Christ suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God. (1 Peter 3:18)
The greatest good of the good news — the gospel — is the enjoyment of fellowship with God himself. This is made explicit here in 1 Peter 3:18 in the phrase “that he might bring us to God.” That’s why Jesus died.
All the other gifts of the gospel exist to make this one possible.
- We are forgiven so that our guilt does not keep us away from God.
- We are justified so that our condemnation does not keep us away from God.
- God is propitiated so that his wrath doesn’t stand between us and God as our Father.
- We are given eternal life now, with new bodies in the resurrection, so that we have the capacities for being with God forever and enjoying God to the fullest.
Test your heart. Why do you want forgiveness? Why do you want to be justified? Why do you want the wrath of God to be propitiated? Why do you want eternal life? Is the decisive answer, “Because I want to enjoy God now and forever”?
The gospel-love that God gives is ultimately the gift of himself. This is what we were made for. This is what we lost because of our sin. This is what Christ came to restore.
“In your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Psalm 16:11).