Is the gospel about meeting our felt needs?
- No. It’s about exposing our real need, which is our state of condemnation before God (John 3:36). Until a person is convicted by the Holy Spirit, that is not a felt need.
- No. The larger problem is not how we feel about God but how God feels about us. In his holiness, he abhors our sin. We are born children of wrath (Eph. 2:3).
- No. The good news of the gospel is that Christ stood in our place, bearing the wrath of God that was due to us (Rom. 3:21-26). Forgiveness, reconciliation with God, and a righteous standing before God are our greatest needs, whether we know it or not.
- But…God is a good God who gives us the rest, purpose, comfort, and many other things that human beings long for. As Augustine says in the opening paragraph of his Confessions, “Our hearts are restless until they find their rest in thee.” Yet he gives us these things in a place we weren’t looking—through submitting to Christ. When we believe the gospel our felt needs are reoriented so that our true needs become our felt needs. We increasingly feel conviction for sin and seek forgiveness and reconciliation in response to it. As we grow in our understanding of the gospel, we begin to develop a genuine, tangible sense that what we need most God provides in the gospel.