“…continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel.” Colossians 1:23

 

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly…” Colossian 3:16

Last month we were reminded that “We are never to move past or move onward from the gospel message but are to assimilate it into our daily lives, recognizing that ongoing transformation requires daily recognition of what God has done for us in the gospel.” As we live in the freedom of the Gospel and develop in our Christian faith the consciousness of our sin and of God’s holiness become increasingly apparent. God is not becoming more holy nor are we becoming more sinful but rather, our awareness of each is growing, thus allowing our love and appreciation for Jesus and the cross to grow and richly manifest itself in our daily lives.

Unfortunately, we have a sin nature and a tendency to “shrink the cross.” We succeed in this disheartening endeavor by elevating our own personal righteousness (thinking of ourselves more highly than we ought) and also by minimizing God’s holiness (thinking of Him as less than His word depicts Him to be). “If we are not resting in Jesus’ righteousness, [the] growing awareness of our sin becomes a crushing weight. We buckle under its load and compensate by pretending we are better than we really are” (The Gospel Centered Life) Instead of utilizing the increased recognition of our sin to amplify and be humbled by God’s unwavering holiness we attempt to exalt ourselves and thereby minimize the cross.

The alternative or often accomplice to “shrinking the cross” by “Pretending” is living with a performance mindset-where we try to earn Christ’s approval. “Growing in our awareness of God’s holiness is challenging. It means coming face to face with God’s righteous commands and the glorious perfections of his character. It means realizing how dramatically we fall short of his standards…if we are not rooted in Gods acceptance of us through Jesus, we compensate by trying to earn God’s approval through our performance…convincing ourselves that if we just try hard enough, we can merit God’s love and approval. (The Gospel Centered Life)

Both pretending and performing devalue the significance and power of the cross in our lives, leading us away from gospel centered lives. As we move forward, let us not put our hope in the false sense of our “goodness” but let us find rest and hope in Jesus our perfect Redeemer who is “our righteousness, holiness and redemption.” (1Corinthians 1:30) Not so that God can make much of us but so that we can be freed to make much of Him! (Paraphrased from The Gospel-Centered life)