Why the Gospel Is Good News for Believers... Now (Part 2 of 3)
We must not believe the Devil’s big lie that says Christianity, with its virtue formation, is full of discouragement, too hard or impossible, and not for the “ordinary” Christian. One of our biggest problems as Christians is our failure to believe the true gospel and our tendency to believe a smaller, domesticated counterfeit.
So how does this true gospel make any difference today? Let me give two examples.
First, let’s suppose you struggle with anger. There is good news for you today. The gospel tells you that in spite of what your flesh—that not-yet fully redeemed part of you—or what the Devil is screaming out, you have the resources to outlast any temptation to lose your cool. And, despite the satisfaction Satan promises from an angry outburst or a well-placed fist, these are shallow buckets of satisfaction compared with the ocean of joy that comes from righteous, creator-honoring behavior, not least from the smile of your merciful God and your brother and savior, Jesus Christ. What’s more, the gospel also does something else to the Devil’s lie. It reminds you how much Jesus paid to give you the power not to blow your top.
Second, let’s suppose you struggle with lust. There is good news for you today. The gospel tells you that in spite of what your Devil-charged flesh says, you don’t have to give an inch to that paper giant of lust when he taunts and pushes against you. Or, to change metaphors, the gospel unclothes the temptress, leaving a wrinkled, warty, cynical, bitter old witch in her place. The gospel topples the idol of lust by reminding you that that way to joy is a blind alley, a cul-de-sac of disappointment. Nothing truly joyful will be found there—only a cruel slave master who desperately wants his property back. And the gospel reminds you that Jesus died so that you don’t have to be fooled by lust anymore. It cost Jesus his life to make this possible.