Uplift: The Good News of the Gospel is the Ultimate Uplift for Everyone - Jill Smith 22 August 2019
I am happy and full of excited optimism right now, because I’m realising that the reality of the Good News of Jesus Christ is far more thoroughly good than I’ve known up till now. The air is clearing in a remarkable way and I’m seeing through the fog of some crazy religious perspectives that I didn’t even know were there. It feels like I’m being born again, again and again, and life with Jesus is getting better and better every single day.
I’m a little bit sad too, because I’m a preacher and a pastor, and I’m so aware that a mixed-bag of grace and law theology has flavoured my ministry, hindering the limitless, supernatural, grace of the resurrected Christ through me. Having grown up in a “full gospel” preaching Pentecostal tradition, I am grateful for all the good that I received, but also have to acknowledge, that in sometimes subtle ways, a hefty price tag was added to the free gift of grace that Jesus already gave. It has been quite a journey over the last few years unpacking some heavy excess baggage in the increasing light of God’s all surpassing goodness and grace.
The Gospel is simple, but it gets bigger and better as we discover more. Because God is infinitely good and infinitely big, we’ll never get to the end of the adventure of discovery. Bottom line: God’s gifts don’t come with a price tag. Any charge added to what God has freely given is not the Gospel because that’s not grace. Christ died once for all so that we can all experience a supernaturally abundant life. We are invited to follow Jesus into fullness of life and leave the deadly slavery of sin, including religious striving, behind. We move from death to life as we receive God’s abundant gift of grace and the life of Christ begins to bubble up supernaturally.
Whatever you need the answer is found in Jesus. He is the author of life and so he is the first and last word on any subject. The Gospel is good news for the prisoner – both saved and unsaved – within the church and outside it. We are freed to look to the finished work of the cross in every season, circumstance and need, and receive what we need by faith, because Jesus has already paid for it all. Unbelief slaves away but receives nothing, while faith realises that everything comes by grace for free. Unbelief tries hard but faith trusts.
The Law of the Old testament was bad news. It was good and it was necessary. But it was the bad news that we couldn’t save ourselves by working hard to meet the standard of God’s perfect righteousness. The Good News is that God loves us so much that he gave everything he has in Christ to do it for us. He is not mad at us, he is not even in a bad mood, God is happy, he is for us, and he wants to share his life with us forever. In a word, the Gospel really is UPLIFT, as John Calvin put it: “The Son of God became the Son of Man that the sons of men might become the sons of God.” That is crazy, and somewhat mysterious, but really, really good news. The God of glory has come down into our death and lostness and lifted us up out of all that, placing us into the life we were originally created for, as his beloved sons and daughters. This is the exciting supernatural journey we're on together, let's not stop now, it's getting better and better every day.
BLESS YOU HEAPS
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