Advanced Basics

Posted: September 16, 2007 in Theology

So the Gospel is the beginning of the Christian life and then you move on to the deep stuff when you mature – right? Not so much. All you ever do is move deeper into the Gospel. The Gospel is not the ABC’s of the Christian life; it’s A-Z of the Christian life.

The Gospel is accessible yet unable to be comprehensively held in the three pound human brain. Little children and the mentally impaired can receive Jesus, but the endless ages will not be enough to exhaust the wonders of the great mystery of God’s grace in Christ. A verse that I’ve long been intrigued by says that even the angels long to look into the secrets contained in the Gospel (1 Peter 1:12). Tim Keller pointed out that angels are probably pretty smart people – and they’ve also had a lot longer to learn, but this hasn’t led them to a “been there; done that” attitude. Instead they’re inflamed with epithumia (eager desire, lust, longing) for understanding.

I heard Beth Moore talk about being in Africa and seeing all manner of creatures in the natural world that she never knew existed and that were beyond the small field of her familiarity, a vast realm full of wonders and surprises. How much more is this true with the infinitely glorious God! I felt rebuked by this simple observation.

There are times that I think, “I’m not all that excited to crack open the Scriptures; I already know what they say.” But that’s absurd! First, the G.I. Joes narrator was wrong, knowing is actually less than half of the battle. Secondly, I know a lot less than I think, and that imperfectly. In this I am like an explorer who has grown bored with the desert though he’s never actually been there. All he’s ever done is look at some maps and run his fingers through some sand in a bucket in his office.


If the riches of God’s grace to me in Jesus won’t be exhausted in all the ages to come then surely boredom in the here and now reveals something seriously wrong with me. In the song Great Indoors, J.M. says, “Check your pulse, it’s proof that you’re not listening to the call your life’s been issuing you.” I’d put it this way:

Check your pulse, it’s proof that you’re not listening to
The call your God’s been issuing you

We never move beyond the Gospel. We only live more fully within its reality. And I suppose that it should go without saying that it isn’t about growing in complexity of understanding, but rather it is about being undeserving yet perfectly loved and progressively transformed by Jesus.

  1. Dion says:

    I’ve found that the more I learn, the more I learn that there is so much more to learn.
    And the more I know, the more I know that there is so much more that I don’t know.
    It’s as if in learning and knowing I only see how much more there is to learn and know and how little I really know.
    All the more reason to stop surfing the web for tonight and crack open the scriptures yet again.

  2. Tim says:

    “All the more reason to stop surfing the web for tonight and crack open the scriptures yet again.”


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