The Gospel is the means by which I breathe. The means by which I am married. The means by which I write.
Sound dramatic? Maybe. False? Absolutely not.
Let me clarify.
My entire being longs for my own satisfaction. Every time I see something or someone I know will bring me glory through pleasure, popularity, or the gaining of possessions, I am inclined to run toward it no matter who or what I have to mow down to get it.
My own nature is the means by which I sin.
It is the reason I have so struggled with gossip. It is the reason I have lost friends. It is the reason I fail over and over in my marriage.
It is the reason that I often choose watching Netflix over intentionally loving my husband. It is the reason I choose reading articles over reading God’s word. It is the reason I roll my eyes at what I disagree with rather than dropping to my knees in intercession.
However, because of the Gospel in its simplest form, we who are believers have been given the power to overcome all these things and breathe, write, marry, and anything else we want to His glory.
This month, the Lord has been revealing to me the immensity of my sin. He has also been revealing to me that He has given me a way to escape breathing by and for my own comfort and turning over all I am for the sake of the Gospel. He has revealed to me that I have been clinging tightly to my own chains of sin when they have already been loosed by his sacrifice.
He has been doing this through prayer. He has been doing this through worship. He has been doing this through the book of Colossians.
If you have been following this blog, you know that we just finished studying God’s faithfulness in the book of Ruth. Today we are going to continue our study of His word, but we are going to dig into Colossians. Join me in reading this passage from its first chapter. Then we are going to do what I love doing so much. We are going to get back to the simple Gospel. We are going to be reminded of how and why we can live by the Gospel. We are going to challenge and love each other through it.
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And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy; giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
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The Father qualifies us to share the inheritance of the saints. He set the Israelites apart from all else as His own in Genesis 13, but He dared not stop there. He did not have to allow His blood to cover we who are not of Jewish heritage, but by His grace and mercy alone, we get to dance in the blessing of heritage beyond lineage. We get to sing the song of adoption–the song with lyrics declaring that we were chosen though we did not deserve it.
The Father delivers us from the domain of darkness, and this is not the first time he had done so. Exodus 6:6 declares the promise God made to bring the Israelites out from Egypt, the land that enslaved them. The land where their bodies were worked to death from birth until their fragile skin and bones could no longer take the weight of the agony.
He defied every odd. He miraculously delivered them.
Then in Isaiah, He proclaims that he wasn’t even close to finished. That He would buy his people out of sin slavery with something far more precious than silver or gold. Our redemption would be perfect. We would be forever removed from the weight of our pride–the pride I was talking about when you first started reading this. Our eyes are opened. Our being is made new.
The Father transfers us into the kingdom of his beloved Son. Oh, this word beloved. It is the name by which I give this site, the name in which I address you, and the name in which the Father addresses Jesus. It is the name by which my husband describes me, the name I might one day use to describe my children, and the name Jesus cherishes us by. We the church are adored by Him, made perfect through him, and treasured that we might enter His kingdom.
Then, my beloved brothers and sisters, after we have been qualified, delivered, and transferred according to His glorious might, can we be strengthened with his power.
We can run our race with endurance and patience. We can do it all with deep joy.
Endurance with joy? But endurance means bearing hardship?
Patience with joy? But patience means a willingness to endure?
You see, this is why I say and I will say again and again that the Gospel gives me–and you if you are a believer–the strength to breathe. My breath is tainted. It is sinful and blameworthy and disgraceful.
Yet because of His blood, His breath fills my lungs. My endurance becomes patience. My transgressions are overwhelmed by His grace. My afflictions are covered by His blood. How simple and yet how profound is His greatness.
How simple that I might only accept His sacrifice to attain it.
How profound that it might become the very thing by which I live my life upon.
I was asked recently how Austin and I have such a good marriage. Well, first of all, we have a sinful marriage because we are both sinful people. Second, we do not have a good marriage by any stretch of our own strength. If I were living the way in which I was inclined, every way in which I treat him would be with the intention of making myself happy.
So I will say it again. The Gospel is the means by which I breathe. It is the means by which I marry. It is the means by which I make my bed. It is the means by which I write.
Does that mean my breath, marriage, writing, and bedspread are perfect? Heck no. They are so tainted.
But if God has done all this–all of what He said in His word–let us give these things to Him not one time for ten minutes in our morning quiet time, but daily, hourly, even minute by minute.
And so I will point out the final and most beautiful implication of this simple and profound Gospel.
Because the Gospel is the means by which we breathe, because it has qualified, delivered, and transferred us, because we have been made to be patient endurers, we can be capable of walking in a way worthy of the Lord. It is right here in His word!
It says that we can bear fruit in every good work, meaning that the good deeds we do would not only be for the good of our own name or even for the good of people here on earth but that they would bear eternal fruits of the Gospel. It says that we will increase our knowledge of God, meaning that we will gain a supernatural comprehension of what we do not yet understand in His word.
So what does this mean?
It means stop growing complacent in what you are being called to do by the power of the Gospel.
Are you called to read a book a day rather than a chapter? Do it.
Are you called to share the Gospel in an uncomfortable situation? Do it.
Are you called to end a relationship because it is unpleasing to the Lord? Do it.
Are you called to step up in your marriage?
To stop looking upon others with a judgmental eye?
To spend hours a day in prayer?
Do it and do it and do it and do more.
We have been given this power. We are capable because His might is infinite.
This Gospel is simple. He died painfully, we live abundantly. We don’t deserve it, but how dare we not take part in it. Let’s live in and for Him in every facet of every nook and cranny of our lives.