Of First Importance has a great and very helpful quote today from Calvin concerning despair in the Christian life.
It is especially a great reminder for me because I was enslaved for so long under the weight of Neonomianism. The joy of being brought to this truth by the Spirit of God through grace is unspeakable.
The Gospel according to Jesus is Good News that assuages the believer’s fears and quiets an accusing conscience. “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love,” (1 John 4:18).
The Gospel according to Jesus gives the despairing, fearful believer a humble boldness to draw near to God. “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need,” (Heb. 4:16). “let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water,” (Heb. 10:22). In Christ, “we have boldness and confident access through faith in Him,” (Eph. 3:12).
The Gospel according to Jesus is not moral and ethical demands, which only serve to accentuate one’s failures, arouse one’s conscience and lead to despair!
The Gospel according to Jesus is Good News offered freely (cf., Isa. 55:1-2; Rev. 22:17) to the worst of sinners.
“15 The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. 16 But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. 17 To the King of ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen,” (1 Tim. 1:15-17).
The Gospel does not lead to despair but repentance. “…do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance,” (Rom. 2:4).