The Gospel Changes Everything

Lately I’ve been developing a personal life mission statement.  One of the ways I’ve been working towards this goal is by reflecting on certain verses in the Bible that sum up my entire life.  One passage that immediately came to mind as I set out to find such verses was Matthew 3:16-17.

“And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; and behold, a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.'”

You may be thinking a couple of different things.  Maybe you’re thinking that I’m breaking a basic rule of Bible interpretation: discover what the verse is actually saying.  Don’t read into a verse.  Don’t apply an out of context verse to yourself when it’s clearly simply stating a historical fact.  Or maybe you’re thinking that my thought that this may be one of the best single passages to summarize my entire life reveals deep arrogance.

If you’re thinking either of those things, I think you’re wrong.  First of all, in light of God’s entire redemptive story, I would argue that we can rightly apply this verse to those who put their faith in Jesus.  In the Bible we often find the language: “in Christ” (John 14:20, Romans 6:11, Romans 8:1, 2 Corinthians 5:17).  If your faith is in Jesus, you are united to Christ, and you are are partaker in the benefits of His righteous life.

Second, simply from personal experience, these two verses have made a radical impact in my life as I’ve applied gospel truths to my heart.  You see, in light of God’s entire redemptive story, these verses teach three gigantic truths:

  • Because my faith is in Jesus, I’m a son of God.
  • God is pleased with me, not based on my own righteousness, but based on the righteousness of Jesus.  I don’t have to earn God’s favor.  His favor has been earned for me by Jesus.
  • Based on these two truths, God can look at me and rightly say, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”

These truths change everything.  There’s no more working to earn.  Instead, in the gospel we find rest.  We can rest as God’s sons and daughters with whom He is well pleased.  We can rest under His smile that has been earned for us by Jesus.

Therefore, these truths really do sum up my entire life.  Through Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit, I’m a son of God.  And that truth changes everything.