Look for the Gospel

From "Collected" (Collecting Everyday Moments and Centering Them on the Gospel of Jesus Christ), written by Joy Bice

Look For The Gospel
written on January 31, 2009

When my husband Steve became the associate pastor at our church in Minnesota, he replaced a pastor whom God used in our lives more than any other up to that point. Why was his influence on us so profound? Because that pastor, Mark Alderton, continually pointed us to the gospel during a time when our eyes were being opened to the glorious truths found there.

One way Mark’s ministry affected me personally was through a seminar he taught on Bible study and interpretation. Toward the end of the seminar, he made a very simple statement that had a huge impact on the way I read my Bible. He said, “When you read the Bible, always look for the gospel.” That’s it, no magic formula, just an admonition to look for the gospel. He had, of course, prior to that statement spent time teaching us how the Bible is God’s story of redemption and that it all points to Christ.

Not long after Mark’s seminar, I was reading the book of Hebrews. What had once been a somewhat confusing book to me came alive with the gospel. By the time I finished reading it, I was in complete awe of Jesus. I will never forget that experience. And as I read the rest of the New Testament that year, that enlightening experience continued.

But I have to admit I was skeptical. After all, I was reading the New Testament, full of direct references to Jesus. Would reading the Old Testament be the same experience? YES! I read slowly, only about a chapter a day, so I’m only midway through my second time reading the Old Testament. But I’m still seeing Christ all over it. If you could peek at the notes in the margin of my journaling bible you’d see scribbles full of thankfulness for the gospel. Here is one example.

In Jeremiah chapter 14, the Israelites were in a very scary place-- scarier than anything a believer will ever face. They were under the wrath of God. Jeremiah writes in verse 10, “Thus says the lord concerning this people: ‘They have loved to wander thus; they have not restrained their feet; therefore the Lord does not accept them; now he will remember their iniquity and punish their sins” (Jer. 14:10).

He goes on to say how he will punish them in verse 12, “But I will consume them by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence.”

I think that God would want to remind us that he is completely righteous and just. His punishment is deserved. It is not harsh or unfair.

I think he would also want to remind us that we deserve this same punishment. The fact that we will not see it is purely by God’s grace and mercy and has nothing to do with our goodness – in fact it is despite our sinfulness.

Because of Jesus alone, we find ourselves in a very different place where God says to us that he will accept us as his children; he will remember our iniquities no more because Jesus took the punishment for our sins. What can we do but praise Him? We have been spared the greatest trial anyone could ever face because of the gift of faith in Jesus.

How thankful I am for the depths of truth found in the gospel and how thankful I am for men and women who faithfully proclaim it. May I be counted in their number by God’s grace, mining the Bible for all the precious revelations of Christ that are to be found there.

Sometimes we are tempted to see the Bible simply as a book of rules, or as a book full of God’s harshness towards those who are disobedient. But the gospel thread in the Bible shows us that the Bible is all about mercy; God’s mercy poured out on those who don’t deserve it. These topics are hard things to grapple with, but they are never apart from God’s loving heart.

How about you? When you read and study your Bible, do you see it as a revelation of Jesus Christ? Are you freshly aware of the awesomeness of God and who you are in light of that? Do these truths fill your heart with praise for God’s favor on you through Jesus Christ? If not, pray for this and keep on seeking him in his word.

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