Most of us have heard the Gospel or “Good News” as we call it in Christian circles, but how many of us really know its breadth and depth. I suspect that most of us do not. How do I know that? Because statistically, abuse of all kinds is just as high in Christian homes as those who don’t claim to know Christ. Divorce is just as high. Addiction is just as high as well. It seems that Christians, on the whole, live with just as much fear, anxiety and worry as those outside the church. Christ’s coming to this world and the implications thereof is very good news, so why is it not having the impact on our world today that it should?
Why, when there is so much freedom and so much joy to be had? There is a much more enjoyable life waiting for us and it is so close, so easy to access, yet we miss it somehow. Jesus told us his main reason for coming to this earth when he said, “I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows)” –John 10:10.
So what is the “Good News”, how do we know that full life? To know it, we need a childlike mind of trust. That’s what makes it easy to attain, all we have to do is be like a child. It’s also what makes it so elusive to us, because we are unwilling to let go. Jesus also said, “Unless you accept God’s kingdom in the simplicity of a child, you’ll never get in.” –Luke 18:17. The Good News is this; God did, and does it all. We do nothing! Our part is to just trust Him. To let go! By doing so, we can do anything; because He can do anything, by trusting Him, we can do all things! Philippians 4: 13” I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me [I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who [a]infuses inner strength into me; I am [b]self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency]”. Ok, that just sounds way too easy. That’s why we miss it!
Listen to what I think is one of the most powerful scriptures written from Romans chapter 8:
1-2 With the arrival of Jesus, the Messiah, that fateful dilemma is resolved, (the dilemma that Paul is referring to is the struggle with self that he talks about in chapter 7). Those who enter into Christ’s being-here-for-us no longer have to live under a continuous, low-lying black cloud. A new power is in operation. The Spirit of life in Christ, like a strong wind, has magnificently cleared the air, freeing you from a fated lifetime of brutal tyranny at the hands of sin and death.
3-4 God went for the jugular when he sent his own Son. He didn’t deal with the problem as something remote and unimportant. In his Son, Jesus, he personally took on the human condition, entered the disordered mess of struggling humanity in order to set it right once and for all. The law code, weakened as it always was by fractured human nature, could never have done that.
The law always ended up being used as a Band-Aid on sin instead of a deep healing of it. And now what the law code asked for but we couldn’t deliver is accomplished as we, instead of redoubling our own efforts, simply embrace what the Spirit is doing in us.
5-8 Those who think they can do it on their own end up obsessed with measuring their own moral muscle but never get around to exercising it in real life. Those who trust God’s action in them find that God’s Spirit is in them—living and breathing God! Obsession with self in these matters is a dead end; attention to God leads us out into the open, into a spacious, free life.
It goes on to say:
It stands to reason, doesn’t it, that if the alive-and-present God who raised Jesus from the dead moves into your life, he’ll do the same thing in you that he did in Jesus, bringing you alive to himself? When God lives and breathes in you (and he does, as surely as he did in Jesus), you are delivered from that dead life. With his Spirit living in you, your body will be as alive as Christ’s!
12-14 So don’t you see that we don’t owe this old do-it-yourself life one red cent. There’s nothing in it for us, nothing at all. The best thing to do is give it a decent burial and get on with your new life. God’s Spirit beckons. There are things to do and places to go!
15-17 This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike “What’s next, Papa?” God’s Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. We know who he is, and we know who we are: Father and children. And we know we are going to get what’s coming to us—an unbelievable inheritance! We go through exactly what Christ goes through. If we go through the hard times with him, then we’re certainly going to go through the good times with him!
I bolded and underlined, “instead of redoubling our own efforts, simply embrace what the Spirit is doing in us” because it encapsulates the main problem and its solution. We constantly struggle with self! We constantly kick ourselves when we mess up! We constantly worry and fear what’s around the next corner. We are always trying to get it right. If you are a person of faith, you probably say, “Well if I just read my Bible more and pray more, I’ll be ok”. It’s all about doing more, redoubling our efforts. You see that word “instead”? How did we miss that; because that’s all we do, isn’t it! Try harder, do more!
Oh, but here it comes. Watch it! “Simply embrace what the Spirit is doing in us”. There is real power there! There is grace and forgiveness and love there! See, why do you think Christ placed such a strong emphasis on loving and forgiving our enemies? Because He knows that love and forgiveness are the only things that have any chance of breaking through the hard exterior of pride and arrogance in others and in us. Yes, arrogance has been my greatest nemesis also, keeping me from knowing the fullness of what I am sharing with you today. God’s grace is sooooooo huge! Unfathomably huge! And there is great freedom in that grace. Not freedom to do as we please, although we could, but freedom like a child completely trusting its Dada.
Oh, if the world just knew this, imagine the implications! There are implications here not just for freedom from worry and fear; not just for freedom from selfishness, pride and corruption; not just for freedom from guilt and shame; not just for freedom from addictions and obsessions; but freedom from disease, death, and moral decay as well. It’s a package deal. You don’t get just one; you get it all! A veteran Pastor once said to me years ago, “You know God doesn’t heal and perform miracles any more today. He did that back in the early days to confirm the Gospel, but now that we have the Bible, that’s all we need and God doesn’t need to do miracles anymore”. To which I say, The Gospel IS the power of God! To deny the miraculous is to cut the legs off of the Gospel and take away at least half of its effectiveness. If that is what some churches believe, no wonder the Good News has been weakened over the years. You can’t separate any part of it. That too is arrogance and contrary to childlike trust in God.
Now it’s time to start pulling up some floor boards that have been nailed down for a while. When you hear this, do you feel even the slightest pull on your heart!? Let it in! Trust! Let go! God will increase it! He will most certainly pour Himself into your life, whether it is for the first time, or anew, after years of trying to live a life of faith only to find struggle again and again. You see, a life of faith is just that, faith, not struggle.
God is about to do some great things in us, in His church, and in the world. Can you feel it? I know I can. Start trusting Him today for far more than anything you can even begin to think or imagine. Get ready to be a world changer!