Don't Waste It. Part 2: The Gospel Lens

Don't Waste It. Part 2: The Gospel Lens

Last week, this week and next week, Brad, Paul, we are taking some time to talk big-picture. Like really big picture: all of life. Our theme for these weeks: “Don’t Waste It. God’s Glory & Your Life”.  So you know, very specific and easily applicable. 

So, two big concepts, often spoken of in the church. So familiar, in fact, that we need to take time this morning and define both of them.

Defining Glory

Last week, Pastor Paul showed us the dictionary definition of Glory, which is going to help us here:

  • high renown or honor won by notable achievements
  • magnificence; great beauty

And with God, both of these definitions work together. God’s Glory is the magnificence and great beauty, of WHO HE IS, and WHAT HE HAS DONE.  He deserves high renown and honor, not so much for the achievement of being God, but because of the perfection of who He is.  Additionally, the Bible is full of the stories of what God has done in history, and He deserves glory for those things.

To Glorify God, means simply to talk about all of that!  So, we bring Glory to God by saying and doing things that accurately communicate to people, WHO GOD IS and WHAT HE HAS DONE.  Saying untrue things about God, or acting in a way that is contrary to His way, brings no Glory to God. No matter how sincerely you are in doing or saying it. 

As your pastor, it is my desire that we as a church will make God’s glory the central, driving motivation in each and every one of our lives. This is what Jesus was doing, and this is what it means to follow him.

This morning, I wanted to jump off of a point Paul made last week on how we can glorify God. We are going to drill down into what I believe to be the central truth for all of the Christian life, The Gospel.


John 1:18 (ESV)

No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.

2 Corinthians 4:5–6 (ESV)

For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake.  For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

We use this word Gospel so often, it is so familiar to many of us, that we can take it for granted. For others they have never heard it before at all. 

So we need to define what we mean by The Gospel.


There are many ways to summarize the Gospel message. First, it is important to understand that The Gospel means “Good News”.  It is an announcement about a historical fact. Something happened that we need to respond to. The Gospel is not advice, to be taken or left, it is news.

This news, that Christ was Crucified for Sinners, is the most impactful event in history. It is the biggest and best news anyone can bring you. And for every one of you in this room this morning, Christian or not, this news has astounding implications.

One way to summarize The Gospel announcement is “CHRIST CRUCIFIED FOR SINNERS.” There is a lot wrapped up in this, so lets unpack the summary.


This point includes the following 

  • The Messiah – spoken of in the Old Testament by the prophets: God’s chosen one.
  • Son of God (creator!) – 
  • Lord / Master / King – We are to submit to him as ruler over our life, what he says, goes!
  • Sinless – He was perfect
  • Righteous
  • Returning


  • Perfect Sacrifice
  • Atonement
  • Debt, paid.
  • Peace with God

for sinners

  • All of us
  • Unrighteous
  • Godless (rebels!)
  • Deserving wrath
  • Hell-bound

for sinners

  • Substitute
  • Gift
  • Once-for-all
  • “It is finished!”
  • No work left to do.



1 Peter 3:18

“For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous,
that he might bring us to God…”


2 Corinthians 5:21

“For our sake He made him to be sin who knew no sin,  so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

The “might” here is not an issue of chance. It is an issue of faith. It is those who trust Christ, rather than themselves to become righteous that become righteous.

The Great Exchange

And this is known as the great exchange. Christ was our substitute in punishment, his brutal torture. and murder on the cross was the death penalty we deserve from God.  And He is our substitute obey-er. He obey God’s commands while on this earth perfectly, and we don’t, do we?  

But if we trust Christ’s life and death, his obedience is also counted toward us. So God does not simply see a blank slate, and then wait for us to fill in the account with our good works, He counts even Christ’s obedience, His righteousness to us.

Romans 4:5 (ESV)

And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness,

Is this not a great deal?  

And in order to keep God’s Glory as the central driving motivation for our life, we need to see life through The Lens of the Gospel. Because it is through the Gospel that we see God’s Glory (the magnificence of who He is) most clearly.


The Gospel allows me to see God as He really is & myself as I really am

Luke chapter 7 tells about the time that a former prostitute interrupted a meal with a bunch of religious leaders to show her gratitude to Jesus for His grace and mercy toward her.

Luke 7:47

Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.

A right summary of this concept is this: “He who has been forgiven much loves much, but he who has been forgiven little loves little.”  The “for she loved much” means “you can tell she realizes she has been forgiven much, because she loves much”.

