I’m not perfect. No, I am far, far from it. I make dumb choices. My heart is an idol factory manufacturing functional saviors at a post-war pace. I’m well acquainted with my pet idols, I pay homage to them far too often. They say that who we really are is not how we present in ourselves in public, but how we act in private, when no one is looking. If that’s the case, then I’m in trouble. Sin has corrupted every human being to the core- our thinking is warped, our emotions are unreliable at best, and our will is enslaved to the gratifications of the flesh. The Apostle Paul is pretty clear in his description of the ‘sons of Adam’ and the ‘daughters of Eve’ (cf. Rom 1:18-3:20, Eph 2:1-3). I could quote him at length, but let me just summarize it for you: We’re all jacked-up sinners. No one’s perfect. Surprised? Nope, me neither…
But that’s what makes the good news great. The sicker we are, the more thankful we are for the remedy. The darker the night, the brighter the stars. You see, there is no way that I could stand before a completely holy God and with a straight face say, “I lived good enough.” Good enough isn’t good enough when the standard is perfection. Enter Jesus…
All the things that I did wrong, Jesus did right. He was (and is) perfect. And here’s the thing- we get credit for Jesus’ obedience (cf. Rom 5:18). His perfect-ness (or, righteousness) is transferred to us as our spiritual status. Meaning, when the Father looks at me- a jacked-up sinner- he sees the righteousness of his Son and accepts me on his behalf. My sin was transferred to Jesus’ status as he hung, bled, and died on a cross (cf. 2 Cor 5:21). Do you realize what this means!?
The Gospel really is good news. It’s great news, in fact. For those who realize that they are not perfect, for those living with shame, for those with regrets, for those who are haunted by dumb decisions, for those who are tired of striving and trying to ‘do better’ so that God might love them one day, for those who know that they are ‘jacked-up…’ The Gospel is radically and wonderfully life-giving.
So, how does it all ‘work?’ Well, that’s the other great thing. You don’t have to ‘work’ for it all- Jesus did all of that. No, salvation is by grace alone through faith alone. Meaning, God just gives it to you as a gift (cf. Rom 3:21-25, Eph 2:8-9). So, by faith, we pray and ask God for this. We talk directly to God because Jesus made that possible. Ask him to forgive the past. Ask him to love you. Ask him to adopt you into his family of recovering scallywags and raggamuffins. It’s kind of his thing.
So, I ask you to believe the Gospel. Why? Because this message is the scandal of grace, the greatest story known to man. This is the story of Jesus, his glory, and his people. This story is one of life and peace and joy and comfort and OMG- FREEDOM! Yes, the Gospel really is that good.
Soli Deo Gloria,