The Morning-After Gospel

Author: Blake Hankins     Topic: Devotionals

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What do you do at 9 a.m. with what happened at 2 a.m.? How do you handle your failures? Better yet, how does God handle your failures? As believers, it is crucial we understand how God views us and what that means. Understanding the Gospel and how to live under it can be a catalyst for living God’s will most fully. What I’m going to try to do over the next few paragraphs is show you and myself how God views us based on a variety of texts from Scripture.

Disclaimer: If your response to what you are about to read produces a sense that you now have a license to sin, please understand that is not what I am advocating or what God wants for us.

“What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.” Romans 6:1-4 ESV

Tim Keller once said, “The Gospel is this: We are more sinful and flawed in ourselves than we ever dared believe, yet at the very same time we are more loved and accepted in Jesus Christ than we ever dared hope.” I think it is necessary that we understand this concept. We have nothing to offer God. We are sinful. We do things which are not right. Even when we do things that are seemingly good, we don’t always have pure motivation in doing them.

“What then? Are we Jews any better off? No, not at all. For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin, as it is written: ‘None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.’ ‘Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive.’ ‘The venom of asps is under their lips.’ ‘Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.’ ‘Their feet are swift to shed blood; in their paths are ruin and misery, and the way of peace they have not known.’ ‘There is no fear of God before their eyes.’” Romans 3:9-18 ESV.

So now that I have laid that out for us, what does that mean? Well, yes, we are sinful. Yes, we have broken God’s command. Yes, we are not righteous. But no, that is not the end.

Remember the second half of this statement, “…we are more loved and accepted in Jesus Christ than we ever dared hope.” So what is love? If your view of love is in any way predicated on what you can do for someone or likewise, what they can do for you, then you need to reevaluate. If love is at all performance driven, then your view of love is shallow and weak. Real, true love is looking at someone and seeing the mess and chaos and saying “I’m not going anywhere.”

Our natural default when we sin is to believe that God is only tolerating us and regretting saving us. God is not watching you mess up and wishing He didn’t save you. There is no sin that has more power than the cross of Jesus Christ. None. Christ did not die for some future version of you, rather He died and was resurrected for the worst version of you and me. What kind of love is that? That God would see all that we are and still love us. He loves us even to the point of an undeserved death. “…but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8 ESV.

God is not just putting up with us, but patiently shows us grace and mercy (1 Timothy 1:15-16). As mentioned earlier in Romans, we are sinful but as much as we are sinful Christ’s righteousness is even more abundant. The response to the earlier part of Romans 3 is just a few verses down.

“But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.” Romans 3:21-26 ESV

I believe many of us live under the lie that when we sin we must go and put ourselves in a penalty box and work our way back into favor with God. We somehow believe that God cannot tolerate us until we fix that part of us or look cleaner. Maybe if we take a couple of days to show we are more serious about not sinning we can then go to Him for forgiveness. Wrong! Your weakness should not drive you away from God, but straight to Him. We tend to condemn ourselves or be condemned by others and it brings us to a place where we think God cannot forgive (to a certain point or at a certain time).

Your sonship had nothing to do with you but everything to do with Him. God isn’t conquering past sins and then expecting us to figure out the rest. Isn’t it hypocritical to sin and go immediately to the Lord? No way. We either believe God and His promises or we don’t. We must choose to believe God is who He says He is and does what He says He does.

In Hebrews 4:14-16 it says, “Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

Notice the part, “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace…” God calls us to draw near with confidence, not by our own doing but because of our great high priest (Jesus). Because of Jesus, we can go to God directly and immediately. For we do not have a high priest who cannot understand where we are. He was tempted in every way yet did not sin. So when you go to God, He sits at the right hand of the Father and says, “He’s mine”. Who can even bring a charge against you? You’re his. When Jesus comes before the Father with pierced hands and feet, He opens the door for God to look at you and pronounces you as accepted, justified, forgiven, blameless and free. Jesus is continually interceding for us. (Romans 8:31-39)  For the Christian, when God looks at you He sees Christ. Jesus imposed on us His perfect life which we do not deserve and took on the death which we deserve. Because of this the Lord no longer sees you but His perfect Son.

Run to the Lord with your brokenness. Go to Him when you sin. Why would we go anywhere else? He’s the only one that can do anything about it. He has already handled it. God doesn’t want your morality but simply you.

I want to close with a very special passage to me, Micah 7:8-9. My hope is that you would be able to say this to the Accuser when you fall. Also, that you would understand God’s deep love for you in your weakness. God is angry about your sin. His anger towards your sin is now with a fatherly love since we are heirs with Christ (Galatians 4:4-7, Romans 8:12-17). But there is no more wrath. He executes judgment for you! So go to God with disgust about what you’ve done and may the Lord shower you with grace, mercy and love because of Christ.

“Rejoice not over me, O my enemy; when I fall, I shall rise; when I sit in darkness, the Lord will be a light to me. I will bear the indignation of the Lord because I have sinned against him, until he pleads my cause and executes judgment for me. He will bring me out to the light; I shall look upon his vindication.” Micah 7:8-9 ESV


Hankins Head

 

Blake Hankins is the National Advisor for the Houston Baptist, North Texas, Oklahoma, Georgia, Auburn, Alabama, and Louisiana Tech BYX chapters. He graduated from The University of Tennessee in 2014 and now lives in Fort Worth, Texas

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