Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. 2 Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that her warfare is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned, that she has received from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins. -Isaiah 40:1,2 (ESV)
As I write these thoughts, it is Sunday evening. Did your pastor speak Gospel words of comfort to you today? Did he remind you that Christ’s perfect work has forever washed you(the elect alone) clean, sanctified you holy, justified you completely, and will one day carry you all the way to glory? Did he boldly declare Christ’s absolute promise to never let you perish? Will you close your eyes tonight having been refreshed and strengthened by the promise of Christ that He shall lose none of His own?
Sadly, I know for many of you, this simply isn’t the case. Instead, your pastor offered up to you a spiritual self-improvement plan, “something” that you need to do in order to have or get or make [fill in your blank here]. For too many of my dear friends, this morning’s sermon at [your church group name here] was nothing but another trip to the works-righteousness wood shed! You spent the morning being beaten down, robbed of assurance, and weighed down with the very Law from which Christ came to set us free! Do THIS more! Do THIS less! Do…… Work…….Rededicate…..Catch the Fire……. Surrender All! Rinse. Wash. Repeat!
The Gospel is comfort, a precious balm for the hearts and minds of God’s people. The Gospel is the truth about what Christ accomplished for His people through His death, burial, and resurrection. It is the story of how Christ successfully redeemed His people. The Gospel is peace, because the battle is won! The Gospel is assurance, because Christ declared, “it is finished!”
The Gospel question has never been, “What can I do for the Lord?” The Gospel question has always and shall forever be “What has Christ accomplished for His people?”
Were you comforted in this Gospel truth today? Did your pastor boast in Christ alone? Did your minister “speak tenderly to Jerusalem” or did he saddle you with yet another list of Works-righteousness “TO-DO’s?”
Give these questions some thought.
Jason K. Boothe serves as Pastor of Horizons Baptist Church of Piketon, Ohio. For more information about the ministries of the church, please visit http://www.HorizonsBaptist.org.