“Thus says the LORD: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the LORD.” (Jeremiah 9:23-24)
We live in a day and age where we find the gospel of God is altered, distorted, and mixed. Sadly, the outcome of such a gospel is a malfunctioned Christianity, which can be called nominal Christianity. While many factors may have conspired together to lead to this sorry state, the root cause is a wrong understanding of the God of the gospel.
Many self-professing Christians believe in a God who is all-loving, always forgiving, and full of compassion, but never judging wrong-doing and never condemning sin. This distorted God is loved by those who would like to accommodate every possible sin in their life. And this has a cancerous impact on true Christianity. It produces a “judge-me-not” pseudo-Christianity.
This mistaken view of God also demeans the preciousness of the gospel, the righteous demands of God which Christ met by living a righteous life for us, and the debt He paid for His people by shedding His blood on the cross. This results in a cheap and easy Christianity where one has to lose nothing while God loses His only Son whom He loved. A Christianity which demands nothing, separates from nothing, which over time produces a fruitless and unholy group of people who claim to be Christians.
This conception of God is far removed from the God of the gospel as revealed in the Bible. He is not to be accommodated according to our human imagination. Instead, He is who He says He is. He reveals Himself generally in His creation and especially in His word—the Bible. So, we Christians ought to know and understand this God of the gospel truly as He has revealed Himself in the Bible. Only when we understand Him will we be able to reflect and represent on earth the One who is in Heaven. Here are a few truths about God we must grasp if we are to have a true picture of God and the gospel.
The God Of The Gospel Is Holy
The Bible reveals that God is holy (Ps. 99:5). He has no sin in Him and this is what separates Him from the rest of His creation. He is unique. There is no place for wickedness and sin in His dwelling. Sinners have to be holy to have fellowship with Him.
The God Of The Gospel Is Righteous and Just
God is righteous (Ps. 116:5). He does what is right. He is angry against sin and sinners every day (Ps. 7:11). He is just and executes justice upon the earth (Deut. 32:4; Isa.30:18). The psalmist says that He established His throne for justice (Ps. 9:7). And He loves justice and righteousness (Ps. 33:5; 37:28). Sinners have to fulfil the demands of God’s righteousness to be right with Him.
The reality is that our lives completely contradict this God. We are undone. He is holy, we are not. And we cannot be holy by our own efforts. He has no sin in Him and His dwelling place. But we are sinners by birth and we are people of unclean lips who live in a fallen world. He is perfectly just and righteous, we are unrighteous in our conduct. And we can never meet God’s righteous demands on our own. In fact, all that we deserve from Him is hell and death (Rom. 6:23). Because He is the God, “…who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.”(Ex. 34:7) And there is no escape for us until we pay our debt in full.
The God Of The Gospel Is Good And Loving
But the God of the gospel is also good and loving (Ps. 34:8; 36:7). In His goodness and love, He sent His only Son to be the ransom for many, who are in truth hell-deserving sinners, so that they might live by faith (Jn. 3:16). Jesus Christ stepped into history to pay the debt of His people in full, to free them from the power of sin and death, and to adopt them into the household of God.
The God Of The Gospel Is Uncompromising
This is the God of the gospel. He is not a God who will compromise His holiness for His love. Neither is He going to negate any of His attributes while showing another. All of His attributes go together in perfect union. The demands of His holiness, righteousness, and just must be met while executing His goodness and love. Otherwise, He would be no God at all. This reality of the God of the gospel is what makes the gospel glorious. This makes grace much more than just amazing. It leaves us awestruck!
We rejoice with exceeding joy knowing what this good and loving God has done on our behalf and for us in Christ our Saviour. Such understanding of God is needed not only for our joy, but also to live through the gospel by departing from evil.
Understanding God and knowing Him is crucial for living our Christian life. It is crucial for every believer. It is crucial to get the gospel right. It is crucial to worship Him in spirit and in truth. Our life depends on it. Sadly, sin has marred how we understand God and many have assumed Him and His attributes. Yet, God has revealed Himself to us in the pages of the Bible that He is holy, just, righteous, good, and loving. May our impaired vision of God never be an excuse to lower the standard of who He is both in our living and in our preaching.
Boboy Nameirakpam Singh is a church planter in Imphal, Manipur