Gospel Pleasure & Pain

If the Gospel is supposed be Good News, why is it bringing me so much pain and suffering?

I was reminded of this legitimate question after preaching the Gospel of our Adoption for about the 1000th time at my congregation this past weekend. I was approached by an exuberant 92 year old member who was excited, AGAIN, by the proclamation that He’s always been included in Jesus’ relationship with His Father. By exuberant, I mean that he still jumps and kicks his feet up in the air a little when he is enthusiastic about things he is experiencing, especially his adoption! No joke! I wanna grow up to be just like him! Ha-Ha!

As he approached, I hugged him as usual and asked him a question: “Are you still hearing Jesus’ Good News, and understanding and embracing it?!” He gave me an enthusiastic “Yes!” And then he gave me a more sobering response…

“…and I didn’t realize how dumb and stupid I was until I started hearing it!”

Immediately I, and the other members standing next to me, went into roaring laughter at his honesty! I could sense that not only were we proud to see a man in His nineties still experiencing the pleasure and pain of repentance – the pleasure and pain that comes along with changing his mind and embracing the Good News of our Adoption – but we were also laughing at how much he was telling the truth about each of our lives, too!

Perhaps you are experiencing this pleasure and pain too!

Let’s face it. The Good News of our Adoption is certainly a pleasurable thing, I mean, who doesn’t want to experience pleasure and assurance in some way? (Ps. 16.11) And who doesn’t want to be accepted and included by others? (Rom. 5.10-11) But the Gospel also brings pain doesn’t it? I mean, who wants to be exposed as a liar? As one who thought they could change the character of the Father with their sinful faith, only to find out that God doesn’t change at all and it is His Son’s faith in us shared wholly by grace that is important? (Gal. 2.20) Who wants to think they have “repented” and shifted the Father’s “negative attitude” toward them, only to find out that repentance and a calling to embrace the Gospel is the gift of God without repentance, and the Father has always thought positively about them? (Rom. 11.29) OUCH! And on and on the pain goes!

These kinds of “ouches” become twice as strong when we realize that not only have WE believed and experienced untruth about the Father and ourselves, we have shared these untruths STRONGLY with others. In a judgmental, self-righteous, and criticizing way not worthy of the Gospel! Double OUCH!

But just as we tend to think of the pleasure as a gift, so is the pain! Imagine the pathetic existence of not being able to able to feel pain – anywhere, anyhow! No built in warning system to keep you from further injury! No tingle when your body was burning! No sharp pain when your ankle was being twisted! No protection! No feeling! No pain! Yikes!

Thankfully, the Gospel of our Adoption brings both! The opportunity to participate in the Gospel Pleasure that Jesus has with His Father, and shares with us as a human being. (Matt. 3:17) And, the opportunity to share in Jesus’ Gospel Pain so we might be protected from further sin injury and experience EVEN MORE of His Gospel Pleasure FOREVERMORE! (Heb. 12.3-12)

~ by Timothy Brassell

1 comment so far

  1. Pastor Jonathan on

    This reminds me of Simeon and Anna in the temple when they see the baby Jesus for the first time. Simeon says “Lord you now dismiss your servant in peace for my eyes have seen your salvation.” We are never too old! Our life experience tells us that the older we get the more stuck in our ways we are but the history of the gospel is full of “old” people who led the way in repenting and recognizing that Jesus himself, the union of the Trinity and Humanity, is salvation. In him we see the Lord’s salvation of his creation.

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