We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; 10 always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. – 2 Corinthians 4:8-10 ESV
It is quite popular to present the Gospel as a cure-all for all of life’s problems. “Come to Christ and He will deliver you from drug addiction!” “Surrender to Jesus and He will put your broken marriage back together again!” Invite Christ into your heart and your finances will sky rocket!”
None of these things are bad in themselves. We definitely should pray for our loved ones who are trapped in the snare of chemical dependency. Likewise, we should seek God’s intervention for troubled marriages as well as financial stress.
However, NONE OF THOSE THINGS (or many of the other wish-list items we may think of) are actually part of the Gospel! The Gospel is the work Christ completed to redeem His people from their sin debt, the full and complete payment that satisfies God’s law. The Gospel is a completed work performed by Christ on behalf of His people.
Anyone with the proper help, Christian or otherwise, can pursue a drug and alcohol rehab program! Devout atheists find success with marriage counselling! And, given the right circumstances in business, a wicked man can see his finances go from sour to sweet in the span of an hour! NONE OF THESE THINGS NECESSARILY TESTIFY TO SAVING FAITH IN CHRIST!
While anyone can claim earthly success in these and many other areas, only God’s people testify to the saving knowledge of God’s Sovereign Grace in Christ. We may struggle and be afflicted wth any number of earthly trials and temptations. But we know our deliverance from the wrath of God resides totally in the finished work of Christ. We are poor and wretched sinners. But we trust that Christ’s righteousness is credited to our account in all its fullness!
We may be destitute, divorced, addicted, pressed down, persecuted, accursed and despised by so-called polite society. But our portion isn’t found in the temporal benefits which may or may not come our way in this fallen world. Our strength and portion forever is Christ and His finished work.