The thing that stands in the way of my truly understanding God’s grace is that I’m pretty sure I already truly understand it. Go back and read that sentence again.
While the Gospel is a message, it cannot be confined to messages. While the gospel is the Truth, it cannot be captured by a series of propositional truths. Before the Gospel is anything else, the Gospel is God. Gospel means good news and the good news is God. The good news is not that God loves us. The good news is that God is love. The good news is not that Jesus saves. It is that Jesus is himself salvation.
We think we truly understand God and the Gospel because we have an understanding of what God has done for us. This is good, as far as it goes, but it does not go anywhere near far enough. When our understanding of the Gospel is limited to what God has done for us, our understanding of sharing the Gospel will be limited to telling others what God has done for them.
To be sure, the Gospel is the message of what God has done for us in Jesus Christ, but in a far greater sense, the Gospel is who Jesus Christ is to us and in us and through us for the world. The Gospel is not a body of knowledge about who God is and what God has done. The Gospel is actually knowing God. “Now this is eternal life:” Jesus prayed, “that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” John 17:3.
We have lived through a period of world history wherein the measure of mastery consisted in knowing about a subject. The Christian faith is not meant for this paradigm. Real Christianity can never be reduced to knowing about God. We must go on to knowing God. To think one can master the subject of God is the ultimate idolatry. Real Christianity is about understanding oneself as subject to God and becoming mastered by Jesus Christ.
The Gospel of Jesus Christ is not God’s solution to our sin problem. The Gospel is that “God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, not counting our sins against us.” (see 2 Corinthians 5:19) The Gospel is a reconciled relationship through which God lives in us and we in him. The Gospel is not the knowledge but the knowing. The domain of knowledge is in a body of information. The domain of knowing is in the Body of Jesus Christ. And none of this is meant to eschew or despise knowledge but rather to say that knowledge is a penultimate understanding. Ultimate understanding means knowledge about God must give way to knowing God.
In the same way, the gospel is bearing fruit and growing throughout the whole world—just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and truly understood God’s grace.
To become a real Christian is our aim. Most often, it requires us to humble ourselves and confess that we might not be there quite yet—not that we aren’t on the way, but that the Way just might be a whole lot more than we ever imagined.
Abba Father, we thank you for your son, Jesus, who is both the Way and the way-maker. He is the Life and the life-giver. He is the Truth, not as a construct of knowledge but as a person, the Word made flesh. I want to know Jesus more than I know about him. I want to know him personally, and intimately and powerfully. To this end we pray in Jesus name, Amen.
This devotion is from The Seedbed Daily Text. To sign up for these devotions, click here