What we call “the gospel” is an announcement of our true standing before a holy God because of the saving work of Jesus, in whom we place all our confidence. It’s not the same thing as how we feel about ourselves, or an estimate of our progress in living a good life. Our emotions—including our assessments of our spiritual experience—are subject to the vagaries of weather, backaches, or what we ate too late for dinner last night. There are days on which for reasons we can’t fully articulate, we don’t feel “close” to God. That doesn’t mean anything more substantial than that we may be limited by arthritis, sports injuries, or indigestion. There must be—there is—a constancy about the gospel and its grip on our lives that isn’t changed by even our powerful emotions. “By this we shall know that we are of the truth, and reassure our hearts before Him whenever our hearts condemn us; for God is greater than our hearts, and He knows everything” (1 John 3:19-20). Jesus is more trustworthy than our feelings about ourselves. His word about our reconciliation to the Father is more true than any word we think or say. In living faith, our lives are hidden with Christ in God. From this deep certainty grow life and joy and peace and healing. Believe His word. And stay in grace. -Bill Knott
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