Recently I was looking at an interview done by NBC News talking with Tracy Morgan after his car accident and was very saddened. Not only was I saddened seeing him go through a tough time, given experiencing a bad car accident myself, but what really got to me was his answer to the reporters question. The reporter asked him, “Emotionally speaking, do you experience depression? How are you getting through that?” He then answered, “I love comedy, I wonder how I’m going to be funny again……remembering my identity, what do I do.” His answer personifies a deep issue that many people are dealing with individually and what we are dealing with right now as a society collectively: We are in sense of desperation and many of us are without hope.
Not only that, we know that these issues are there but we violently strive to stay busy enough or preoccupied enough with things that give us a sense of comfort so that we don’t have to address these issues. We’re always trying to keep up with the latest news, latest tweet, latest Facebook post, latest sporting event or news to not look upon these things but suppress it in hopes that it goes away, but it doesn’t. It’s like knowing you have to take out the garbage, letting it stay in the house for weeks but spraying air freshener to counteract the smell that just won’t go away.
Have you ever just sat back and realized how bad and evil things really are? Have you ever just really thought about Isis and what they’re doing? Not only that but the massive racial tension, constant murders, and political wars going on that we surely can’t ignore. What about the ideological tension? People are filled with greed taking money for themselves, with no view of society as a whole. I could go on and on. We’re living in a time in which the writer of Judges expresses and is true for us today, that “…..everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” (Judges 21: 25) As in the past, this is a day where man still continues to believe in himself and his ability to solve his problems.
What is the answer? What is the bridge that mends the chasm of our hopeless desperation?
Not too long ago I interviewed some young people around my age. I asked them four questions, which were: How did we get here? What’s the meaning of life? What’s wrong with the world? How can what’s wrong be made right? One of the young ladies answered like this. She said, “Didn’t we all just evolve to what we are? Well that’s what I just learned in class today. The meaning of life is to just enjoy it and be as good as you can to everyone. She said she didn’t know what was wrong with the world but obviously something is wrong. Lastly, she said in order for things to be made right we have to be better people and do things differently.”
Walking away from the conversation, I realized something vey startling: This is what our society is teaching and telling us. Our society says that basically you’re a cosmic joke, you’re here by accident and you’re just the end result of random evolutionary processes. What’s the meaning of life? This is all there is, so you might as well live it up to the fullest why you have it. Just consume, enjoy, and satisfy your desires. It’s all about you. You want to recreate the gender norms, sexuality, and morality? Do it. You want to just be generically spiritual or be religious and approach God anyway you want because He accepts everyone just as they are doesn’t He? Go ahead. What’s wrong with this world? Well looking at it, everybody is a good person and you’re either not governed correctly or educated sufficiently. How can the wrong be made right? Easy, just get a little more information and get a little more education. All the while telling us that these are the answers to the hope that we’re looking for, they’re leading us down paths of unfulfilled promises. The chasm just gets wider and wider, the absence of hope gets deeper and deeper with every fleeting moment. But there’s good news……..
Hope has come. It’s not through a situation, or a circumstance, nor through a human relationship, it was through a person and His name is Jesus.
What is the bridge that mends the chasm of our hopeless desperation? It’s the Gospel!
2,000 years ago, the bridge of hope entered the world. When He stepped down from majesty, to take on full humanity, “grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” (John 1:17) He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. (Colossians 1: 15,16) It’s very important to realize when figuring out who you are, it’s starts with Him. You are the crowning glory of God’s creation. We’re the only part of God’s creation deemed created in His image. Because we’ve been created in the image of God, in His compassion, rationality, love, and fellowship, we have inherent dignity, value and worth. You’re not just an accident.
Why are you here? He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything. (Colossians 1:17,18) You exist to bring God glory. God’s glory is what drives the universe. It’s why everything exists. As the Westminster Catechism state, “What is the chief end of man? To bring glory to God and to enjoy Him forever.” Not only that but God saves man for His namesake (Psalms 106:8), Jesus’ life and ministry was about the glory of God (John 7:18; 17:4), even the universe sings forth His glory (Psalms 19:1)! Our society says look within you, see what you want and go get it, the Gospel says look outside of yourself, that’s why you’re here.
What’s wrong with the world we live in? I am. You are. It’s that we have this deep abiding issue: sin. The problem lies in the fact that human beings since the Fall are sinful by nature and live in a world in which powerful forces seek to induce us to reject God and His standard for our living. We are the only part in creation where God commands to obey, and we turn to Him and say “No. My way is better.” It’s this rebellion and love of it that’s wrong with the world. We don’t do what we are created to do. We owe Him our obedience and worship but yet we worship the created things rather than the Creator and suppress the truth and our unrighteousness. We all like sheep have gone astray; each has turned to His own way. (Isaiah 53) We all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God and deserve God’s wrath as punishment. (Romans 3:23; 6:23) There’s nothing we can do to change that, you can’t just govern or educate that away. You can’t give enough motivational speeches, write enough man-centered self-help books, or do more religious and moral works to get rid of it. It’s there and is the chasm between you and hope.
What is it about the Gospel that is the bridge of hope?
It’s the cross of Christ. For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven. (Colossians 1:19) When Christ entered the world, He came to give His life as a ransom. He came to do the will of the Father in being our substitute and dying in our place. In His active obedience He fulfilled our righteous requirement and in His passive obedience He took upon Himself our wrath and the curse of our disobedience. But He didn’t just stop there. He didn’t just live the life we should live and died the death that we deserved, He rose again, eternally triumphant in defeating death. His death was the payment; the resurrection was the receipt. When Christ died, infinite holiness, infinite purity, and infinite righteousness was laid down on the behalf of finite sinners. And the payment was more than enough. So that God could stand all at once completely justified, He poured out His wrath on sin. Those who come to Christ in repentance and in faith are found in Christ. We were in Christ on the Cross and God has punished our sin in Christ. He can stand as a just, holy, and a righteous God and yet forgive sinners, who otherwise have no hope of ever being forgiven. Because of this vicarious death, because our sinfulness is imputed on Christ and His righteousness is imputed on us, we can stand before God, completely justified and completely forgiven. He died not to make bad men good, He died and rose to make dead men live. The chasm has been bridged.
If you’re a Christian, I pray that this blog, and more importantly the truths it communicates, would cause your heart to swell with joy and assurance in the hope of what Christ has accomplished that is a present reality. God is sovereign, the Lord Jesus reigns, and by the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.
If you’re a non-Christian reading this, I pray that you will be provoked to think hard about the good news of Jesus Christ. This is the message we have staked our lives on, and it demands a response from you as well. As Greg Gilbert says, “If there’s anything in the world that you cannot afford to ignore, it is the voice of God saying, ‘Good news! Here is how you can be saved from my judgment! That kind of announcement demands attention.’”