If you have been following along in the series, we have looked at the servant’s heart, the need for radical conversion, and finally the result for Christians to find radical assurance. Paul’s words in Romans 8:16-17 apply directly to the radically converted. They apply to the life of a man who went from trying to crush the church, to one who was willingly to be crushed (stoned, shipwrecked, beaten, etc) in order for the church to be sustained. 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
The Spirit testifies to the spirit of man, giving peace in place of pain, power in place of ride, and progress in place of the pit of despair. Yet, so often we confuse the power of the Gospel for weak alternatives. Christian singer Matt Maher captures the alternatives in his song, “Hold Us Together” singing (about the Good News) it “won’t buy you a home in Beverly Hills/ won’t fix your life in five easy steps/ it ain’t the law of the land or the government/ But it’s all you need!” The Gospel is all we need because it is through the act of sacrifice that Christ allowed himself to become man in every way so that when God judges man, we are seen in the light of his righteousness instead of clearly through the shards of our brokenness. The result is nothing short of miraculous—just as the Son of God was resurrected by the Holy Spirit–we see the Gospel resurrect our lives, resurrect our hearts, resurrect our dying churches, resurrect of splintered families, resurrects the ultimately mission. More fully, the Gospel is a picture of total restoration.
When my wife and I lived in a river city, sometimes we would go down by the Mississippi River and people watch. One warm summer night as some walked, ran, biked, or roller skated, a father and his young son (probably 6) slowly strode by enjoying the night. Suddenly about 10 feet ahead of the bench we were sitting on the son looked up at the father and said, “I love you daddy!” and the father pulling the boy into his arms, embraced him saying, “I love you too son!” It was a Kodak moment if there was ever one. Yet for a moment consider their relationship. Before the man picked up the boy and said anything, he was legally, biologically, and relationally the father’s son. Yet it was when the father stopped and picked him up that the son was absolutely sure of the father’s love!
Romans 5:8–shows us the same radical assurance through our heavenly Father, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us! There is no more radical assurance than God sending Christ into the world to save you! There is nothing more that could be done. Now all that is left is putting on the crown! Remember though, it is a crown of service, not pride; a crown of sacrifice, not self-service, and it is a crown of life through sonship, rather than of death through sinfulness! It fits just right!