A few years ago, I and my friends DJ and Sarah, married for 2.25 years, took a road trip to Seattle. We were visiting our respective families, and as a bonus, DJ and I were going to catch a Seahawks game (during what turned out to be their Super Bowl season).
As we drove along a remote highway with the sun just dawning behind us, I remembered that I needed to check something on our online tickets. I’ve never bothered keeping up with the Joneses, so I had no smartphone. I asked DJ if I could borrow his, and I went to Google to type in my mailbox’s address. Well, as you know, when you use Google, it brings up the user’s Google “search history”. Here’s how DJ’s search history looked:
“what to eat while pregnant”
“how to exercise while pregnant”
My mouth dropped open. I showed the screen to DJ with raised eyebrows and in his classic aw-shucks form, he grinned, “Oh. Yeah.”
They were gonna have a kid!
I was ecstatic. Two of my favorite people in the world and now there would be more of them??? Hot dog!!!! The world could only be improved by this development.
But the cool part was – I was actually the first person to find out besides DJ and Sarah themselves. Their real purpose for their trip (Seahawks, psh) was actually to announce the coming baby to her family; his family hadn’t heard yet. By accident, I, just a friend, intercepted a giant gobsmack of very privileged information. It was humbling, but also quite sneakily cool. Now, of course, that gobsmack is a delightful little girl of almost three, running around the church sanctuary with hands in the air and jumping up and down on the pews during worship.
And as I sat in church this last weekend behind that very family, hearing about the mystery of the Gospel, a question occurred to me.
Why was I more excited about that news than I ever am about my salvation?
Observe: the most privileged information that has ever existed…
“Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care, trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of the Messiah and the glories that would follow. It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you, when they spoke of the things that have now been told you by those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. Even angels long to look into these things.” (1 Peter 1:10-12)
Paul spends a great deal of time depicting the Gospel as a mystery. He does this in Rom. 16:25-26, 1 Cor. 2:7-10, Eph. 1:8-9, 3:1-6, and Col: 1:25-26, just to name a few: the revelation that salvation would come by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, available to Jews and Gentiles alike.
Don’t take this for granted. It blindsided the Jews. This is the most compelling, life-changing, beautiful mystery ever revealed. The very angels of heaven had longed to get a glimpse – and been denied. Hebrews 11 tells us that the old heroes of the faith hadn’t even received this yet, the reward of their faith. Think of the most compelling mystery you’ve known – life on other planets? JFK? The answers of “Lost”? (boy, what a downer that was) – and multiply the chills by a hundredfold.
And we got it. We, not presidents nor prophets nor wise men. God has revealed it to all, and made it available to all – not by accident, but intentionally.
It is wonderful. I am saved. I am chosen and made holy. The doors to heaven have been wedged open for me far down the track of my life, and they cannot be shut.
So…why aren’t I appropriately excited?
Why does salvation feel like a nice…historical fact?
Like the U.S. Constitution, or the discovery of penicillin, or the knowledge the sun will rise tomorrow. All awesome, all of which I’m grateful for, but rarely an “inexpressible and glorious joy” (1 Peter 1:9).
This is not as it should be.
The magnanimity and brilliance of the gospel of Jesus Christ should be filling my soul to the brim. It should be overflowing in the form of constant evangelism. It should far outshine the other things I have or seek in this life, both meaningless and God-given.
Alas, that’s hard. We are creatures of routine and comfort.
One thing I’ve been praying for a couple years now is Psalm 51:12: “Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.” He’s the supplier of our strength, obedience, and sanctification anyway. Why not our joy?
Slowly, imperceptibly, over the years, it’s made a difference. My salvation is becoming a bigger deal, crowding out everything else. It’s a process, but it’s happening. What would be the point of anything else if heaven’s doors were not opened to us?
I will pray Psalm 51:12 again in the morning.
May we all be excited.