Renewal: It’s Always About Reconciliation—via the Love and Truth of God!

For the purposes of this “Training Table Aid Station” en route on the marathon of “running the good race” (1 Corinthians 9:26; 2 Timothy 4:7), I want to offer a very simple yet very rich truism we can all dig into, be more aware of, and committed to having a positive impact on:

In a world racked by sin at every level, AND renewed in the hope (assurance) of God’s redemptive act on the cross of Christ, when left alone all systems of any kind will decay… BUT the same systems can be revitalized by an intentional reconciliation with, in, by, and though the Love AND the Truth of the God of the Bible.

The big daddy of “bad-news, good-news stories” is that, a) there is no system in heaven and on earth (devoid of The Trinity) that hasn’t been infected by Sin (“big S”, Adam’s error), and sin (“little s”, mankind’s inherited and erroneous behavior), BUT b) there is no system in heaven and on earth that cannot be radically redeemed by God’s plan of redemption in Christ Jesus!

As we’ve talked about repeatedly while sharing a meal at the Training Table, the Gospel of God’s grace and truth combined in the cross is, “I am more sinful than I could ever dare imagine, and yet more loved than I could ever hope for!” (Jack Miller) Can you say that about yourself? Can you then take the next step and say that about any and all “systems” that exist in your world—your home, your neighborhood, your church, your workplace, your recreational places… your hobbies, hope, habits, and habitats of any kind?!

If you can, if I can, if we can, if mankind can… Then that’s the most necessary start about what the rest of life consists of until we die, or Jesus returns to make all things new: All life is about honoring God and blessing others for more and more and more and more and more (ad infinitum…) Gospel Renewal.

A Prayer for More and More and More Gospel Renewal

“But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it—the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus” (Rom. 3:21–26).

“Dear Lord Jesus, how did the hearts of your people get so disconnected from the gospel that there was even a need for the Reformation? How was the centrality of your Word, Christ, grace, faith and your glory forgotten? What circumstances created the necessity for Martin Luther to nail his Ninety-Five Theses to the front door of the Castle Church at Wittenberg on October 31, 1517?

Rhetorical questions, indeed, for I know quite well why we needed the Reformation, and why we’ll always need to be rediscovering and reaffirming the gospel of your sovereign and saving grace. I know this because of my own proud and foolish, unbelieving and idol-attracted heart.

So, Lord Jesus, here’s what I humbly and gladly affirm to be true, as this day begins. Salvation is entirely of the Lord, from beginning to end. The gospel “outed” me—revealing the depth of my need and the degree of my brokenness. I’m a whole lot worse off than I could ever imagine, and certainly a whole lot more in need of a Savior than I easily acknowledge. But as great as my need is, your provision is exponentially beyond all measure.

Jesus, you didn’t come into this world to be my moral model to follow, co-pilot to trust or life coach to obey; you didn’t come to give me a second chance, but to be the second Adam. You lived a life of perfect obedience for me—fulfilling all the un-doable demands and exquisite beauty of God’s law for me. I praise you for doing this perfectly, Lord Jesus.

You didn’t come to give me an example of sacrificial love to emulate. Lord Jesus, you came to be the sacrifice of love for my sin. You took my place upon the cross—receiving the punishment I deserve for all the ways I fall short of God’s glory—breaking, ignoring, and going way beyond his law.

You became sin for me that in you I might become the righteousness of God. Hallelujah, you have exhausted God’s just and holy wrath against me and my sin—lest I despair of my shame and die in my guilt. Thank you for doing this perfectly, Lord Jesus, once and for all. Because of you I am free, I am free, I am eternally free!

Once again I affirm that my hope is built on nothing less, nothing more, and nothing other than your blood and your righteousness. On you, Lord Jesus, the solid and saving Rock, I stand. All other ground is sinking sand. Keep bringing me back to the gospel, Jesus; keep bringing me back to the gospel plus nothing as my everything. So very Amen I pray, in your most holy and gracious name.” (Scotty Smith)

Amen. And Amen.


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