The gospel is not a message about you. It’s not a message about how to become a better person, nor is it about all the bad things you have done. It’s not about how to be holy, humble, or happy. It’s not about how you cleaned up your act. The gospel is none of these things, because the gospel is not about you—it’s all about Him.
We live in a narcissistic culture that’s self-absorbed, self-promoting, and self-demeaning. We are enamored by our accomplishments, our quest for spirituality, and even our trials. We are fascinated with ourselves! But the gospel isn’t.
The gospel is fascinated with Jesus.
The gospel is not the “good news” about how you can be a better Christian or how to stock pile good deeds so that God will love you. It’s not about what you can do, should do, or fall short of doing. It’s not about what you have done; it’s all about what Christ has done and continues to do. The good news that’s heralded before all nations is a royal proclamation that the King has paid the penalty of death, risen to David’s throne, conquered the forces of evil, and reigns from on high over all creation. And since you can’t claim any of these things, the good news is not about you.
The Christ-centeredness of the gospel should govern not only our “salvation” but also our “sanctification.” As we grow in Christ, we dive deeper into this grace and become less fascinated with ourselves and more fascinated with Jesus—his past work on the cross, his present work of intercession, and his future work in raising us from the dead. His beauty, his grace, his love, his righteousness, his forgiveness, his ongoing life-sustaining grace that holds every fabric of our being together. The gospel that saves us also sanctifies us, and the gospel is about Him, not you.
It’s all about him. It’s not about you. The way to become more holy, more sanctified, more like Jesus, is to stop thinking so much about becoming more holy, more sanctified, more like Jesus. Stop thinking about you and start thinking about him. As my favorite preacher, Tullian Tchividjian, says:
Any version of “the gospel,” therefore, that encourages you to think about yourself is detrimental to your faith—whether it’s your failures or your successes; your good works or your bad works; your strengths or your weaknesses; your obedience or your disobedience.
Because the gospel is the good news about Jesus. If we turn the gospel inward to make it somehow focused on us, then it isn’t very good news anymore. It’s all about him.
So try something different today. Instead of beating yourself up over how you fall short of God’s standard—don’t we all—look upon the One who was beaten up in your stead. Look to Him, the author and perfector of your sanctification. Look to the King, the one who reigns from on high and cries daily: “it is finished!”