The second part of this series involves the Puritan understanding of the gospel of Jesus Christ. In J.I. Packer’s chapter, The Puritan View of Preaching the Gospel, he masterfully paints a picture of the entire gospel: the issue of sin (its pollution and bondage), the goal of grace (the glory and praise of God), the sufficiency of Jesus Christ (the perfectly adequate, living Redeemer), and the condescension of Christ (considering how great was his humility in the immensity of the glory he left behind to come to us). Thinking on these things has been a sweet refreshment to me of late. Surely, the entire gospel should be meditated on day and night throughout all of life. We don’t understand it like we should, primarily, because we don’t think about it with the depth which we were intended to.
We must strive and work to understand:
1. The depth of our sin – Our sin nature is total enmity and utter hatred toward God. It is a most disgusting and permanent pollution filling our souls, of which we have no power to clean in ourselves
2. The glory of Christ – He was willing to leave behind infinite glory to be among us and suffer for us. He demonstrates this and a billion other most excellent qualities for all eternity (The Bible only scratches the surface and leaves most of Christ’s glory an unattainable mystery in this life). Jesus Christ is infinitely greater then everything we have seen, heard, tasted, or touched. Every capacity we have to experience beauty and value, finds its utter intoxication in Jesus Christ.
3. The priority of repentance – The immensely important priority of turning away from what God most loathes in us. Seeing the fight against sin as common to our lives as eating, drinking and breathing. We must learn how to kill that which wars against our soul’s eternal hope in heaven, being willing to be violent against things that pull us away from continuous adoration and worship of God.
4. The promise of glorification – One day, God will bring those He has foreknown, predestined, called, and justified to glorification in Christ Jesus. We must long to be free from sin because then we will be able to most enjoy and glorify God. We must see the direct Biblical correlation between the choices we make now and the glory we will enjoy then. I am convinced the treasure of heaven will find its value in its ability to impress the glory of God on each of our heavenly senses, however many there may be.
Considering these things has opened so many lines of consideration and contemplation. The most practical message in the world, is the ramifications of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The gospel radically changes every single aspect of our lives. It calls the thoughts, feelings and actions of Christ into everything we do. Surely these are heavy thoughts and those of us who do not regularly wrestle with such questions are infinitely parochial.