October 13, 2011

Good News that Brings Real Joy

I just started reading a new book by Timothy Keller called King's Cross. It is a study of the gospel through the book of Mark and I'm really enjoying it so far! In chapter two he talks about the real meaning of the gospel. He starts with the definition: 

"Gospel means: news that brings joy"

Then he goes on to talk about how Christianity is different from all other religions. He states here:

"The essence of other religions is advice; Christianity is essentially news. Other religions say, 'This is what you have to do in order to connect to God forever; this is how you have to live in order to earn your way to God.' But the gospel says, 'This is what has been done in history. This is how Jesus lived and died to earn the way to God for you.' Christianity is completely different. It's joyful news."

He later goes on to say:

"The gospel isn't advice. It's the good news that you don't need to earn your way to God; Jesus had already done it for you. And it's a gift that you receive by sheer grace - through God's thoroughly unmerited favor."

When I really grasp what he is saying here I feel complete relief and freedom in the Lord. How often I put myself back in those chains of trying to be good enough, but what joy to know He is all I need. This really makes me love Him more.

Near the end of the chapter he talks about Jesus calling us to Himself. He explains it like this:

"Come, follow me. Jesus is saying, "Follow me because I'm the King you've been looking for. Follow me because I have authority over everything, yet I have humbled myself for you. Because I died on the cross for you when you didn't have the right beliefs or the right behavior. Because I have brought you news, not advice. follow me because I'm your true love, your true life, the Lord of the Dance."

In the last few years of reading and studying my Bible I've noticed more and more that, throughout the whole Bible God is continually calling us to Himself. Sometimes for the first time and others times, like a Shepard calling his lost sheep, he calls us back. Everyday I mess up and everyday He calls me back, wraps His arms around me and tells me He loves me. He reminds me my worth is not in myself, but in Him. Now that's good new! Here in the book of Mark, Jesus is calling us:

Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. "The time has come," he said. "The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!" Mark 1:14-15

I thought I'd share this song which I can relate to. Being raised in church I knew the gospel story by heart having heard it a million times. But when I met Jesus, He no longer was just a story, but He became everything to me.



  1. Cathy, this sounds like a good book. My youth pastor once described the difference between Christianity and other religions this way: The difference is love. No other religion demonstrates love for humanity. Other gods show by their demands that they are indifferent and above their creation. Jesus humbled Himself and became one of us. He demonstrated His love for His creation by dying for us.

    I love the song "Everthing to Me" by Avalon :-)

  2. That's a great way of putting it! Love is definitely the difference.
    I love Romans 5:8
    "God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us."


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