The Good News of Our Greatest Good


BY CHARLES JONES (@CSTANLEYJONES)


Satisfaction in God is the highest hope for the human heart. The Gospel in it’s most basic form is a glorious God coming down to save a broken humanity. Not only do we need to be delivered from the domain of darkness and power of sin, but rightfully restored to communion with God. Everything else on this earth will be an empty cistern[1], and leave us looking for satisfaction. If God Himself is the greatest “good news,”[2] then this is the message we all need. However, if after receiving this good news, our joy is not founded upon the goodness of Jesus, we have not known Him as He is. God is our greatest good, and those that love Him and His message proclaimed must hold this precious key “bound around the neck and written on the tablet of the heart.”[3]

God is the greatest good

It bears repeating: God Himself is the greatest good for all people for all time. As this truth affects our hearts, it is easier to let go of old life patterns and find true life in Christ. John Piper has rightly declared, “God is most glorified in us when we’re most satisfied in Him.”[4] There is nothing higher, stronger, better nor more fulfilling than the satisfaction of our soul in God Himself, and this is exactly His desire for us. How astonishing that our kind Creator desires our greatest good.

Nowhere is the connection more clearly stated than when the writer of Hebrews emphatically contrasts Christ as “better than” anything Judaism had without Him. Even though all these glories were given to Israel—including the glory of the promised Messiah—none were completely fulfilled until He came.[5] Similarly, we must consider everything obsolete in comparison with Jesus, the sole source of our heart’s contentment. If God is not our Gospel, we miss the best and most sustaining gift. Although God’s extravagant mercy and rich kindness are beyond our natural understanding,[6] it is the necessary continuum of the life of the believer.  

Sustains us

Though friends, family, teammates, mentors, counselors and the like are thoroughly helpful as guides in life, the only sustaining ingredient is satisfaction in God. It is only when drawing fromthat deep well that we then have anything to give.

For instance, moving my young family overseas seemed like the right and simple next move. I still believe that it was. However, at that time, I was unaware of some of the obstacles that would test us and refine us. In my heart and in my mind, I was sure that Jesus was more than worth our small, broken but dedicated family’s move to live amongst an unreached people group. However, in the initial stages and heartache of the “olive press” of the Lord,[7] there were days when I found myself more carnal, selfish, and on-edge than I had ever experienced before! My very life seemed to be slipping from underneath my feet.

After this refining season, I am completely convinced that He is more than worthy of our simple obedience, of us following where He leads. To have been through the trenches and come out with the assurance of His worth, goodness and faithfulness is astounding. His power kept me alive in Christ and sane on the field. Knowing the worthiness of Jesus, just how good He is allows us to not look back. Having our confidence and satisfaction in God Himself has been, is, and will be the main sustaining factor of our lives.

The Gospel of His greatness
is the message to be proclaimed

The best news— that God is our greatest good is what keeps usis also the message we convey. Make no mistake: God does not become our servant in attempting to please us. Rather, He knows best what we need and vulnerably gave of Himself to ensure we have the greatest good—that is, Himself. The issue remains, however, that people often settle for less than the best.

The message that “God is the Best,” is offensive to anyone on earth stuck serving some lesser-than god. That God would come down and so freely give of Himself is a reality that surely demands your all, and the response to this truth creates a great dividing line. Jesus, the “Desire of the Nations,”[8] is the best thing on earth that anyone could encounter. He is the fulfillment of every human heart. Those that dismiss Him, in this life and the next end up in grave illusion and loss.

The gospel is so good that it can look as if—in receiving all the benefits—it’s “all about us.” In the lavishing of His strong love, however, it only seems to be all about us so that we in turn make it all about Him! We who believe that by “los[ing] our life for His sake, we save it”[9] understand that true life is found in Christ alone. At the end of the day, humans finding their delight in God gives God the greatest glory.

Our gospel to ourselves as well as our target audience must contain the truth of His greatness and the satisfaction to be found in Him. It is a blessing to our souls, but it is ultimately for His glory. And in Him we do glory, specifically “glory in that we understand and know the LORD.”[10] Simply stated, God is the best thing that could happen to anyone. 

 


C. Jones and his family live among unreached people in the Middle East, working to build Christ-exalting, biblically-based, and Spirit-filled communities of worship where there are none. He considers obedience an end in itself and walking with the Lord the greatest joy. Charles can be reached at charles@faimission.org.



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[1] Jeremiah 2
[2] “Gospel” literally means good news.
[3] Proverbs 3:3
[4] John Piper… (desiring God)…
[5] Romans 9:4-5; 2 Cor. 3:7-13; Hebrews 3:3; 4:14-15; 7:18-25; 8:5-7; 9:11-15 etc.
[6] Ephesians 3:18-19
[7] “Gethsemane” literally means olive-press. In a similar way (although un-parallel) to Jesus’ moments in the garden of Gethsemane, the Lord also “presses” out the deeper issues within us, making us more like Him.
[8] Haggai 2:7
[9] Luke 9:23-25; parentheses mine
[10] Jeremiah 9:24; referenced in 1 Cor. 1:26-31