No matter how big someone is or how small, their sin (both revealed and cloaked) cannot invalidate the Gospel message. The Gospel is still the Gospel even in situations when something shocking and even mind boggling is publicly revealed in someone’s life. The Gospel is no less true now in the midst of ruthless exposure, in the waterfall of horizontal consequences, in the darkness of shame and guilt than it was the 2.2 seconds right before everything was found out.
I’m not just talking about big names here; I’m talking about you and me, too. While our trash isn’t strewn about newspaper and social media headlines (and most of us are pretty glad about that), our sin is still sin and even in the midst of it being exposed (someone clearly witnessed you verbally rip apart your kid, you were caught gossiping about a friend, your lack of work ethic finally noticed by your boss) the gospel isn’t (ever) invalidated. Our sin cannot remove one iota of truthfulness about God’s never-ending, never-ceasing, one-way love for us the sinners.
The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. 1 Timothy 1:15
The Gospel is STILL the Gospel. Jesus still came to save sinners–those who know they are sinners (exposed) and those who don’t (waiting to be exposed). God still loves the world to a great degree–He loves you, and He loves him and her, He loves me–that John 3:16 is as much a present day truth as it was way back when. He doesn’t love us because we’re now keeping the law, He doesn’t even love you more when you do or because you are; He’s always just loved you fully and completely. In fact, it’s that one-way complete love that’s got any momentum to change (radically) your stone heart, my stone heart, his and her stone hearts. The law cannot do this. Ever.
Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully, understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine, in accordance with the gospel of the glory of the blessed God with which I have been entrusted. 1 Timothy 1:8-11
Right before St. Paul pens the words quoted above in 1 Timothy 1:15, he writes the previous portion of scripture about the law. The law, according to Paul is for our disobedient flesh (the “unjust”). The “just” part of you, the part of you that is determined by faith in Christ, and thus justified and thus made the righteousness of God has no dealing with the law. In our united to Christ state (by faith in Him which is a gift from God Himself and no work of your own) we do not now look to the law as a good word for our soul, as a word of remedy, or as a word of help. The law will always be a word for the flesh, of death-dealing exposure.
The law cannot prevent us from partaking in bad plans–we are quite capable of ignoring and down right overruling the law when we want to and desire to. The law cannot prevent us from coveting for it’s jurisdiction is not the heart. The law cannot cause us to be good, righteous, and holy–even though it so desperately desires to make us such; it’s impotent to do so. The law’s word which exposes sin cannot prevent it but sentence it and the doer…to death.
So, to now, in light of the exposure of our sin (however dire it may be in the public realm), turn and say: had so and so (you, me, him and her) had more law in their life they wouldn’t have done “x” is a misnomer and exposes a grave misunderstanding of the law. If the law can prevent sin (deep, deep down) then I’m lead to ask, why would I ever need the Gospel?
The law can only expose the covetous and selfishness, the sickness and rottenness, the prideful of me and disdainful of you parts of my flesh. And, get this, the law works for, serves the Gospel, so that exposure is exposure into the light and that light is the light that the darkness could not, cannot, will not ever over come. That light is the light of the word that is the Gospel that is Jesus himself (John 1). Into your exposure enters this God, into your dirt and crap and unjustness and fleshiness walks this good, good, God. And He’s unafraid to touch you, to grab you in his strong arms and carry you into real life. Repeatedly. It’s not a one time thing. We are repeatedly exposed and repeatedly loved–minute to minute, hour to hour, day to day, week to week, month to month, and year to year. His mercies are new every morning…every morning dawn that follows the dusk of our sin.
The law will always expose where we are errant and bring it and us, the doers, to death; the Gospel will always resuscitate us, the hearers, from death and replace what was dead with what is alive, what was stone with what is flesh, what was concealed with what is unconcealed, what was rejection with what is acceptance, what was condemnation with what is conviction, what was no with what is yes.
Does the proclamation of the Gospel (the word of Christ, the distinction of the law from the Gospel) fail in light of our exposures (big and small, public and private)? Does our exposure render the Gospel any less true or effective as a word that creates new life upon being heard? Does our exposure make it now necessary to add law to the Gospel, to preach more law and cut back on the message of freedom and love? No.
As far as I can tell–and I’ve looked and looked–the answer will always be no. The Gospel is still the Gospel even when broken human beings royally screw up.
Originally posted here: http://laurenrelarkin.com/2015/06/23/the-gospel-is-still-the-gospel/