The New Testament says in various ways that the Gospel is Good News. At the same time, the Gospel is horrible news to your flesh!
The Gospel is the end of your flesh. Your flesh, the old man, will get crucified with Christ with its affections and lusts.
This crucifixion, which brings along the mortifying of the deeds of the body by the Spirit, will not go over well with your flesh. Your flesh will lust against the Spirit. There will be a battle in you.
Therefore, while the Bible says the Gospel is Good News, it also says the Gospel is foolishness to the world. That the cross of Christ is an offense. Men love the darkness and hate the light. Christ is the light of the world. Men, in their natural state, hate Christ and His Gospel.
Therefore, you can test your Gospel as to how offensive and horrible it sounds to your flesh. If your flesh is not repulsed by the Gospel, then there’s a chance you don’t understand the Gospel.
Let me put it like this: which of these two Gospels repels your flesh more:
Christ died for your sins. If you say this prayer, your sins will be forgiven and you can carry on living pretty much the same life and then go to heaven and enjoy paradise for eternity.
Christ died for your sins. If you give control of your life to Him, He will save you from sins power, set you free and equip you to do righteousness. Your life will be transformed by His power and you will get persecuted because of it.
Which one appeals to your flesh more?
Human nature loves getting something for nothing. We’d love it if someone else had to reap what we sow. We love the idea of living irresponsibly and then have someone else pay the medical bills for our stupidity.
Pretty much all our politics today is on this foundation: Give us stuff for nothing! Make it so we can keep being stupid and have others pay for it!
Now, there is truth here that the Gospel does indeed give us way more than we deserve. Not denying that at all. Not denying the fact that Christ did indeed bear our sins, sins He didn’t do, for us.
But the idea that this is just given to us and then we keep on sinning and taking advantage of His grace is not where the Bible says we should go with this.
Paul begs his readers to lay down their bodies as living sacrifices precisely because of the mercies of God.
Grace does indeed give us all we need, way more than we could ever come up with on our own. It is truly amazing.
The response to this amazing grace is to let that grace work in you, to not take His grace in vain, but to let Christ work in you through His Spirit to change your life.
If you don’t want your life to be changed, then you don’t think sin is that bad. You don’t really want the Gospel, you just want to be able to live it up in the flesh and go to heaven when you die.
But true believers, those truly desirous of God’s grace, want His grace, not only to set us free from sin in heaven, but to begin to do that now! To have His amazing grace work in us and through us to begin to conform us into the perfect man Jesus Christ.
Your flesh has no desire to be like Christ here. Heaven, sure, why not, who knows what heaven is anyway. But here? Nope.
But Paul says that the grace of God that brings salvation also teaches us to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, so we can live soberly, righteously, and godly in this PRESENT WORLD.
If your life is not becoming more sober, godly, and righteous in this present world, you have yet to receive the life-transforming grace of God.
The test of salvation is not whether you say you believe God is gracious.
The test of salvation is if His grace has begun to transform you.
Don’t want to be transformed? Then you don’t want God’s grace.
Anyone desperately struggling with sin who comes to the end of themselves, is going to grab on to the Grace of God in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They want only to be set free from sin, and the sooner the better!
O wretched man that I am, who will deliver me? Jesus Christ. Grab onto His grace and let it get to work in you.