The steadfast love of God chiefly displayed in Christ’s death and resurrection on our behalf is the aroma of life to life and death to death. The pronouncement of innocence despite undeniable guilt because of Christ’s atoning work is news so good it’s almost unfathomable. There are certain aspects of that Gospel message that civilized people simply cannot entertain.
The Folly of Simplicity
What must one do to be saved? Simply trust in Christ’s broken body and spilled blood? Merely put faith in the finished work of Christ? Can it really be that simple? Humanity has an aversion to the simplicity of sola fide. The thought that mere faith in someone outside ourselves would bring salvation seems like folly because we’re enamored with processes and procedures that produce results. Scripture makes it plain and simple.
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
The Scandal of Grace
Merit is our societal and personal inclination. The notion that we are forgiven and made right with a righteous God totally apart from our effort is alien to us. Even further than being foreign, we find it offensive because in the deepest part of our being we want to believe that we’re inherently good or at least trying our best to some avail. The very best we could hope to offer falls miserably short, but thankfully God’s grace reaches into the depths of our depravity. However, like Jonah, we don’t like that God is so gracious that he’d forgive our enemies as well.
God’s Sovereign Work
Apart from God’s efficacious call, who would seek to be in his presence? It’s true that one might seek to be a better person: more moral, disciplined, or loving. However, standing utterly exposed before a holy God is not the endeavor of an unregenerate person. God’s sovereign work is required for belief, and the Gospel is a stumbling block until that work is done.
The Gospel is news so good it’s unbelievable, except by faith. We are born again by faith alone, through grace alone, and to the glory of God alone. There is only one thing left to do with such unbelievably good news.