Gospel Math

Jesus point here is not that some people have been forgiven a lot and so will love God more, and some have only been forgiven a little, so they are doomed to a small love for God.  Those of us who have been forgiven have all been forgiven an infinite amount!  Any offense against an infinitely worthy God is infinitely bad!    So here we find a little concept I like to call “Gospel math”: Your love for God grows as a function of your understanding of the amount Jesus paid for you on The Cross.

When Jesus paid for your sin on the cross, how much of your sin was in the future?  (All of it!)  When we first come to faith in Christ we see, for the first time an amount of what we have been forgiven. 

But as time goes on, we will continue to sin, and continue to fail our savior, and if we continue to come back to the Gospel, to put the Gospel lens on, we will grow in our understanding of who God is, what He has done for us, and we will grow in our love for God.

The depth of your gratitude to God for His Grace drives the fervency and joy with which you pursue the Christian way of life.  God’s grace is the Fuel of our worship. It is also the pattern for the Christian life.  Because we see the way God treats us, we know how we ought to treat others.

Love as I have loved you…

If Jesus, who was God, willingly gave up His rights to dwell in paradise, command worship, conquer his foes, and receive praise and adoration, in order to serve, teach, and heal a blind, and fallen race of rebels (us), allowing himself to be tortured and murdered in our rightful place, how then should we, who acknowledge him as Lord and Savior, treat each other?  When someone offends me, how am I to react? When someone needs my help, how should I respond?  If Jesus died for his enemies, allowing them to mock him and hang him on a cross, all the while offering them salvation and love, how ought we act toward a belligerent coworker? Someone who cuts us off in traffic? 

If Jesus gave up his personal preferences (the only personal preferences, by the way, which were 100% correct at all times), and went without rest or a meal, to heal stray sheep who would never thank him, how ought we treat our wives and children after a hard day at the office, or how ought we treat our husband after a hard day alone at home with the kids? How about our enemies? What about those who have sinned against us?


Confess vs. Hide, Fake, or Perform

Repent vs. Excuse

  • “I was just being honest”
  • “I’m just saying what I feel”
  • “I was only kidding.”
  • “I misunderstood you.”
  • “You misunderstood me.”
  • “That’s just the way I am.”
  • “I made a mistake”
  • “I didn’t mean it.”
  • “I’m having a bad day”
  • “It’s okay, we’re all sinners”
  • “He did it first!”
  • “They’re doing it too!”

And C.S. Lewis (not surprisingly) explains this better than I ever could, so I’ll just tell you what he said. 

There is all the difference in the world between forgiving and excusing. Forgiveness says “Yes, you have done this thing, but I accept your apology; I will never hold it against you and everything between us two will be exactly as it was before.”But excusing says “I see that you couldn’t help it or didn’t mean it; you weren’t really to blame.” If one was not really to blame then there is nothing to forgive. In that sense forgiveness and excusing are almost opposites…

What leads us into this mistake is the fact that there usually is some amount of excuse, some “extenuating circumstances.” We are so very anxious to point these out to God (and to ourselves) that we are apt to forget the really important thing; that is, the bit left over, the bit which the excuses don’t cover, the bit which is inexcusable but not, thank God, unforgivable. And if we forget this, we shall go away imagining that we have repented and been forgiven when all that has really happened is that we have satisfied ourselves with our own excuses. They may be very bad excuses; we are all too easily satisfied about ourselves.

There are two remedies for this danger. One is to remember that God knows all the real excuses very much better than we do. If there are real “extenuating circumstances” there is no fear that he will overlook them. Often he must know many excuses that we have never thought of, and therefore, humble souls will, after death, have the delightful surprise of discovering that on certain occasions they sinned much less than they had thought. All the real excusing he will do….

The second remedy is really and truly to believe in the forgiveness of sins. A great deal of our anxiety to make excuses comes from not really believing in it, from thinking that God will not take us to himself again unless he is satisfied that some sort of case can be made out in our favor. But that would not be forgiveness at all.

Real forgiveness means looking steadily at the sin, the sin that is left over without any excuse, after all allowances have been made, and seeing it in all its horror, dirt, meanness, and malice, and nevertheless being wholly reconciled to the man who has done it. That, and only that, is forgiveness, and that we can always have from God if we ask for it.

~C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory.

And there is a reason we can always have that forgiveness. God has already done the punishing that we are fearing!

Forgiveness vs. Dismissal

Exodus 34:5–10 (ESV)

“The Lord descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord. The Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty…”

…and God does not simply clear guilt away. He punished His son, in our place, so he could forgive us.  And that is Glorious.  Magnificent. Worthy of honor and praise. 

Let’s pray.