For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing;
it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. Eph. 2:8-9
Lord Jesus, I woke up today in Blue Ridge, Georgia, with a small band of dear friends, eager to spend the weekend immersing ourselves in the riches of the Gospel. How appropriate we arrived on October 31.
For on that day in 1517, Martin Luther nailed his Ninety-Five Theses to the front door of the Castle Church at Wittenberg—beckoning the church to back home to the Gospel—to return to every good thing we have in you.
How was it possible for the church to lose the Gospel? That’s a rhetorical question, for we’re always in danger of forgetting the Gospel. We suffer from doxological-dementia. We’re proud-performers and chronic under-believers—by nature allergic to grace.
For the Gospel declares us to be much worse off than we want to admit; and so much more loved than we ever hoped or imagined. We needed a substitute to trust, not a model to follow; the 2nd Adam, not a 2nd chance; a new heart, not a new start. What we could never do, you did perfectly for us. You fulfilled every demand of God’s Law for us.
And we needed you to take our place upon the cross—receiving the judgment we deserve for all the ways we fail to love God with everything we have and are. Jesus, thank you for taking our shame, exhausting our guilt, and freeing us forever.
Today we gladly affirm that our hope is built on nothing less, nothing more, and nothing other than your blood and your righteousness. All other ground is sinking sand; all other hopes are empty nothings; all other attempts at salvation are vain, worthless, and peace-less.
Keep bringing us back to the Gospel of grace, Jesus. Keep bringing us back to the Gospel plus nothing for our salvation. Keep bringing us back to Gospel-sanity. Pour out your Spirit on me and my friends this weekend. So very Amen we pray, in your most holy and gracious name.