As we've been studying various topics in our Gospel Life class Sunday mornings, we are going to post notes from the class here on the blog over the next few months. Below are the notes from the first class, "The Gospel and Walking with God." The Goal of the Gospel is to allow sinners to walk in fellowship with the holy God for his Glory. The Gospel is the doorway and the path on which we walk with God. The Gospel is the context in which we walk with God. 1) The Gospel Reconciles us to God To walk with God in the garden was the privilege of Adam and Eve, the chief goal of their existence was to know and glorify and enjoy God. The Westminster Catechism declares that the chief end of Man is to glorify God and enjoy him forever. Not simply the removal of hell or the gift of heaven, but the restoration of a holy and loving fellowship with God. “The gospel of Jesus and his many precious blessings are not ultimately what makes the good news good, but means of seeing and savoring the Savior himself. Forgiveness is good because it opens the way to enjoying God himself. Justification is good because it wins access to the presence and pleasure of God himself. Eternal life is good because it becomes the everlasting enjoyment of Jesus. All God’s good gifts are loving to the degree that they lead us to God himself. This is the love of God: doing everything necessary, most painfully in the death of his Son, to enthrall us with what is most deeply and durably satisfying—namely, himself.” John Piper 2 Corinthians 5:19 – “…in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them.” John 17:20-23 – “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.” 1 Peter 3:18 – “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God.” 1 John 1:3 – “…that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.” Revelation 22:3-4 – “No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.” 2) The Gospel Defines our Relationship with God Identity—In Christ is our new identity in the gospel. God relates to us as if we were his beloved Son. We are called sons and daughters, we are given the inheritance of permanent fellowship with Him, our life is under his providential care, he generously gives the gift of His Spirit. This means that affection, gratefulness, obedience, and love don’t flow out of us as a means of being reconciled to God, but as the overflow of our identity in Christ, given to us as a gift. Even when we sin, we sin as reconciled sinners. Of course our sin may cause us to feel distant from God, or perhaps even to feel the pain of God’s conviction or discipline in our hearts or life…but this feeling does not remove us from being reconciled to God, any more than our sin could remove Jesus from heaven. Our place in God’s affections is as secure as the glory of Jesus Christ. We often would rather that our righteousness or our relative godliness define our relationship with God…but the gospel of Jesus Christ is the only foundation stone of the new temple and it is the only basis for our relationship with God. That never changes. --We obey…we are not more loved by God but we are pleasing our Heavenly Father by seeking to be like him. --When we disobey and are convicted, we draw near to God in repentance and he gladly forgives us because he has already forgiven us in Christ. -When we open our Bible, we are enjoying relational time with our Savior and our Father through the gift of His Holy Spirit. What Christ has done must be the atmosphere within which we relate to God. It is the road we are walking on. It is the doorway, but it is also the path. We never outgrow the work of Christ as the definition of our relationship with God. “Reminding ourselves of the gospel is the most important daily habit we can establish.” C.J. Mahaney 3) The Gospel Reveals God to Us “The death of Christ is the wisdom of God by which the love of God saves sinners from the wrath of God, and all the while upholds and demonstrates the righteousness of God.” John Piper 2 Corinthians 4:6 – “The death of Christ is the wisdom of God by which the love of God saves sinners from the wrath of God, and all the while upholds and demonstrates the righteousness of God.” Hebrews 1:1-4 - Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.” If we would understand what God has said about himself, there is no better place to work than the Savior Jesus Christ, and if we would understand the purpose of God becoming man in Christ, there is no more central purpose to his ministry than the work of redemption that he accomplished at the cross and was vindicated in his resurrection. If you want to see the greatest display of the holiness of God—look at the bruising of the son in the place of sinners. If you want to explore the depths of God’s love, look at the lamb offering himself in our place to reconcile us to God. If you want to understand and love the mercy of God, look at Jesus Christ praying forgiveness over his crucifiers. If you want to understand the wisdom of God, look at the perfect plan of God where the death of Christ is the triumph of Christ, where the defeat of Christ is his victory. The Glory of God is his character, his attributes, and his attributes are no where revealed more fully than in the Redemption Accomplished by Jesus Christ, the gospel. The gospel reconciled us to walk with God again, and it is the path on which we walk, but it is also the mountaintop, from which we see God most clearly… The gospel reconciles us to God, defines our relationship with God, and it reveals God to us. It is the doorway, the path, and the mountaintop from which we see God most clearly.