Standing on New Shores

A Year in the Gospel #1 “Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.” 1 Corinthians 15:1-2

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, ‘The righteous shall live by faith.’” Romans 1:16-17

For me, 2013 was a year which brought me to rediscover the riches of the Gospel of grace. Perhaps it is better to say that the Gospel found me—again. I feel like I’ve been thrown up on the shore of the New World with the sun blazing brilliantly, almost blinding me but warming me and filling my heart with a sudden, unexpected happiness. After months at sea, tossing topsy-turvy in a tiny wooden wave-beaten boat, providence has brought me safely to dry land.

It appears, on the one hand, as a New World. There it is before me, shores stretching to the north and to the south as far as one can navigate, and leafy, wooded forest filling out the land to the farthest edges of the horizon where the sun is moving to set. God’s Gospel appears to us like that. Both beckoning and bewildering and always overwhelming. Here are new lands to explore, adventures of faith to be had, abundance of mercies to be found, and treasures to uncover.

On the other hand, it has always been there. I knew it was here, or over there, I believed in it and I loved the idea of it but it was sort of scary. As happy as I now stand in the sun of this new world, so long as I was in my rigid little craft I felt like I had everything under control, comfortable in my well-known floating isolation where everything and everyone was already known and made sense. The New World that I long knew was there was too overwhelming with opportunity, too vast in freedom, too immense of promise. But once life’s storms by God’s grace crashed my little ship on the rocks, my only hope was to venture out onto the many mercies offered ashore.

The extended metaphor isn’t perfect but it describes how I feel affected. And this is why I plan to start a personal writing project on the Gospel. I will spend a year in the Gospel. I hope to spend my whole life in the Gospel but one must begin somewhere. Every week I’m going to blog about the Gospel, what it is, what it means, what it changes, how it transforms, and wherever else it leads.

I need this Gospel. I love this Gospel. This is the Gospel I received. This is the Gospel in which I stand. And this year, I’m going to hold fast—to this Gospel.

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