Saturday, April 21, 2012

The Explicit Gospel

I had the immense pleasure of attending Together For The Gospel this year. It's always a great time of encouragement and gathering for the incredible worship with Bob Kaufflin. The sound of 8000 voices together praising our God is just overwhelming to say the least.
Also, the big thing at T4G is the books! lots and lots of books! I toted 33 titles home with me for free! They all are great resources all focusing on one thing, the gospel! One of the books that I was hopeful would be in the stack was The Explicit Gospel by Matt Chandler, and I was so excited to see that it was! It's a great and important book. One that I think every Christian would benefit greatly from having in their library.
Here are just a few of the nuggets from this gem.

"When we look at the gospel from the air, through the grand narrative of the Scriptures, we see that the gospel is not just about God's forgiving us of sins and giving us eternal life, but also about what we are being forgiven for and what eternal life is like. We cannot, as some say, deny that God's plan to restore all things is the gospel (Matt goes on in chapter 10 to explain this a little further), because the Scriptures show us that Christ's atoning work is the good news for fallen creation. Through the good news of Jesus's life, death, and resurrection, we are reconciled to God in view of our inheritance of the "all things" God is also reconciling (Romans 8:32). In other words, viewing the gospel from the air shows us it's overarching narrative and reveals that it isn't just of first importance (see 1 Corinthians 15:3) but of all importance. It is imperative that our gospel take the shape of the Scripture's epic vision of God's redemptive plan. It is imperative that we embrace a gospel that is scaled to the glory of God." - pg. 172

What a refreshing and encouraging thought, the gospel is not about us! It is indeed all about God and His glory! We get the benefit of being included in it, but it ultimately is not about us. The chapter, Moralism and the Cross goes through and again reveals what the gospel is and what the gospel is not. There's a lot of great practical wisdom on fighting sin and striving for holiness in this chapter, one of the many things that stood out in this chapter was the following thoughts on the Lord's forgiveness and no longer remembering our sins.

"Now watch the three weapons of grace collide. In the middle of all that guilt and shame, I began to be reminded by the Scriptures that the old Matt Chandler is dead. the Matt Chandler who did those things (earlier Matt tells of things that he is not proud of in his past, not descriptive at all. Just in thinking about his past sins.) the Matt Chandler who sinned in those ways, was nailed  to that cross with Jesus Christ, and all of his sins-past, present and future were paid in full on the cross of Jesus Christ. I have been sanctified "once and for all" (Hebrews 10:10).

Matt goes on to talk about the specifics of this good news, "And I no longer need to feel shame for those things, because those things have been completely atoned for.
When we fight sin, we don't do so with our own unction. We fight sin with the weapons that grace gives us: the blood of Jesus Christ, the Word of God, and the promise of the new covenant, that Christ has paid for our shortcomings in obedience to the law by his perfect life imputed to us."

What encouraging words! Did you catch that our fight with the sin that dogs us minute by minute, day by day is not done "with our own unction"? That is indeed good news! We are not alone in our battle with sin. Christ's strength is made perfect in our weakness.
I would highly recommend adding  The Explicit Gospel to your library, it's a great and practical reminder of just what the gospel truly is and that is an explicit declaration of the good news of Christ life and love toward us in spite of our deliberate and willful turning away from him. As the back cover states, "You know you know it...But then again, maybe you don't." We never move on from the gospel, only further on and further in.

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