The order is vital if you want to connect with God.
That’s why the disciples talked so much about the gospel, which means good news. In the Roman world, the word referred to the announcement of a new emperor taking the throne. Messengers would declare to all people that this new ruler would bring peace and freedom.
What was startling about their claim was the particular event they pointed to as good news.
That event was the death of Jesus on the Cross.
What looked on the surface like defeat was actually triumph. The Apostle Paul says that on the cross God provided forgiveness of sin “by canceling the record of debt” (Colossians 1:14). On the cross, Jesus reconciled fallen, sinful humans to a holy and just God.
Jesus did not simply come as a wise teacher, or visionary leader.
He came as a Savior and Redeemer.
Jesus did not simply offer proverbial wisdom or philosophical principles.
He offered himself as a Sacrifice.
This is why Christianity is something to be received, not achieved.
This is why Christianity is good news before it is ever good advice.
Whatever advice there may be is not about reaching up to God, but realizing God—through Jesus—has already reached down to us.