Here’s some good news:
You’re not the good news.
A popular saying amongst Christendom is “You’re the only Jesus some will ever see.”
To which I reply with all sincerity, “Jesus, I hope not.”
If I’m the only Jesus you will ever see, then you’re probably screwed.
I am not exemplary in this life. I struggle and fail daily to live anything like Jesus. My spiritual walk looks more like a 4-year-old bubble chaser than a flint faced mature disciple.
The gospel is foremost, “news.” A message to be heralded about something that has already happened:
About a perfect God-man who stoops down to the human gutter, gets dirty and involved with our messy lives, dies a death we deserve on a cross, and defeats death for us in a resurrection. My life can’t compete with the perfect Son. And it shouldn’t try. That message is the gospel that changes lives for eternity. Even if we try to live a “sold out” “radical” life for Christ with all our might, our gospel talk will always out pace our gospel walk.
Because the gospel is about the only perfect Man.
Not my story.
I hope people see Christ and His manifold excellencies in this gospel story.
The church is full of hypocrites and legalism and immorality, some retort. The world needs to see lives changed. Yes. And fortunately this gospel changes lives. But in reality there are only two types of people on this earth: 1. Those who know they’re hypocrites and 2. those who don’t know it yet. Hopefully, the true church endeavors to set up residence with the former group. The Law levels us all, and Christ is the only one strong enough to lift us back up.
In the end, it is not our changed lives that set us apart. Many religions can boast that. It is Jesus. It is the utter uniqueness and ridiculousness of our message. Much to the chagrin of Francis of Assissi, it’s gospel words that do the divine trick (Romans 10:14). It is beholding this gospel of radical grace that spurns us toward any good word or deed.
So take this good news with you today:
“I’m not the good news. Jesus is.”
“We preach not ourselves, but Jesus” (2 Cor 4:5)