A.J. Gossip (1873-1954) was a minister in the Free Church of Scotland and Professor of Christian Ethics and Practical Theology at the University of Glasgow. Gossip’s passion was preaching practical applications of the Gospel–applications he had tried and tested through his own experiences, bringing comfort, strength, and hope to others who were hurting.
You will not stroll into Christlikeness with your hands in your pockets, shoving the door open with a careless shoulder. This is no hobby for one’s leisure moments, taken up at intervals when we have nothing much to do, and put down and forgotten when our life grows full and interesting… It takes all one’s strength, and all one’s heart, and all one’s mind, and all one’s soul, given freely and recklessly and without restraint.
At the very moment when the pulpit has fallen strangely silent about sin, fiction can talk of little except evil, not indeed viewed as sin, but apparently as the invariable ways of a peculiarly repulsive insect, which it can’t help, poor thing; and there is no manner of use expecting anything from it, except the nastiness natural to it.
Do you find life too difficult for you? So did we, but not now, with the amplitudes of grace there are for us in Jesus Christ, it grows satisfying and successful and exciting beyond measure, becomes another and a richer thing.
We can do nothing, we say sometimes, we can only pray. That, we feel, is a terribly precarious second-best. So long as we can fuss and work and rush about, so long as we can lend a hand, we have some hope; but if we have to fall back upon God — ah, then things must be critical indeed!
Christ holds that prayer is a tremendous power which achieves what, without it, was a sheer impossibility. And this amazing thing you can set into operation. And the fact that you are not so using it, and simply don’t believe in it and its efficiency and efficacy as our fathers did, and that so many nowadays agree with you, is certainly a major reason why the churches are so cold, and the promises seem so tardy of fulfillment.
If we are whimpering, and sniveling, and begging to be spared the discipline of life that is sent to knock some smatterings of manhood into us, the answer to that prayer may never come at all. Thank God! If you are not bleating to get off, but asking to be given grace and strength to see this through with honour, “The very day” you pray that prayer, the answer always comes.
Do not burn false fire upon God’s altar; do not pose and pretend, either to Him or to yourself, in your religious exercises; do not say more than you mean, or use exaggerated language that goes beyond the facts, when speaking to Him whose word is truth.
You cannot escape Christ, do what You will. You reject His divinity, but, so doing, you have not evaded Him. If He is a man just like us, then obviously you must be a man like Him.
What exactly has Christ done for you? What is there in your life that needs Christ to explain it, and that, apart from Him, simply could not have been there at all? If there is nothing, then your religion is a sheer futility. But then that is your fault, not Jesus Christ’s.
Thanksgiving is the language of heaven, and we had better start to learn it if we are not to be mere dumb aliens there.
The core and essence of the Gospel is its tremendous and glorious revelation of how deadly is God’s hatred of sin, so that He cannot stand having it in the same universe as Himself, and will go any length, and will pay any price, and will make any sacrifice, to master and abolish it, is set upon so doing in our hearts, thank God, as elsewhere.
God has the right to be trusted; to be believed that He means what He says; and that His love is dependable.
Original Content: Copyright© 2014 by Susan E. Johnson
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