The Gravity of the Gospel
The message of Scripture is a message of gravity. It is weighty, sober, serious. There is nothing lighthearted about Jesus Christ, the focal point of Scripture. The message of Scripture is this: God died for you. I can’t find a single thing more serious than this. God died for YOU. And all of Scripture is the perspective of God on the workings of a history He laid out and why He chose to come and die to save His own creation who want nothing more than to see Him dead. People who stand under His wrath without realizing it, who will be subject to punishment greater than any punishment ever seen before for ALL ETERNITY. And how people who God has lovingly chosen to forgive will be saved from this punishment and how they will experience greater joy than the human mind can ever imagine for all eternity. And though these people will suffer here on this earth for their stand to be different, the rewards awaiting them will be well worth suffering through any persecution, abuse, or torture the human mind could conceive.
Just stop and think about that for a moment. God created knowingwhat pain, agony, and absolute shame He would endure. He created knowing that He would be provoked to greatest wrath from the abominations of His creation. And when he created, He knew the mocking voices which would be hurled at Him by His creation, people who would use His divine, holy name to express their disgust. That He would be derided by men, cast in plays and movies as a pervert, as an effeminate man, as a liar. His miracles among men would lead them to declare Him to filled with the power Satan himself (Matt 12:35)
And He knew that those who He saved would continue to provoke Him to wrath. They would mar His name on the earth through their failures to live according to what they preach. And this would bring even further scorn upon His name as those who hate Him are only given more reason to deride His saving power. And His creation would call Him a fool for lovingly pursuing them. This pursuit would cause an incomprehensible tremor in the very person of God Himself, as one member of the Trinity calls out in anguish to another, “My God, My God, Why have you forsaken me?” (Mk 15:35)
With this in mind, read Luke 15:11-32. As told by Christ, this is the story of a Father who forgave everything. And this father is God Almighty. Is there any question why there is such joy in Romans 8:1, “Therefore this is now NO condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus!” All our sins: past, present, and future are forgiven by the God who endures our reproaches, borne by the God who came to die at the hands of men.
The gospel is weighty because of all it entails. Behind the message of “Jesus Saves” is the deep, deep love of God. Having a God who chooses to endure everything in the previous three paragraphs and more because he loves me and will use me for His purposes is the source of all the joy of the gospel. Without having a God who is willing to endure my mockery and continued provocation, there can be no gratitude in the gospel, for I would have nothing to be thankful for.