Two Reasons (for starters…)
The Most High God, the Goodly-wise, the Maker of Heaven and Earth loved us before the earth was made. For all eternity He lived in extravagant Joy with His Son, bound together in the love of His Spirit. He needed nothing – not even us. But He wanted us. He wanted a bride for His Son – a bride shaped in His image, glorious in beauty, and birthed through His irrepressible grace. He wanted to be known for His grace more than anything else, so there was an Incarnation and a Substitution and a Sacrifice and a Resurrection and an Ascension and a breathtaking Celebration; and now all who are known by Him (and therefore love His Son) are His own children and heirs and treasured saints – blameless and faultless before His face. We are priest-kings in His expanding Kingdom and no eye has ever seen or ear has ever heard or dreamer has ever imagined what He has prepared for us – from this moment forward. Without delay.
Because all this (and even more) is the Gospel.
Yet, I have noticed that many of us (even as Christians) doubt that God would ever take notice of us, and then (at the thought that He might) we duck and run, with knots of guilty anxiety wrenching our gut, certain that His observing face must be twisted in a displeased scowl. Most seem sure that God experiences a roller-coaster ride of emotions regarding us – dictated by this morning’s state of behavior, spiritual focus, or attitude. We seem to assume that God saves by grace alone and then enjoys us according to a fluxuating, gold star, logarithm-graphed, merit badge system…alone. I knew I should have paid better attention to cosines and tangents in high school and if only I could remember that one other spiritual discipline we were taught last year.
When I roll out of bed in the morning, I have no accompanying – Revelation 4 & 5 – vision of Christ sitting, unruffled and unrivaled on His throne, with fierce, god-like angels on their faces and countless voices from every nation thundering songs of our glorious, invincible Savior-King.
This would be super cool – and much appreciated.
Notably (on the other hand) on the short walk between my bed and the shower – with a night-stiffened spine and a pillow crease still imprinted on my forehead – I am capable of vivid visions of the chaos in the church (Revelation 2 & 3) and the chaos in the world (Revelation 6-18).
And yet I know that Jesus Christ has ascended in glory to His throne, exalted by His eternal Father to reign over all powers, principalities, people, nations, and creation. He rules everything and everyone right now (not someday), and the Kingdom we cannot see is more real and robust and rich and riotously splendid than anything we ever see on this side of the veil. Fear not, He’s fully in charge here too, but the shadows are still heavy on the land, even as the light advances upon the defeated darkness.
The message of Luke-Acts, Ephesians, Revelation, etc.: Christ has utterly, crushingly, and irreversibly Won…and we are His!
And this changes everything.