My pastor is currently doing a series of sermons on the book of James, and today we covered the beginning of chapter 2. One verse in particular stuck out to me, and that was James 2:10–“For whoever keeps the entire law, yet fails in one point, is guilty of breaking it all.”
He used a fictional murder case to prove that point. If someone is convicted of murder, does the judge care if the perpetrator helped his mom with the groceries yesterday, served breakfast to the poor last week, or obeyed the speed limit his entire life? Not in the least. No matter how many good things that person has done or how many laws they have kept, they still deserve a jail sentence if they commit murder.
God says it’s the same for his children. If you keep 9 of the 10 Commandments, but break 1, you’re still guilty. And with the dozens (maybe even hundreds) of commands that Jesus gave us, how many of us can say we have kept them all? If you have ever told a lie (even if it was a “white” one), stolen something, disrespected your parents, coveted your neighbors’ things, etc., you are guilty. The Bible says that ALL have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. There are none who are righteous; no, not one. Nobody has kept all of His commandments. We all deserve hell.
I love the two words at the beginning of Romans 5:8–BUT GOD. Yes, we all deserve punishment. “BUT GOD proves his own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (emphasis mine) That’s the gospel. We are all broken, wretched sinners, but God so loved the world that He gave us His son on the cross. We can be right with God because Jesus paid it all.
My pastor closed today’s message with this: “If any of you were to find yourselves somewhere else–across the country or just at another church–I hope you will always remember one thing from [Church Name]. And that’s that the gospel is everything.”
The gospel is EVERYTHING to those who believe it and live it out. Without Jesus, our lives are absolutely worthless. If Jesus did not rise from the dead, then nothing matters at all.
Those of us who have been in the church for a long time can get tired of hearing the gospel message. We can be like, “oh, yeah, I know that. We’re all sinners and Jesus died for us, blah, blah, blah.” But continuously being reminded of, and reminding myself of, the gospel has helped me to grow in my faith. Every time I hear it again–that Jesus paid our debts and that we have been reconciled with the Father–I am reminded of the greatness of God. I am reminded of His great love and grace for me. I am brought to my knees in absolute surrender and awe time and again. Jesus and the gospel is everything to me.
Remember that, Church. The gospel is everything.