Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The Gospel That Judges Our Secrets

In the day when God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel. (Romans 2:16)
“Gospel” means “good news.” Not just any bit of news that happens to be good. In the Bible, the Greek word for “gospel,” euangelion, is most often used in a particular sense: the announcement that the kingdom of God — and its King, Jesus the Messiah — has come.

According to the gospel Paul preached, there is coming a day when God will “judge the secrets of men.” This is the same message Paul preached to the philosophers at Mars Hill in Athens, declaring that God has “appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained” (Acts 17:31).

When God comes to judge, it means that He comes to set things right in the world. Whatever is out of joint will be brought back into proper alignment. Whatever is evil and cannot be put back right will be removed. And whatever is good and proper will be established forever.

This can be a very encouraging prospect — but also a very terrifying one. On one hand, there are a lot of things wrong in the world that we would love to see put right. But on the other hand, we realize deep down that we are part of what is wrong with the world. There is a story told about G. K. Chesterton that, in answer to the question, “What is wrong with the world?” he said quite simply: “I am.”

There is coming a day when God will judge the secrets of our hearts, yours and mine, and that is a sobering thought. We can fool others, and even ourselves, for a time, but we cannot fool God. “For man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7).

The gospel is supposed to be “good news,” but when the secrets of our hearts are finally revealed, will it truly be good news for us? For those who have entrusted themselves to the Lord Jesus, the answer is Yes!
For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us. (2 Corinthians 1:20)

In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory. (Ephesians 1:13-14)
And here is the secret that rescues us from the secrets of our own hearts: In Jesus the Messiah, God gives us a new heart, just as He promised His people in the Old Testament.
This is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. (Jeremiah 31:33)

Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them. (Ezekiel 36:25-27)
This promise is not just for Israel but for all who receive the Lord Jesus. “To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27).

On that day when King Jesus comes and judges the secrets of our hearts, He will find a new heart and a new spirit — the Holy Spirit — at work in us. That is why He came, to bring this about. And He will be satisfied with what He has done in us.