"Most of all, the assurance of God’s love will come by going back to the gospel and listening again to the good news about Jesus Christ. If the gospel is..."
An excerpt from “Loving Jesus More" by Phil Ryken
Most of all, the assurance of God’s love will come by going back to the gospel and listening again to the good news about Jesus Christ. If the gospel is what we are having trouble believing, then it may be tempting to ignore it. Instead, we ought to go back to the lowly manger and not stop until we have gone on to the bloody cross, the empty tomb, and the glorious throne of God, where Jesus reigns as the King of all kings.
When we go back to the story of Jesus like this and see him again in his gospel, we know that we are loved. We know this because everything Jesus has ever done for our salvation is a demonstration of his affection. The apostle Paul said it like this, in his letter to Titus: “When the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us” (Titus 3:4–5). As soon as Jesus is introduced into the situation, love is there, and because love is there, we are saved.
In offering this assurance, the apostle Paul knows that there is a darker side to life. The language he uses to de- scribe what life is like without Christ, or before Christ, is dark and depressing. We were “foolish,” he says, “led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another” (Titus 3:3).
This is what life is like without Christ, which explains why times of spiritual doubt can be so discouraging. The more trouble we have seeing Jesus, the more we wander into foolish thinking. The consequences are devastating: sinful patterns of self indulgence, angry conflicts with other people, and bitter thoughts about ourselves as well as others. If these are some of the struggles that we have— habitual sin, broken relationships, self-loathing—then we must not be seeing the love of Jesus the way that God wants us to see it.
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