“Just one thing: Live your life in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or am absent, I will hear about you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind, working side by side for the faith that comes from the gospel.” — Philippians 1:27, HCSB
We want good news, we say.
Our society hates us. Our children are leaving us. Our world is overrun with darkness.
We want good news, so we will have to create the stories of victory ourselves. We will hold on tight to familiar traditions, even fight for them when we feel them slipping away. We will isolate, outcry, point fingers, make enemies. We will do whatever it takes not to lose what we think we have the right to keep.
We will do good things. We will stand in the gap for others. When it suits us.
We will call ourselves persecuted. Sometimes that will be true. Sometimes it won’t.
We will study and share how to live good lives. Lives that can be approved of, praised, set up as examples. But it won’t be enough.
We will desperately scour our days for that good news, our hope shriveling more and more for each dusk we do not see it on the horizon.
We will try. And we will try again. And sometimes we will get to print headlines that look like good news, but don’t change much at all. They won’t satisfy. But we will keep trying. We will find the good news, even if we have to redefine “good.”
The truth is, we’ve been fooling ourselves.
So often we work for and from everything but the real good news. The incomparable truth that got us here in the first place. We are so easily distracted. Our minds and hearts so easily muddled. We invoke a vocabulary of grace and proclaim the name of God while still breaking our backs trying to earn what we already possess. I think there are times when we all forget the good news, even if it’s already changed our lives.
The good news, the hope, the solution, the future is right in front of us—bold, brilliant, complete. His name is Jesus Christ. And as long as we keep ignoring the good news about Him, we will keep being fooled. We will keep fighting a battle He has already won. And we will spend ourselves on the war without ever stopping to recognize the glory, power, and mystery of the King for whom we claim to fight.
If we can’t remember why we’re fighting, then we are merely mercenaries.
We need the gospel. At every turn, in every moment. With evil breathing down our necks and doubt forming heavy fog on the path before us, we are lost without it. Every move, if we can even get ourselves to move, is misguided, because we don’t know where we’ve come from or even what we’re aiming for.
We need to remind each other and remind ourselves. Every chance we get, we must speak of the child in the manger and the boy in the temple; we must tell one another of the man called the Son of God, who healed and changed and loved those around Him. Who, though tempted in every way, never sinned. Only obeyed His Father. Only taught the truth. We must remember the prayer in the garden and the unfair trial. We must proclaim the truth of His gruesome pain and death upon the cross, when He took the punishment for our sins on Himself. We must speak of the temple veil torn and the climax of history. Of the empty tomb and the conqueror of death and everything this means for us. Tell how He lives today and how one day, He will return.
We must speak of His great grace and mercy, and how He did all of the above because of His love for us. And we must tell everyone how, “if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9)
Let’s point to the greatness of our Savior as we spell out the beautiful truths of salvation, redemption, justification, sanctification, glorification, eternal life, the indwelling Spirit, and so much more. May our prayers and praises not be centered on ourselves, but on the One who hears them—the One who changed everything, gave us everything.
Only when we tell each other this good news will we find the satisfaction, motivation, and explanation we’ve been searching for. This good news is the only good news we truly need. It will bring rebirth and revival and revitalization and unification and movement and change and hope and peace. The gospel is not just for those who haven’t heard it or accepted it. The gospel is for everyone, especially for those who claim their lives are based on it. If it gets old or boring or irrelevant to us, we’re missing the point.
Christians, we must make the cross our course, our creed, our conviction, our counsel, and our constant conversation. Only then will we know who we are.
Without the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we are just a lying, religious social club wasting time until we die. With the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we are the victorious, eternal, unshaken Bride of Christ. We have the mystery of His love written on our hearts, and it gives us everything to live for. Everything else will flow from this good news. Why we live will be the key to how we live. It all comes down to Jesus Christ—who He is, what He did, and how He loves.
“I love to tell the story,
for those who know it best
seem hungering and thirsting
to hear it like the rest.
And when, in scenes of glory,
I sing the new, new song,
’twill be the old, old story
that I have loved so long.”
—Katherine Hankey, I Love to Tell the Story