Our lives are filled with contrast. We love the sunshine because we dislike cloudy days. We enjoy the warmth of summer because we are tired of the winter chill. We enjoy our time with friends and family because we lack that kind of fellowship in our weekly work obligations. For every wonderful thing in our life there exists a counterpoint that provides for the utter enjoyment and satisfaction of the “good thing.” However, while we enjoy the good things because they are good, we also find joy in them because of the absence of joy in the counterpoint.
This concept is represented in the gospel of Jesus Christ. The gospel of Christ is truly good news. It is peace, joy, love and liberation. To be moved and transformed by God requires that a person truly understand and experience the sweetness of the gospel of Christ. However, while the sweetness of the gospel is overwhelming upon one’s first taste, without a contrasting consistency, texture or taste, a person might find the sweetness beginning to lose its appeal. The glory of God brought to our world in the gospel of Christ is sweet. Yet, the gospel of Christ repeatedly reminds us of all the bitterness of rejecting God and the consequence of choosing self over God. In serving and following Christ one finds a balance of motivation. On one hand, one cannot genuinely serve and follow Christ without ever experiencing the goodness of his news. On the other hand, one cannot genuinely maintain appreciation, satisfaction and joy in serving and following God without the awareness of the counterpoint. The counterpoint to the goodness of the gospel must never be downplayed or overshadowed. The result of downplaying this counterpoint results in complacency of worship, and ultimately a lack of focus that can produce casual disobedience. The counterpoint is bitter; it must be defined, described and experienced always as bitter. The taste of salt is distinct. It can never be confused with sugar. We are aware of the difference because they are so different. The goodness of the gospel of Christ must never leave our hearts as we proceed to follow and worship. However, there must be an ongoing parallel awareness of the dangers of sin, and fear of separation from God.