possibly share it effectively with someone else?

Sharing the Gospel with others is so incredibly important, but first it needs to be real in my own heart and life. I need to understand the Gospel, love the Gospel, be motivated by that love for the Gospel, be in awe of the Gospel, and live the Gospel out in my daily life. If the aforementioned things are not true of me then how can others accept the Gospel from me? If I'm not in awe of it then why should they be? If I'm not acting like a Christian then why should they want to be one?

I don't want to hear "Jesus" and "cross" mentioned in the same sentence without stopping to praise the Lord or stopping to dwell on the incredible sacrifice that He made for us. I want to fall down in awe of the One who saved my soul.

Jesus died on the cross. Do you get that? Jesus (the God of the entire universe) died (laid down His own life willingly) on the cross (He was tortured and beaten and spit upon and mocked and hung and killed). The Creator of blood cells and giraffes gave up His own Son so that I could be His child.

If that isn't awe-inspiring I don't know what is.

So, let's not treat the Gospel as something mundane. Because that's not what it is at all. In fact, it's the complete opposite.