Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Gospel Is the Good News: A Reflection on a Tough Month

When I discuss "the Gospel" I always go back to my parsing tendency.

The "gospel" is the "good news".

It is NOT the "beat people over the head like a hellfire and damnation preacher" news. (There are those who need that type of preaching, and I have delivered that type of sermon at least once, but it is not best for everyone.)

It is the "Exercise faith; Repent continually; Be baptized; Receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost; repeat ad infinitum as you endure to the end; praise Heavenly Father and Jesus that you will be redeemed despite your inability to live to a standard of perfection that otherwise would damn all to an everlasting separation from God" news.

It is the "Do all you can do, and I will make up the difference" news.

In saying this, I am not in the mercy-only-glorying, cop-out-claiming, confess-alone-and-be-saved, all-is-well-in-Zion camp. I just choose to focus on the fact that I can muddle my way through life doing the best I know how to do, struggling to change my imperfect self, without overwhelming guilt and shame - because someone bought me and paid for me and is willing to take me home.

That means a lot even in the easy months, but it means much, much more in the difficult months - when I need "good news" in a more explicit way.  


Michelle said...

To me it also means "I know life is hard and sometimes all you feel like you can do is not quit, and that counts, too" good news.

I'm sorry you and Michelle have had such a tough month. You've been in my thoughts and prayers.

Matthew said...

This will probably use up my comment quota for the page, but I'm going to go for it anyway. :D

I read the words to this hymn today and it struck me to my core, and I thought I would share it, Ray. God bless.

How Firm a Foundation

How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord,
Is laid for your faith in His excellent Word!
What more can He say than to you He hath said,
You, who unto Jesus for refuge have fled?

In every condition, in sickness, in health;
In poverty’s vale, or abounding in wealth;
At home and abroad, on the land, on the sea,
As thy days may demand, shall thy strength ever be.

Fear not, I am with thee, O be not dismayed,
For I am thy God and will still give thee aid;
I’ll strengthen and help thee, and cause thee to stand
Upheld by My righteous, omnipotent hand.

When through the deep waters I call thee to go,
The rivers of woe shall not thee overflow;
For I will be with thee, thy troubles to bless,
And sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.

When through fiery trials thy pathways shall lie,
My grace, all sufficient, shall be thy supply;
The flame shall not hurt thee; I only design
Thy dross to consume, and thy gold to refine.

Even down to old age all My people shall prove
My sovereign, eternal, unchangeable love;
And when hoary hairs shall their temples adorn,
Like lambs they shall still in My bosom be borne.

The soul that on Jesus has leaned for repose,
I will not, I will not desert to its foes;
That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
I’ll never, no never, no never forsake.

Papa D said...

Thank you, michelle and Matthew. I appreciate it.

Mama D said...

I echo the thanks, Michelle and Matthew.