Tis the season to make half-hearted resolutions to Hollywood Diets and 90 Day workout programs!
As we embark on a fresh New Year, a chance to call “Do Over!”, and an opportunity to rededicate, we may need to pause a bit before the ball drops and the confetti cleanup ensues.
In my opinion:
The gist of our modern Christianity is akin to a perpetual New Year’s Resolution.
Behavior modification dominates much preaching and teaching in the church. The thrust of so many Christian messages is about doing stuff: Pray longer, Give more money, Witness more, Invite a friend, get an accountability partner, help the poor, get a quiet time, become a leader…Try harder to be a better husband, employee/employer, father, citizen, dog owner, etc. etc. etc.
Do do do, go go go, try try try….and we reduce the beauty of the gospel mission to a Nike commercial.
We have such a propensity to work-related righteousness and commitments we may forget that Christ has made a resolution to us that will never be broken:
In Christ, God has resolved to love us with an eternal commitment. This resolution was not built on the sifting sand of human will but was signed, sealed, and delivered by the blood of His own dear Son before the foundations of the world (Ephesians 1:13). This commitment to us isn’t just for the New Year, it is new every morning (Lamentations 3:23).
The basics of the gospel blows away the minds of mighty angels (1 Peter 1:12). The blazing seraphim near the throne and Michael the sword-wielding warrior can’t comprehend why such a holy King would condescend to love such weak sinful men. We treat the gospel like a trite prayer tacked on the end of a sermon, or a kiddie pool we have to enter to go on to deeper spiritual waters. The Gospel, which reveals the glory of God in Jesus Christ, is the deepest thing in all the world(s).
Angels aren’t impressed by our great exploits for God, they’re impressed by God’s great exploits for us in the gospel.
The gospel tells us that there is nothing we can ever do to make God love us more than He does right now. It tells us there is nothing we can ever do to make God love us less than He does right now. Over 170 times in the NT the term “in Christ” is used to connote those who have been apprehended by God’s grace. God loves His Son with an unbroken perfect love and if we are IN CHRIST, God must love us in the SAME EXACT WAY (John 17:26).
We bring nothing to the table and yet are given everything.
No wonder angels are so perplexed.
Why would God love fallen broken humanity in the same way He loves His spotless precious obedient Son?
Why would God make a once and for all resolution to such disobedient despondent wretches?
This New Year may we look to Christ and His commitment to us in the gospel with angel-like longing, and may it birth heaven-like worship in our hearts. Let’s resolve to be captivated by God’s curious resolution to love us, in 2013 and forevermore.
Peace and grace this new year.