Lately, I’ve been feeling…burdened. Some parts of life have just been hard recently. My life isn’t horrible and none of us are deathly ill, but it seems like there are so many things causing stress.
That’s just how life goes sometimes.
Yesterday during my morning quiet time, I was reading through Psalm 86, over…and over…and over. As I grabbed my journal and started writing out some of the verses, I was overwhelmed by one single thought: I need to cling to the gospel.
I need to preach the gospel to myself daily. When the worries drive me to the brink of tears, I need to remember that God did not spare his own Son. I need to think more about God than I think about myself.
The Truth of the Gospel
I am a sinner whose heart is in rebellion toward God. I do things that aren’t kind, I think thoughts that aren’t holy, I say things that hurt others. Even though I might look like I’m “not that bad,” God and I both know my heart is not good. Not at all.
So, because we are all sinners, God sent his only son, Jesus, to earth to live a perfect life – a life of complete submission to God (the opposite of my own rebellion).
But even though Jesus lived a perfect life, he was accused of crimes and given a death sentence by the rulers of the day. After being brutally tortured, he was hung on a cross to die a painful death.
While hanging there, naked and bleeding, all the sins of the world were placed on his shoulders. He took on all of my sinful thoughts, and words, and actions. He bore the weight of every sin that was ever committed or ever will be.
The only One who never knew sin was painfully drenched in every single sin from all of time.
Once again, he was accused of crimes he didn’t commit and given a death sentence. But this time the verdict and punishment were handed out by God. Jesus’ own Father looked upon his Son and saw my unworthy, black heart…and he had to turn away.
God could not look upon Jesus because in that moment, Jesus looked like…me.
During the false testimonies and heinous beatings, we never hear Jesus utter a sound. But when he was full of our guilt and his Father was emptying his wrath upon him, we hear him cry out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
It must have been excruciating.
Then, when our debt was paid, Jesus died. But the story doesn’t end there.
After three days, Jesus rose from the dead! Just like Jesus’ perfect life is credited to me and his death counts as the punishment I should have been given, his resurrection is mine, too. Jesus didn’t stay in the grave, and neither will I.
Because of Jesus’ new life, I have new life on this earth. I am a new creation. Also because of Jesus’ resurrection, I will be raised to life after I die, too. I will be raised to spend eternity in the presence of God.
I don’t have to work or earn that life Jesus is offering. All I have to do is admit the truth that I’m a sinner and accept his gift of forgiveness. It really is too much to grasp or understand. My only option is to believe.
Remember the Truth When Life is Hard
God did not spare his own Son when the time came to execute his judgment. God emptied every drop of his wrath upon his beloved Son so that he would not have any punishment left for you and me. Knowing how much God the Father loved Jesus, what must that say about his love for us?
Would the God who did not spare his own Son leave us alone now? Could he ever forget his love for us? Can his grace ever run out? No!
God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son to die a tortuous death in our place, so that whoever believes in him might have eternal life (see John 3:16).
Our lives were purchased with blood, costly and perfect blood. God would not punish his own Son on our behalf and then desert us. That would make Jesus’ death meaningless, and we know that’s not true.
Trust in the steadfast love of God. “For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving, abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you.” (Psalm 86:5)
God forsook Jesus so that he would never need to forsake us. Soak up the truth that God has chosen you for his own. Cling to the gospel.
God loves us because he loves Jesus. Let’s never, ever forget that.
Let’s preach it to ourselves daily.