Intro: Looking at the cross

How important is the gospel to you? What do you think and feel and do when you hear that God became the God-man Jesus, was tempted as we were, suffered many things, died a horrible death on a cross, yet lived a life of perfect obedience, thus sufficiently paying the full price of our sin – death, was raised three days later as proof that He paid the price in full, ascended into heaven where He sits enthroned above all things, having decisively defeated the power of sin,  and even now calls people into His kingdom by His Spirit, who also comforts, teaches, guides and sanctifies the church?

I perenially struggle with this question. I do not struggle because I do not know what the answer to it ought to be. The answer is that the gospel is of first importance. Jesus ought to be at the center of all that we do – this is what it means to declare Him Lord. The good news that we have a Saviour who died in our place, a Lord who commands our alleigance, a Mediator who reconciles us to the glorious Father, a Friend and Brother who identifies with our sufferings and temptations, a Shepherd who will lead us home, and a Head over the church ought to inform all matters of faith and conduct. Rather, I struggle because I realise how far short I fall of this sort of thinking and feeling and living.

What is the gospel? The way I would phrase it is that we can enter into the fellowship of the Godhood if we entrust ourselves to Jesus. To entrust ourselves to Jesus means to place our lives in His hands. When He died, we died. We were crucified with Him to the world, and the world to us. When He rose again, so did we into the newness of life. He died our death. And our lives are found in Him. We are mysteriously and gloriously united to the Son. We are in the Kingdom of the Son, having entered by the blood He shed on our behalf. The gate to the kingdom is simply, “Repent, and believe the good news!” Our repentance identifies us with the Son in His death on the cross. And our faith identifies us with the Son in His glorious, resurrected life, who is at the right hand of the Father, where there are pleasures forevermore. We enter into the fellowship of the Triune God when we entrust ourselves to Jesus.

This is something that should never grow old. We ought to never tire of it. Yet the world, the flesh and the devil can cool these flames. They will not extinguish them, but they can cool them. Then, when the gospel grows cold and wearisome, we must look afresh at the sinfulness of our sin and the righteousness of Jesus. We must return time and time again to the cross of Christ where our sin and His righteousness are laid bare for all the world to see.

This is what I hope to do over the next 3 weeks in the lead up to Easter. I wish to look at the cross of Christ. It is important that our hearts and minds burn with the flames of the gospel if we are to live holy lives. I hope to stoke these flames up by working through several sections of the Bible.

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