Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The Staggering Wonder of Christ

You just really have to wonder: do we make the gospel easy for people to receive? I think sometimes we do. We portray sin as no terrible thing, something everyone does. We portray hell as a place of separation. We urge people to trust Jesus but make it sound as if we're setting them up with a new friend. The average person, imbued with some sense of morality and some sense of sympathy for Jesus, finds it no difficult thing to "accept" Him. Yet the gospel they have accepted is not truly the gospel, is it? Is it not a weakened, watered-down version of the evangel?

The corollary to the idea that hell, and our sin, is horrible is that Jesus, and heaven, is wonderful. Jesus is altogether wonderful. He came here for us, He suffered here for us, He bled and gasped and writhed in pain for us. He is tender, compassionate, long-suffering, loving. Jesus is an awesome person, yet He is more than this--He is simultaneously an awesome God. He is a being of exquisite nobility, of princely bearing, and yet when on earth he called beggars His friends. He is strong for His people, never ducking away from His duty, never taking a moment off, never sidestepping a moment to serve His God. He is an incredible figure, worthy of worship, majestic in splendor, enthroned in glory. This--and not some toned-down peasant--is the One we worship. He is altogether wondrous to us. As is heaven, the place He lives. If hell is a place of shattering horror, heaven is a place of staggering beauty. We cannot imagine its splendor. Its perfection is everywhere. There is no sadness or suffering there. No, God is the center of heaven, perfect God, God in three persons. God loves His people in heaven, and they have no need of anything else. It is theirs simply to be loved for eternity.

People who do not believe the gospel must hear of this picture of Christ. They should hear of the great horror of hell and the great beauty of heaven. They must hear of the horror figure who is real, Satan, and they must hear of the deliverer who truly lives, Christ. We should not share a gospel that is easy to accept and walk away from. We must share the gospel in its fullness. We must share that great horror does exist but that a Man of great beauty has overcome it by His substitutionary death. Christians need to extol the glories of heaven and the majesty of Christ. We need to teach that people do not truly fear God until they see their sin as horrible, and that people do not truly love God until they Christ as wonderful. Someone who can look into the face of hell as revealed in the gospel and walk away unmoved, and who can hear of Christ and not adore Him and worship Him, is no true Christian.

A true Christian is one who revels in the beauty of God and shudders at hell's horrors. We are those who understand the gospel not to be a weak, palatable, man-friendly message, but a holy word come down from God that kills the flesh and resurrects the soul. This, not any fresh face or sunset, is beauty. Jesus Christ is no mere man, and no simple savior. He is a figure of holiness, love, and staggering wonder. May we remember this as we call the lost to Him.


Blogger Dad said...

Owen wrote: A true Christian is one who revels in the beauty of God and shudders at hell's horrors.

The truth is I don't do either to any degree like I should. Yet, I do do these.

I ran across a verse that goes with this: Revelation 19:10 For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. (ESV)

Al (Not Owen's dad or that other "Al")

4:02 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home