The Gospel Distilled


It’s here again, the advent season.  Our Christmas boxes came out of hiding this morning, whether I was ready or not to decorate.  It’s time.  Truth is I wasn’t ready.  The pre-season-clutter-removal hadn’t happened over the weekend and now geometry and physics were demanding a tutor’s attention…and my face hurt with an untimely sinus infection…No, I didn’t feel like decorating even if the magic day had arrived, and even less like dissecting polygons or wrapping my mind around how simple machines work.  I felt like ‘losing it’ over a shuffle of misplaced school papers,  a discouraged student, and a gray day.   And so I did.  I vented all my ‘righteous’ wrath, with all the reasonable justifications for doing so.  Only made my teeth ache worse and my student sag further.

Then I snatched some leftovers for a subdued lunch and breather…

Of course, it was quite evident that I was in no position either to compose a blog or to help a struggling pupil write an essay discussing principles governing Christian conduct!  Oh brother.  Why did this come due today?  But there it was, this very topic I’ve been pondering, the simplicity of the Gospel.  Here stood an opportunity to give evidence to the power of the Gospel—’Christ came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief’.
(I Tim.1:15) And always, always He stands ready to forgive us our sins and put them as far away as the east is from the west.  Not only that, He stands waiting to dispense ‘grace in time of need’.  Now that sounds really trite I know, but what did I need?  I needed grace–to admit my wrong-headedness, to breathe a prayer for help to carry on and to equip my student to do her work.  All this is a by-product of the Gospel.  The heart of it is that God is now with us for life.  He is there in the stormy moments and the hurricanes.  God with us, because of the cross, because the hostility engendered by our sins is taken away in the death of Jesus.  He has brought us peace with God and now He resides with us forever…

Mind you, this didn’t all pass through my mind at that moment.  Actually I fumbled through an apologetic moment and a prayer, got some essential schoolwork wrapped up, and headed for a catnap with my hot wheat pillow and favorite blankie…still wondering what today’s blog would be about.

And while I slept it percolated… You see, last night a young mom in our Ladies Bible study group, gave an impromptu but poignant testimony of what her salvation means to her.

The topic was facing the storms of life without fear.  Different ones recited their personal experiences of tough times they’d gone through and the difference God had made.  When this young mom, who is also young in the Lord, spoke up she gave us all a fresh perspective.  She said all of life before knowing Jesus was a storm, and always one to be faced alone! Now with God in her life, she would never have to face such aloneness again.  No matter what she would yet face she would not have to face it alone and that for her is a world of difference.  Her unfeigned earnestness said more than I can convey in words   God is with us, and will never leave us ever.  This is enough.  What a refreshing reminder of the heart of the Gospel.

And as I roused from my catnap, this afternoon, my face still aching, now my throat hurting too, it hit me.  All that matters is that God is with us.  This is the heart of the Gospel.  Our sinfulness is no longer a barricade between us.  His love has conquered and nothing can separate us from it, neither wind or weather, sickness or death, pain or persecution.  God is with us, forever.  And that is enough.  Stop your whining and get decorating.  There is indeed something to celebrate and no time to lose!


gold clip“Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.”

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