I’ve always been a sucker for a good romantic comedy. For those of you out there who would whole-heartedly agree with me on that, you might already be humming the tune that goes along with the title of this post.
“What the world needs now is love, sweet love.”
And if you weren’t already, you probably are now. You’re welcome.
I woke up this morning with the first part of that line stuck in my head: “What the world needs now…” I haven’t been able to stop thinking about how that sentence should end. Of course, the song did a fine job of nailing it, but my heart and thoughts have been leaning in a different direction.
I found myself in a very passionate conversation yesterday with one of my good friends about the Gospel. There are lots of versions of the Gospel available out there, so just that we are clear and all on the same page, I’m referring to the Gospel of Jesus Christ as described in the Bible, God’s infallible Word. I’m not referring to man’s interpretation of the Gospel, nor am I referring to the many false religions out there that possess their own versions of the Gospel. I’m talking about this:
Jesus on the cross.
Jesus in my place.
By grace through faith ALONE. (emphasis mine)
Jesus + nothing = everything
That’s the Gospel I’m referring to. I get pretty pumped when I’m talking about God’s Word. Those of you who know me are already nodding in full agreement. You’ve seen it. You’ve witnessed it in my teaching. God’s Word awakens me. It thrills me. It excites me to no end.
As it should for you.
So, as I was passionately dialoguing with my friend yesterday about the true Gospel, this line seemed to leap to the forefront of my thoughts:
“What the world needs now…”
And here is how I would complete that sentence:
“What the world needs now is…TRUTH.”
Yes, we need love. I’m not even attempting to dismiss that. Yes, we need peace. The Lord knows we do. Yes, we need all manner of things. But it is TRUTH that sets us free. Take a moment to digest Jesus’ own words here in the book of John:
To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32
It all comes down to truth. Not this world’s truth, which boldly proclaims that truth is relative. Not even the watered down truth that is readily available for the taking, you know, the palatable truth. Jesus’ truth. Jesus sets the standard for truth. Therefore, when He says that He is THE way, THE truth, and THE life (again, emphasis mine), that’s the end of the discussion. There is no other way. Translation: not all roads lead to Jesus. There is no other truth. There are partial truths, for sure. There are twisted truths in abundance. But THE truth rests in the person and work of Jesus Christ. And there is no other life. Not life abundant, anyway.
That is why Paul so confidently proclaimed, “To live is Christ, and to die is gain.” (Philippians 1:21) It’s because he had tasted all that this world had to offer, finding that he would always come up empty when searching for fulfillment outside of Christ, and that abundant life is ONLY found in Jesus Christ.
Let me put it this way. The most loving thing we can do for people in this world is to tell them the truth. Why? Because it sets them free. Instead, I find that it seems to be far easier to offer false hope to the lost, the lukewarm, because it’s far less confrontational, and let’s be honest, it just feels good. Who doesn’t want to hear that they’re doing just fine? Who doesn’t want to hear that all good people go to heaven? Who doesn’t want to hear that a loving God wouldn’t create Hell?
But here’s the deal, Christ-follower. Jesus didn’t come to tell us what we wanted to hear. He came to tell us what we needed to hear. The truth. Because it sets us free.