On Wednesday, during our HeartSong meeting, we watched a video of author and pastor Tim Keller and heard his explanation of the Gospel. Short version: in response to the Gospel, there are three ways to live. First, one can completely reject the Gospel and choose to find his own way to live. Second, one can immerse himself in the religion of doing good to please God, making his actions his main focus. Both of these reject the essence of the Gospel: Jesus is the Savior of our sins. Thirdly, one can accept God’s gift of grace and choose to do good works, not to get acceptance from God, but because of already being accepted by God. This person is “simul iustus et peccator,” or simultaneously sinful and yet accepted in Christ, and his motivation for doing good is not fear, but grateful joy.
Recently, I have been living my life based on the second response. I have been looking for my value in God in how “good” I have been, how well I’ve managed my time or been a servant to others, even though I knew that these things wouldn't bring me salvation. On the handout we received outlining the differences between living in religion and living in the Gospel, one point under “religion” said: “If and when I am not living up to standards, I feel insecure and inadequate; I feel like a failure.” When I read that, I knew that was me. This sentence was the essence of the five lies I had written down during the HeartSong retreat. I could never figure out why I still believed these lies; now I know it was because I was living in religion instead of in God’s grace. In dying for me Christ redeemed me from my failures, and even though I may continue to sin, Christ still loves me the way I am. I should respond with overwhelming joy that the good works that I do are pleasing to Him and are not overshadowed by my sins!
Even since I joined HeartSong, I seem to have had Hannah Montana stuck in my head. Yes, I admit that I am a fan of some of Hannah Montana’s music, especially her earlier songs, because the message is very positive and encouraging. My favorite of her songs is one that is not that well known, and it’s called “Bigger Than Us.” Some of the lyrics are: “I want to see beyond my own little world…to be a part of a greater picture that’s bigger than us…that rescues our hearts with a Love that’s bigger than us.” I’m not sure if she was singing about the Gospel or not, but when I hear these words in my head I turn them into a prayer for my life.
Being a part of HeartSong gives me an overwhelming feeling that I am a part of something huge. HeartSong is a legacy of Cedarville, and I am amazed that God would choose me to be a part of it. And the HeartSong legacy is only a small part of the legacy of the Gospel; HeartSong is a tool that guides people to the Gospel and to Christ. Being used by God is a much bigger honor than being a part of a college musical group! So really, this amazement that I’m in HeartSong should hold little value in comparison with the overwhelming gratefulness that God would use me to preach His Gospel with my life, whether through HeartSong, Camp Carl, or anything else. Right now, God has chosen for me to share the Gospel through HeartSong. What has he chosen for you?