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Matt Manry
Good News
“The great mistake made by
people is hoping to discover in
themselves that which is to be
found in Christ alone.” –A.W. Pink
Many people grow up in the
church feeling a burden of having
to perform. They think that
devotion to God looks like
rigorous effort and righteous
improvement.
However,
the
stunning truth that should rock all
Christians to the core is the fact
that they don’t have the ability
within themselves to be fully
devoted to God.
Say what?
Performance freaks, which
applies tomany Christians, love to
convince themselves that they
have the ability to “do it.” They can
be devoted to God if they just try
harder. But the truth is that the
more they try, themore it becomes
about themand the less it becomes
about Jesus Christ. This is really
bad news.
What makes this bad news is
that we are all a lot worse off than
most of us probably have ever
imagined. We can try all we want,
but we will never be fully devoted
toGod until we are inHis presence
spending eternity withHim. Don’t
get confused – Christians must
strive to be devoted toGod during
our lives; however, we must strive
to do so by looking at Jesus Christ
and not by focusing on our own
personal progress.
Where all men fail in being
devoted to God every day, Christ
succeeded in being devoted every
single moment of his life.
Christians are justified by faith in
the substitutionary death and
perfect life of Christ Jesus. Jesus
was completely devoted to his
Father. He followed his will
perfectly. Jesus Christ loved fully
andwas always loyal. There would
be a picture of Jesus next to the
word “devotion” in Webster’s
Dictionary. Hewas, and always will
be, the only man to ever walk on
planet Earth who was completely
devoted to God. That’s very good
news.
Christians cannot get it
backwards. For Christians, life will
radically change we come to a
proper understanding of true
Christian
devotion.
Reading
through I Corinthians 15:1-2
shows that the gospel of Jesus is
something that Christians had
received, (past tense) something
that we stand on, (present tense)
and something by which we are
being saved (future tense). This
verse
revolutionizes
what
Christian progress looks like. The
gospel of Jesus Christ should hit us
like a ton of bricks whenwe realize
that true spiritual growth is
focusing less on ourselves and
more on Christ. This means that
the gospel essentially turns us
outward away from ourselves and
instead upward to Christ, and
outward to others.
The Apostle Paul, after his
conversion, should be considered
one of the most devoted men to
Christ throughout Scripture.
However, it is interesting to notice
that Paul referred to himself over
the course of his Christian life as
the least of the apostles (1
Corinthians 15:9), the very least of
all saints (Ephesians 3:8), and the
foremost sinner (1 Timothy 1:15).
Because Paul kept his eyes solely
focused on Jesus, he was able to
admit his lack of devotion toChrist
and rest upon the saving grace of
Christ Jesus. Paul understood that
devotion to Christ was less about
him becoming better and more
about placing his faith on an
unchanging Savior (Hebrews 13:8).
If we focus on the gospel and
realize that we have already been
transferred into the Kingdom of
God (Colossians 1:13) because of
our faith in Christ Jesus, we are
able to pursue and strive to
become more devoted believers.
This is what the process of
becoming more like Jesus is all
about. As Christians, our identity
is sealed, soweare able to live life in
a manner worthy of the gospel.
When gospel truth intervenes in a
life, difficult circumstances can be
looked at in such a new light.
When Christ’s work becomes
the center of what we focus on
during the day, that horrible jobwe
may complain about all of the time
becomes workwe gratefully do for
God because Christ has blessed us
with it. It means that stay-at-home
moms who despise being cooped
up in the house all day with three
infant kids that are craving for
attention can persevere through
their circumstances and rest in the
arms of a Savior who whispers, “In
you I am well pleased.” It means
that students who are being bullied
and strugglingwith depression can
find immeasurable peace and hope
in knowing that they have nothing
to prove becauseChrist has proven
everything.
This is what keeping Jesus at
the center does. In all of these
cases, we are both freed and
empowered to become more
devoted toGod by focusing on the
glorious good news. With our
identity in Christ sealed, we are
able to overcome life’s hardships
and suffering because He has
overcome! The only true Christian
way to freely pursue devotion to
God is with eyes focused on Jesus.
And
that
is very good news.
Matt Manry is the Director of
Students at Life Bible Church in
Canton, Georgia and a student at
Reformed Theological Seminary.
You can follow his blog at
gospelglory.net or his twitter
@matt_manry.
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