What Would We Do “Without” the Gospel?
Have you ever stopped to look at just one word in God’s word? Maybe you look it up in a concordance or do a search online. You might search for “hope” or “peace” or “God” or “life.” But what if the gospel is in a preposition? Take “without” as an example...
Nothing Without God
The God who made the world and everything in it looked out across an earth “without form and void” (Genesis 1:2), and he spoke it into being. “Without him was not any thing made that was made” (John 1:3).
He creates and lives and rules “without iniquity” (Deuteronomy 32:4). He knows and frustrates all the plans of man “without investigation” (Job 34:21–24). He has done and continues to do amazing works “without number” (Job 5:9). In fact, all that he intends to do, he does “without fail” (Joshua 3:10). And one day it will be clear to everyone that nothing he has ever done was done “without a cause” (Ezekiel 14:23).
All Without Excuse
He created us and he gave us unending evidence that he is worthy of our lives and worship, leaving us “without excuse” (Romans 1:20; Acts 14:17). But we’ve all sinned. “Harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd” (Matthew 9:36), we rejected God, not giving him the honor or thanks he deserves.
We wander about in his world, “without knowledge” (Jeremiah 51:17) and “without sense” (Hosea 7:11). We find confidence in comparing ourselves to one another and prove we are “without understanding” (Matthew 15:16; Hosea 4:14). We set out to live without reference to God and his word (Isaiah 30:2).
Death Without End
And so we found ourselves “without God” (Ephesians 2:12; 2 Chronicles 15:3), as a people “without a king” (Hosea 3:4), “without a vision” for our life (Micah 3:6). We groped around hopelessly “in the dark without light” (Job 12:25). We dried up “like a garden without water” (Isaiah 1:30). Our sin left us “without a foundation” (Luke 6:49) under our life and future.
Our rebellion would leave God’s city, his very house, empty, “without inhabitant” (Isaiah 6:11). God looks on the pride and defiance of those he made, “a people without discernment” (Isaiah 27:11), and because he loves his name, he responds without compassion, “without pity” (Jeremiah 20:16), and “without mercy” (Lamentations 2:2). Our sin leads to death “without end” (Nahum 3:3).
One Without Sin
But God did not leave us “without a redeemer” (Ruth 4:14). To this people without hope, God sent himself, his precious Son. This Jesus was tempted in every respect as we are, “yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15). He came because “without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness for sin” (Hebrews 9:22).
Israel sacrificed animal after animal after animal as sacrifices for sin “without blemish” (Exodus 12:5; Leviticus 1:3; Numbers 6:14; Ezekiel 43:22–23). But they were only a shadow of the once-for-all sacrifice, Jesus of Nazareth, who was “without blemish or spot” (1 Peter 1:19; Hebrews 9:14).
Rescued Without Regret
The one without sin, Jesus, died for those without anything to offer. He died to present us, a more beautiful us, to himself “without spot or wrinkle or any such thing,” that we might be “holy and without blemish” (Ephesians 5:27; Philippians 2:15; 2 Peter 3:14).
“Without faith it is impossible to please God” (Hebrews 11:6), but those who believe are rescued “without regret” (2 Corinthians 7:10). We receive life and forgiveness “without paying” (Matthew 10:8). Despite our sin, we are preserved and satisfied “without money and without price” (Isaiah 55:1; Revelation 22:17).
God saved us that sinful we might serve him, the holy God, “without fear” (Luke 1:74; Philippians 1:14). And to this end, he graciously gives us his Spirit “without measure” (John 3:34). By doing this he adopted us as his own, circumcising our hearts “with a circumcision made without hands” (Colossians 2:11).
Now by his power, we go to all the world to preach this good news boldly and “without hindrance” (Acts 28:31), knowing that no one will be saved “without someone preaching” (Romans 10:14). With Christ as our treasure, we now live “without scarcity” (Deuteronomy 8:9) and “without dread of disaster” (Proverbs 1:33).
Victory Without Boasting
So trust this Lord with your life “without wavering” (Psalm 26:1). When people oppose you “without ceasing” (Psalm 35:15) and “without cause” (Psalm 109:3), when the pain comes “without respite” (Lamentations 3:49), we hold fast to our hope “without wavering” (Hebrews 10:23) and endure all things “without grumbling” (Philippians 2:14).
Knowing we’ve been saved, we pursue “the holiness without which no one will see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14). In all we do, we depend on God, always praying “without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). Everything we have we’ve received through Christ, so we live and breathe and work without boasting (1 Corinthians 1:31), and “without neglecting” justice, mercy, and faithfulness, those things God himself loves (Matthew 23:23; Luke 11:42).
Without the gospel, you have no hope. And without “without,” you have no gospel. Oh the preciousness of God’s word, every single little word.
Recent posts from Marshall Segal:
Sign up to receive a daily digest of new articles from Desiring God.