Powerless promises


Embracing the Gospel is more than knowing the truth of what happened.  It’s more than believing the truth of what happened on the Cross.

I’m gonna say something crazy now: I think embracing the Gospel is even more than trusting Jesus Christ to save you.

Embracing the Gospel is treasuring the prize of the Gospel above all things: the love of God in Christ Jesus.treasure

I’m sitting here in this coffee shop reading the same text over and over again, turning it around and around in my head trying to discover the problem.  Why isn’t it fixing things?  Why isn’t it easing my anxiety, calming my fears?

Paul says that we are more than conquerors no matter what comes are way because nothing can separate us from the love of God.

I get it.

God thinks that I’ll be able to stand firm in the face of trials, walk in faithfulness and endure well because stand on the truth that nothing can shake His unwavering affection for me.

God’s love won’t fail.

When my health fails, when your spouse fails, when life is crumbling around your ears, Jesus swoops in to offer help.  And the promise He holds out is – my love won’t fail.  As all these things fail, my love won’t.

But He doesn’t tell us our lives won’t fail.  He doesn’t promise He’ll fix it this side of Heaven.

And sitting here in this coffee shop it occurs to me that all across America today there are men and women wondering how that promise is supposed to help.  There are men and women who believe that promise.  They get it.  God’s love hasn’t failed. Great, but that doesn’t fix things when their kid dies or when they’re lonely or when they are forsaken by friends or spouses.

This promise is only affective if God’s love is everything to us.

You can deeply trust that the love of God won’t fail you, and still feel abandoned in the face of trials because God’s love isn’t EVERYTHING to you.

This promise will not calm you in the storm if God is a part of your life.  It won’t calm you, even if He is the MOST important part of your life.  This promise will only breathe peace and life into you if God IS your life.  All of it.  The whole thing.

To trust in Christ means that you and I have forsaken the world, like the guy in the parable, given up all we have, for the joy of possessing the greatest treasure that exists: God.

And if you are there then the words – Nothing can separate you from the love of God – are like water to your soul.

Right now, this promise doesn’t comfort me as much as I would like.

But, praise God.  Praise Him for the opportunity to realize that there are things I treasure beyond God; that my life is built on Jesus plus something else.  I am thankful to see that despite what I might like to think, His love is not yet all sufficient for me.

And praise God for showing me that so that I can repent.

Praise God for a promise that was made to deliver me even in the moment it reveals my sin.

NOTHING – even my failure to treasure Him as aI long to – can separate me from the love of God in Christ Jesus.

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