Monday, May 12, 2008

The Good News

Before we go too far in talking about Spiritual Disciplines (patterns that connect us to God), we need to talk about Christian Spirituality. Here is Donald S. Whitney’s take on it:

Know the Good News of Christian Spirituality: Not only have most people on the planet never heard the good news of Christian spirituality, I am doubtful whether even many churchgoers have heard it clearly presented. And some who have heard it thousands of times are tentative when asked about it.

Christian spirituality begins with one of the most important words in the Bible. That word is gospel, which is the English translation of the New Testament Greek word that literally means "good news." But as essential as the gospel is to Christianity, I have often encountered an embarrassing silence whenever I have asked church groups, "What is the gospel?"

Let me ask you. Suppose you were going to write the gospel in a paragraph or so and send it to a friend in an email or letter. Could you do it? Confidently? Why would it be "good news"?

One of the places where the Bible summarizes the gospel is in 1 Corinthians 15:1-8. The heart of this passage tells us "Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again on the third day according to the Scriptures" (verses 3-4). So the gospel that produces genuine Christian spirituality is that Jesus Christ died, taking the guilt of sinners and the wrath of God upon Himself, and was raised bodily from the dead to show that the Father accepted His death for others and removed their sins. Christ's substitutionary death for sinners is the measure of His love and His resurrection from the dead is the stunning confirmation that all He said and did is true.

This is good news—the best possible news—because it demonstrates, among so many other things, the willingness of the God we had sinned against countless times to draw us to Himself, to engage in an intimate relationship with us. It means that He has done in Christ what we couldn't have done for ourselves, opening the door for us to come in faith and to experience all the indescribable riches of fellowship with God, and thereby become "partakers of the divine nature" (2 Peter 1:4).

Do you know—by experience—this good news?

Used by permission From Simplify Your Spiritual Life (Colorado Springs, Colo.: NavPress, 2003). Copyright © 2002, Donald S. Whitney. All rights reserved.


Gary Hinson said...

I think today's comment was helpful. It is hard to remember that the goal is not more discipline. The spiritual disciplines are only a tool to better "know Christ and the power of His resurrection" (Philippians 3:10).

Robert said...

"Once I was lost, but now am found, was blind but now I see".For those of us with this same type experience we know that the author is not talking about being lost as in the woods, or blind as physically can not see. But rather this is what happens when we hear, and see the Good News for ourselves. We find that there really is a purpose for our lives and we have a path to follow that will give us joy.

Clifton said...

I agree whole heartedly with you Gary. I often get lost in the "shoulds and ought nots" instead of enjoying knowing Christ. Thanks for your reflection of that truth.

Marylou Messy said...

I absolutely know the good news because it is living in my heart. While I am still a human on this earth, I no longer am of the earth because each day is another day for me to draw closer to Him and only Him. I live my life for Him and know that when I make a mistake which leads to sin, God already knows my heart. I know that He is just waiting for me to repent and to ask for forgiveness so He can say "I forgive you". To me that is the best news because once forgiven, we are given more of Him. Now that's Good News!

Anonymous said...

Great post! For me to be close to Jesus and the good news He has to give us~I need to be in the word every day. Even if I feel sad about something and feel that God has forgotten about us~I force myself~with Jesus' strength~to hold my bible and open it to my favorite scriptures. One of Satan's tricks is to convince us that the word of God is useless and no help at all in this world. He is the father of all lies. The good news is all around us~in all His most precious creations and promises. Blessings, Rose