How Sweet the Gospel Sounds…

“When Satan tempts me to despair,

And tells me of the guilt within,

Upward I look, and see Him there

Who made an end to all my sin.

Because the sinless Savior died,

My sinful soul is counted free;

For God the just is satisfied

To look on Him and pardon me

Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Praise the One,

Risen Son of God!”

     I sang these lyrics on July 18 of this year. I was standing side by side with my groom. As I sang these lyrics I had one of the most unreal moments of my life. There was this feeling that I don’t have words to explain adequately. It was as if my soul was exploding…no, OVERFLOWING with extreme peace and joy. You see, for the months preceding this day I had been struggling with anxiety. Anxiety that produced many sleepless nights and long talks with Andrew and others. What was I anxious about? The wedding? Marriage? A new phase of life? That’s what you would think. But that just wasn’t it. Even though I had been a Christian since the age of five, I still had a lot of doubts. Those doubts escalated when I became engaged to Andrew. I started to worry that I wouldn’t make a very good wife for Andrew. The reason was because I felt distant from God, and when I looked at Andrew, I saw someone who had it all together in that area. This in turn, caused me to deal with the real issue…my doubts that God’s grace was sufficient. That my sin was covered by His blood and that He could truly love me even though I fail him every day. Lauren Daigle in her song “How Can it Be” captures what I felt perfectly. She sings “I am guilty, ashamed of what I’ve done, what I’ve become. These hands are dirty, I dare not lift them up to the Holy One…” I felt so unworthy of God’s grace. All these doubts and feelings of shame caused so much anxiety. Thankfully, I had Andrew, family, and close friends who continually prayed for me and pointed me to the Gospel. And that my friends, is the key word: Gospel. That is what it all boiled down to; I didn’t understand the Gospel. It wasn’t real to me. I began reading Romans as well as a book called “Gospel” by J.D. Greear. God used both of those as well as music to really bring the Gospel to life for me. Romans 8:1-4 says “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.” It is passages like this that opened my eyes to see how crazy it is that I doubted the Gospel. Christ already took my sin, and He paid for it in full when he died on the cross. He took on Himself the wrath of God that I deserved. Because of that, He doesn’t see me the way I see myself. I have been redeemed and am counted free. Hebrews 4:16 says, “Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” This is so comforting to me. So, as I began to gain a better understanding of the Gospel the less severe my anxiety became. It wasn’t a quick process, and to be completely honest, I still do struggle some with this. But God is so gracious and has used so many circumstances, events, and people to point me to the truth. There have been quite a few songs that remind me of God’s redeeming love for me. I wish I could share them all, but that would be overwhelming. I’ll just share a few of my favorite lyrics.

In Christ Alone

Till on that cross as Jesus died,

The wrath of God was satisfied;

For ev’ry sin on Him was laid—

Here in the death of Christ I live.

In Tenderness

In tenderness he sought me, weary and sick with sin

And on His shoulders brought me, back to His fold again

While angels in His presence sang, until the courts of heaven rang.

Oh, the love that sought me!

Oh, the blood that bought me!

Oh, the grace that brought me to the fold of God

Grace that brought me to the fold of God.

He died for me while I was sinning, needy and poor and blind

He whispered to assure me: “I’ve found thee; thou art Mine”

I never heard a sweeter voice, it made my aching heart rejoice.

Upon His grace I’ll daily ponder, and sing anew His praise

With all adoring wonder, His blessings I retrace

It seems as if eternal days, are far too short to sing His praise.

Hallelujah, What a Savior

“Man of Sorrows!” what a name

For the Son of God, who came

Ruined sinners to reclaim.

Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Bearing shame and scoffing rude,

In my place condemned He stood;

Sealed my pardon with His blood.

Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Guilty, vile, and helpless we;

Spotless Lamb of God was He;

“Full atonement!” can it be?

Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Lifted up was He to die;

“It is finished!” was His cry;

Now in Heav’n exalted high.

Hallelujah! What a Savior!

When He comes, our glorious King,

All His ransomed home to bring,

Then anew His song we’ll sing:

Hallelujah! What a Savior!

How Can it Be

I am guilty

Ashamed of what I’ve done, what I’ve become

These hands are dirty

I dare not lift them up to the Holy one

I’ve been hiding

Afraid I’ve let you down, inside I doubt

That You could love me

But in Your eyes there’s only grace now

You plead my cause

You right my wrongs

You break my chains

You overcome

You gave Your life

To give me mine

You say that I am free

How can it be?

Though I fall, You can make me new

From this death I will rise with You

Oh the grace reaching out for me

How can it be?

How can it be?

      And so when I reflect on the year of Twenty Fourteen I feel extreme joy, in that, my eyes were opened to the radical love my Savior has for me. That I, such a sinner, would be counted righteous in the eyes of God. God the just is satisfied, because Christ took my place on the cross. Twenty Fourteen was the year I married my best friend and started my life together with him. I stand amazed at how God has blessed me with a husband who daily points me to the Gospel and lives passionately for the Gospel. J. D. Greear says, “preach the Gospel to yourself daily.” And it’s true. It is incredible what happens when you remind yourself of the Gospel every day. Someone once said “How sweet the Gospel sounds to ears like mine” and that sums up what I feel completely. On July 18, when I sang those lyrics, they meant so much to me because of the journey I had been on those months beforehand. I am praising God for the peace that He brought me this year as my eyes were opened to the sweetness of the Gospel.

“Oh Praise the One who paid my debt and raised this life up from the grave.”

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