The Gospel beautifies.


I’m going to start where I left off yesterday.

The Gospel beautifies.
I can’t get that thought out of my head.
Because if that’s true. Really true. Completely true. Then it changes everything.
How can it not? How can it do anything less than turn-your-little-world-upside-down, change everything?
I’ve had a week of thinking. Deeply, personally, my-head-is-now-mush-but-my-heart-is-alive thinking. In the best-most-wonderful-possible way.
The kind of thinking that changes everything.
I’ve been thinking about the way that the words for ‘justice’ and ‘righteousness’ are coupled together throughout the Old Testament in some kind of inseparable unity. About how Isaiah 28 describes justice as the measuring line, and righteousness as the plum line. About how Micah 6 tells us that what is good is to act justly, and to love mercy and to walk humbly with God.
And I’ve been thinking about what these things really mean. What do they look like? How do they change my heart? How do they challenge my behaviour? How do we do justice out of merciful love for His sake?
I’ve been thinking that this isn’t just about eternity, but that it affects our motives, and our behaviour, and every aspect of our living now. That we have this vapour of life to respond to God in love. To live out the first commandment that leads to the second. And I’ve been thinking that I want to make every moment, every choice, every single fleeting thought, really count for His glory.
I’ve been thinking about how we can’t enjoy Jesus and yet render His ethics irrelevant in our lives. How we can’t settle for just focusing on the 3 hours of His death at the complete ignorance to the 33 years of His life. I’ve been thinking that I love the cross, and that it is so incredibly central; but that I long to understand the fullness of the Gospel in a deeper way.
I’ve been thinking about how Jesus is thoroughly Jewish. About how His teaching does not move us away from the justice demands of the Old Testament. He explodes and expounds the Law in captivating-beautiful-stirring application.
Jesus puts justice in the context of loving God.
I’ve been thinking about how much more depth there is to the Sermon on the Mount when you read it in the context of Leviticus 25 and the fullness of its Old Testament roots. That seeking ‘God’s righteousness’ in Matthew 6 v 31-34 is so much more than simply not worrying. It’s seeking God’s Jubilee principles, and His righteousness, and His way of living. And it’s leaving the soil fallow, and taking a huge leap of faith, and knowing with all certainty that His everlasting arms will never, ever fail.
Because the Gospel beautifies.
And living out the Kingdom of God on earth beautifies.
I’ve thinking about what the ‘ministry of reconciliation’ that Paul talks about in 2 Corinthians 5 looks like in my life. About how God has given us the work of reconciliation to continue as we reach out to the broken, and the word of reconciliation to proclaim as we speak truth to a hurting world.
I’ve been thinking about how when we participate with God in this ‘reconciling work’ we start to really embody the theological truth that we can spend so long debating in a classroom.
We make it real.
Because He makes it real.
So, I’ve been thinking. Loving God with my mind. Thinking.
Holy Spirit is stunning.
And that’s where Jesus is taking this. This incredible journey of His justice and His reconciliation and His plan of redemption. It has begun, and we are invited to join, and to take our place in this cosmically-beautifying work that starts now but never really ends in His eternal purposes.
Beautiful King, I’m overwhelmed.

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