Like most of the Midwest, the people of Iowa are quite nice. We wave at fellow drivers, we hold the door open for strangers, we exchange pleasantries in passing ("Good morning!"), and we'll even pay for the coffee of the anonymous person behind us in the drive-thru lane.
But our “niceness” sometimes blinds us to our true condition spiritually. Romans 3:9-18 (which is summed up in verse 23) is very clear that the default mode of every human (even us nice ones) is sin. I wish I could soften this truth, but biblically orthodox Christianity is clear: We. Are. Sinners. We are broken and imperfect people. We are sick with spiritual iniquity.
This sad doctrinal truth means that even our nice acts done for complete strangers are stained with sin. We may think our actions are like beautiful garments, but the reality is they are filthy rags compared to the goodness of God.
Thankfully, there is good news to this awful truth: God can heal us of this mortal malady.
According to the New Oxford American Dictionary on my Mac, the word "therapy" is defined as "treatment intended to relieve or heal a disease.” As we just saw from Romans 3, each of us is stricken with the disease of sin. But God didn’t leave us in our sick, pitiful state. He sent Jesus to remedy our condition by dying on the cross. His willing sacrifice paid the penalty owed due to sin and broke the bonds that sin holds over God’s creation of humanity. And now, through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, we can be healed, renewed, and restored back into the image of God.
This is why my working definition of the "gospel" is
"The ongoing story of God redeeming broken and imperfect people and restoring them into the perfect and complete image of Jesus."- Riverwood's definition of the Gospel
As the late Tim Keller is known for saying, the gospel is not the ABC's of the Christian life (the starting point), it is the A to Z of the Christian life. In other words, the gospel doesn't just save you, it is the very thing God uses to sanctify you. This is why God had Paul write in Colossians 2:6-7:
"Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving."Colossians 2:6-7 (ESV)
This is why we are going to take several weeks in this space to consider how the Gospel can be therapeutic to the areas of your life infected and affected by sin, so you might be "rooted and built up," relieved of the pain of sin and even healed of it. My aim will be to help you (as I seek to remind myself) to apply the gospel to every facet of your daily life, to heal the spiritual sickness we all face. We will see together how the gospel can help you deal with your past, with addictions, your relationships, and more.
So join me through October and November as we consider how to apply this life-changing good news to all areas of life, allowing God to heal, restore, and change us through His gospel.
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