When I Finally Understood The Gospel…My Eyes Were Finally Opened!
The major flaw in my foundation was Who I believed God to be and how He felt about me. All those years as a believer, I never fully understood the full provision of the gospel. And because I didn’t understand it, I didn’t have the assurance in full faith to believe it. So tragic!
My Savior Who had promised me justification, forgiveness and redemption, because He purchased me with the price of His Son Who paid my debt in full, now offered me mercy and grace, requiring nothing of me in return.
Romans 3:21-24 (NLT): “But now God has shown us a way to be made right with Him without keeping the requirements of the Law... We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are. For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God freely and graciously declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when He freed us from the penalty for our sins.”
Ephesians 2:4–9 (NASB): “But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus...so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus...For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.”
Ephesians 2:13–18 (NIV): “But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, Who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by abolishing in His flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in Himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which He put to death their hostility. He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through Him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.”
I had never before experienced that lack of condemnation! I had never before felt that God’s wrath against me had been appeased, never to be aroused again. What I would come to understand about my depravity is that we’re all depraved and plagued with a sin nature which will always leave us sinning somehow but that the punishment for our sins had already been paid.
I hadn’t understood what it really meant to be forever forgiven by God. I had never before understood what it meant to be His beloved and the significance of my position as an adopted child of God. I had never before understood the full ramifications of complete forgiveness that didn’t require that I reciprocate by living up to some form of behavior change.
So, specifically, I couldn’t believe there could be forgiveness for someone like me who couldn’t keep her brain controlled (as my depressive illness distorted every thought I had). I had never before fully grasped that Jesus came to pay the penalty for all my sins, not just those before my salvation, but those I would commit today and tomorrow and in 30 years, too. I had never before really understood that Jesus had erased my debt. Finally, I had never before realized that I was already a friend of God, with nothing left held against me. And I had lived in fear of Him so many sad years…
How had I missed the fact that, as a believer in Christ, saved by grace through faith, every scary thing that I had believed about God and had believed God felt about me had already been abolished? I’d been in one camp (the enemies of God) but now I belonged to a whole different family with a whole new set of rules.
Why hadn’t I been taught the significance of now living in the age of grace instead of under the Law requiring me to live up to an impossible standard? Why hadn’t these already-done principles been drilled into my childhood brain? Why wasn’t I taught that Jesus Himself, out of compassion for mankind, didn’t want me to have to live under that curse anymore?
How had I grown up in the church and somehow missed all the things that God so carefully and lovingly put into place to no longer require my righteousness or my duty or my sacrifice to achieve—all of the things that Jesus did for me, things I deserved to pay, but would never have to? I didn’t fully understand the ramifications of all the “already-done” blessings of that precious gift of Jesus’ death on the cross in my place to make me a friend of God.
A Word for the Church
Why isn’t the church focusing on this? Why aren’t they teaching this? Why are they still holding a rod over their people’s heads threatening that an angry, offended God is standing over them waiting to jump on them and punish them? Why is the church forcing believers to revert to the old system of becoming right with God—the way before the cross—the way Jesus came to abolish? That system is dead! That system is old news—fake news. That system is old, outdated software for your heart and mind! Why isn’t the church teaching the full ramifications of the gospel of Jesus Christ?!?!
Verses to Meditate On
Romans 5:1-2, 6-11, 15b-16, 18, 21 (NLT): “Therefore, since we have been made right in God's sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory… “For we know how dearly God loves us, because He has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with His love. When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. But God showed His great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. And since we have been made right in God's sight by the blood of Christ, He will certainly save us from God's condemnation. "For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of His son, while we were still His enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of His Son. So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God... “For the sin of this one man, Adam, brought death to many. But even greater is God's wonderful grace and His GIFT of forgiveness to many through this other Man, Jesus Christ! And the result of God’s gracious gift is very different from the result of that one man’s sin. For Adam’s sin led to condemnation, but God's free gift leads to our being made right with God, even though we are guilty of many sins... “Yes, Adam’s one sin brings condemnation for everyone, but Christ's one act of righteousness brings a right relationship with God and new life for everyone. Because one person disobeyed God, many became sinners. But because one other Person obeyed God, many will be made righteous. "God’s Law was given so that all people could see how sinful they were. But as people sinned more and more, God's wonderful grace became more abundant. So just as sin ruled over all people and brought them to death, now God's wonderful grace rules instead, giving us a right standing with God and resulting in eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
All those years as a believer, I never fully understood the full provision of the gospel. And because I didn’t understand it, I didn’t have the assurance in full faith to believe it. So tragic!Tweet