God Loves Us Like Jesus: A Six Syllable Gospel

Standard

Since my son’s second set of seasons, I’ve sought a scalable summary of the gospel. Something simple enough to be sung by a six-year-old, yet sufficiently sophisticated to stun seminarians for centuries. Here’s my most successful statement so far:

God Loves Us Like Jesus

Simultaneously saying, in short, that the Father loves in the way:

  • Jesus loves us
  • He loves Jesus
  • that makes us more like Jesus

Submitting to that sort of Savior is a sweet smell to our spirit, but a shocking scare to our sin!

Background

This formulation is designed to confront the most common misconceptions I’ve identified in my various attempts to teach, survey, and live out the gospel, by:

  1. Focusing squarely on our relationship with God as father
  2. Building on — while challenging! — our understanding of Love
  3. Emphasizing that the gospel is meant for all of US, not just me
  4. Recognizing that the goal is Christ-likeness
  5. Lifting up the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus as our model

Even though I grew up in the church, and had the privilege of learning from many of the great Bible teachers of our generation, I still found myself:

  1. Viewing God the Father as an angry judge
  2. Frustrated that God didn’t love me according to my self-indulgent definition of love
  3. Obsessing over my own needs and wants, instead of pouring myself out for others
  4. Thinking that the goal was conforming to a set of rules
  5. Refusing to embrace suffering and discipline as the path to glory and joy

Which, when you think about it, are all different facets of the same problem: not wanting to become like Jesus.

I wish someone had told me when I was young that these were the hard truths of the Christian life. That embracing the gospel becomes more sweet — but also more painful — the older I get. Just like it did for Jesus.

But now I know. So now my children will.  And that makes it all worthwhile.

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