Over the last few months, I have become more and more engaged in the apologetics of the Gospel. I love reading anything by C.S. Lewis that defends the Word and hearing the way he pieces together an argument so clearly. But at the same time, my Bible and History class at UT, taught by a Jewish professor, is also causing me to truly dig and figure out what I believe the Gospel to be. As much as I know there are historical backings for the Bible and its accounts, I also know that on many occasions it describes itself. And since I am a Christian, I thought that I should know what the Bible itself claims to be in order to share that with others. So here is what I dug up:
1 – It is Jesus Christ John 1:1-18. From cover to cover, the Gospel is above all the story of Christ our savior. Directly following the fall of humanity in Genesis 3, God promises to send His Son to conquer the death and decay that we brought upon ourselves. From then on, the Old Testament continually points outside of itself through prophecies and conversations with God in expectancy of Christ. Then you have the Gospels recounting his life and the remainder of the New Testament points back to Christ. Fundamentally, this book is not about us and how we can improve ourselves. Rather, it gives us a clear understanding of who Christ is so that we can pursue a relationship with Him that will transform our lives and push us towards holiness.
2 – It is God’s character revealed. This is evident in Leviticus and the Law. A lot of times, people get hung up on this book and all that it says because they feel as if it is telling them what to do. But I think that is a terrible mistake to make. Scripture says that God created us in His image and this needs to be the starting point when it comes to understanding the Law. These “rules” are not actually rules at all because the God of the Bible does not command us to do things simply because He can. Rather, it is God revealing Himself to us in word form. And if that is our starting point, our perspective on the Law changes and becomes an understanding of who we were created to be. God is telling us that we will not find joy in becoming drunk, in sleeping around, in killing other people, or even in worshiping other gods because that is not how He created us to be. God created us in His image, the law is His character revealed, therefore the Law must be understood in the context that He is only trying to push us towards what will bring us the most joy – understanding our place in His kingdom and worshiping Him for that.
3 – It is the Truth. 1 John 2:22 makes it clear that to deny Jesus as God is to deny the truth. We have already established that the Gospel is Jesus on every page. Therefore, to deny the Gospel is to deny the Truth.
4 – It is our story. The Old Testament continually reminds us of who we are and from where we came. From the creation of Adam right up to today, the Gospel accounts for who we are and leaves nothing out.
5 – It is our theology. The New Testament is very much theologically oriented. It teaches us how to pursue Christ and His sacrifice and promises that He will be faithful to respond in leading us into holiness.
6 – It is living and active. This comes from Hebrews 4:12 and promises that the Gospel is not simply an archaic document or a guideline for moralistic living. It is living and active and continues to shed light on the deepest and darkest sources of our depravity. It may be hard to follow and it may even seem abrasive, but it is real. And it is alive.
7 – It is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path. If we allow it to become so, Psalm 119:105 promises that the Gospel will lead us even in the dark times. It will bring us to safety and hope.
8 – It is our purpose. Matthew 28:18-20 calls us to live our lives in response to the gift of grace that Christ extended to us when He died on the cross in order to forgive our sins. We are called to share the Truth with others in order that they too might become disciples of Christ – not simply converts. Whether this be in Africa, China, or the WalMart we frequent for groceries, Christ has called us to live a life that reflects Him in all that we do so that others might see the Gospel and desire to embrace the hope we profess.
9 – It is “breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.” So says 2 Timothy 3:16-17.
These are all passages I came across while digging into the subject and it has truly laid upon my heart the importance of staying in the Word. If all of these things are true and I put my faith in them as being truth, then what else is there for which to live? School has been keeping me pretty busy and stressed out lately so I have had to remind myself of where I find my true value and who gives me purpose in this world. But it is amazing how much more difficult that is to do when I am not reading the Word consistently. I was listening to a Matt Chandler sermon the other day and pulled a quote from it that really resonated within me. He said:
“The worst form of lying is when you are lying to yourself. I mean, being self deceived…because if you lie to someone else, you at least have a shot at somebody coming up and going, ‘You lied to me.’ When you lie to yourself, you live in an imaginary world. Alright? So it’s not that you can’t read or you are too busy. There is a spiritual reality to this thing. Have you figured that out yet? Have you ever noticed that you can read certain things, you can get into a hobby, and you can study it and you can know all the details and how everything works and the second you pick up the Bible your mind starts floating and you have a hard time really engaging? Have you ever picked up on that? Have you ever picked up on…that the second you pick up the Bible, everything that you have to do that day and all that you have to accomplish immediately flood into your brain? It definitely doesn’t happen when you are watching Sportscenter. You are not watching Sportscenter going, ‘Oh, I’ve gotta get that done and turn that in and make that phone call and I’ve gotta run to the store and get some milk. I’ve gotta go to the…’ It doesn’t happen when you are watching television. When does it happen? When you pick up the Word. Could there be a spiritual reality here? Oh, absolutely there could.”
Those words are so true of my life. I can get so freely wrapped up in watching movies, taking naps, listening to music, or doing any other activity of the sort without any thought of the busyness in my life. But when I pick up the Gospel, it always comes crashing down on me.
I need to study.
I need to sleep.
I need to wash clothes.
I need to buy groceries.
I need to clean my room.
I need to gas up my car.
I need to respond to emails.
I need to work out.
I need to…
…shut up. I need to read God’s word. Because when I do, He grants me peace in the midst of all the chaos that is the world. We are nothing. He is everything. And we learn that by studying the Gospel.
“When the earth totters, and all its inhabitants,
it is I who keep steady its pillars.”