This past Sunday, we looked at Jesus’ claim to forgive sins, and said that God’s forgiveness of sins is not based merely on his love and will to forgive sins, but also on the sacrifice of Jesus in our place.
The gospel is not just “God is gracious, loving, and forgiving.” The gospel is that God is gracious, loving, and forgiving in Jesus. We must proclaim Jesus, we must get to the cross, we must point to the costly grace and satisfied justice at the cross.
Now, we may not understand all the reasons God chose to save a people in this way. Surely there is great and profound mystery that we won’t grasp until the life to come. But we can point to many of the reasons for it. Here are five ways God’s wisdom and power are displayed in the gospel.
First, in the gospel we see the seriousness of our sin before a holy God. The cross shows us that it took nothing less than the death of Jesus—fully God and fully man—to atone for our sin. This should keep us consistently humble.
Second, in the gospel we see the extent of God’s love. We don’t only have God’s words that he is merciful and loving; we have his actions within history of him suffering “for our sake.” “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son…” This should keep us consistently confident.
Third, in the gospel we see that our salvation is fully accomplished by God. No one can say, “God chose to forgive me because I’m worthy, because I did my part.” Jesus had to DIE for you. No one is worthy. Salvation is a work of God from beginning to end. You don’t contribute anything to it. Salvation is from the Lord. Receive it! And glorify God for it!
Fourth, in the gospel our hope of salvation is secure and unmovable. Our hope of salvation is not based on how we perform each day or how we feel or how we match up to others. It is not hanging in the balance each day or week or year. Our salvation is dependent on the firm, unmovable truth of Jesus’ death and resurrection.
And fifth and lastly, in the gospel we are compelled to love, worship, and obey God in return. Grace is the best motivator. It’s not the only motivator, or even the only appropriate motivator. But in God’s wisdom, it is the one that shines most clearly in the gospel and the one that should most lead us to worship.
What could be greater than to hear God say, “Son, your sins are forgiven”? “Daughter, your sins are forgiven”? What could be more comforting than to have our Creator and judge, the one to whom we all must give an account, say, “Your sins are forgiven, and you are my beloved child”?
There is nothing we need more than peace with God, and to wake up every day knowing that we are loved and delighted in by our God?