“Until the gospel events of Good Friday and Easter and the gospel promises of justification and eternal life lead you to behold and embrace God himself as your highest joy, you have not embraced the gospel of God. You have embraced some of his gifts. You have rejoiced over some of his rewards. You have marveled at some of his miracles. But you have not yet been awakened to why the gifts, the rewards, and the miracles have come. They have come for one great reason: that you might behold forever the glory of God in Christ, and by beholding become the kind of person who delights in God above all things, and by delighting display his supreme beauty and worth with ever-increasing brightness and bliss forever.” (John Piper – God is the Gospel – p38)
Do you get this? Christianity doesn’t make sense until you do. The person who truly gets the gospel is not simply content with mere forgiveness (as if forgiveness can be considered ‘mere’!). Why? Because forgiveness or justification or even eternal life is not the greatest blessing of the gospel. God is.
“For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, the he might bring us to God…” (1Peter 3:18). That is the hope of the whole Bible – the ultimate meaning of the temple – the cross – the gospel – and all of history. That God’s people might be freed from that wretched curse called sin in such a way that they might be freed to enjoy all that God is for us in Christ.
Forgiveness, justification, eternal life and every other gospel promise all point the Christian away from themselves as an end in themselves to something even greater. They all have voices, and they all speak and say, “I’m only a taste. If you think I’m something (the gift), just wait until you get a hold of the Giver. He gave me to you so that I could point you to Him.”
If all I want with the gospel is forgiveness, then I don’t understand the meaning of forgiveness. I want forgiveness because I want God! Christ died to free me from sin that I might be freed to enjoy God. As Piper goes on to say, “God is the gospel. That is, he is what makes the good news good. Nothing less can make the gospel good news. God is the final and highest gift that makes the good news good.”
If you find yourself lacking a passion for the gospel or its core truths leave you ho-hum, perhaps it is because you have forgotten, have failed to meditate seriously upon, or have failed to grasp altogether the great goal of the gospel: To bring you to God himself for your everlasting enjoyment of Him. He is the gospel’s great goal and end point.
“You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Psalm 16:11