What Would We Do “Without” the Gospel?

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.


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Marshall Segal (@MarshallSegal) is executive assistant to John Piper, a graduate of Bethlehem Seminary in Minneapolis, and regularly writes on the topics of singleness and dating.