C. J. Mahaney asks this question in Living the Cross Centered Life, “What’s the main thing in your life? What is truly ‘of first importance’ to you?” He goes on to say, “If it’s something other than the gospel- are you willing to repent to God and reorder your life?” I will share a secret with you. Until the past few years I thought the gospel was only for the unsaved. I thought the gospel was a vehicle to get a person into the Salvation Club and then was no longer needed by the Christian with the exception of leading someone to Christ. I would tune out when the gospel would be presented in a church service thinking to myself, “That is for other people.” In the quest for relevance we have stopped concentrating on the crucified Christ. I am amazed at my salvation. I do continue to find the saving of a wretch like me an incredible miracle. I know that even to my sinful self, the depths of my sinful behavior were abhorrent. I blush with the thoughts of my sinful past even though I am only able to recognize in part the depths of my former depravity understanding God knows all! It surely does seem that we Christians spend too much time seeking for some new truth, some previously undiscovered nugget that will touch an emotional chord within us and rekindle the waning flames of our Christian experience. But as you read Paul’s epistles you see the same truth brought out again and again- it is all about Him, and not about us. It is all about the cross of Christ; it is all about the gospel. The problem is not with the message or the messenger, the problem is with the heart of the recipient. Our hearts seem to have grown cold toward the gospel of Christ. It has become a formula by which we become saved, and once saved we discard this life-giving message as though it has no relevance for us today. But that is completely contrary to the reality of our situation! “Only when we understand God’s wrath toward sin can we realize that we need to be saved from it.” “Only those who are aware of God’s wrath are amazed at God’s grace.” I spent my formative years as a new Christian in a church that was more on the legalistic end than grace centered. I had a firm understanding of Gods wrath and lived in fear of somehow displeasing God or being out of His favor. I took serious the admonition to “be prayed up” just in case some tragedy befall me so I would not die with unconfessed sin in my life. This was a frightening place to be on a daily basis. Never quite sure I was safe (but in danger of what I could never identify) for I knew my salvation was secure based on Eph. 1. Living outside the light of the gospel (even as a believer) life will be joy-less, guilt-ridden, emotion driven, and you will tend to live by a set of legalistic standards that you will soon discover you cannot keep and will lead you to live under a heavy blanket of self-condemnation. Not a way to live the joyful Christian life!
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