“The gospel isn’t one class among many that you’ll attend during your life as a Christian—the gospel is the whole building that all the classes take place in! Rightly approached, all the topics you’ll study and focus on as a believer will be offered to you ‘within the walls’ of the glorious gospel.”
C.J. Mahaney, The Cross Centered Life
One mistake believers often make is the belief that the gospel has fully served its purpose at the time of salvation. After conversion, it seems that the believer moves onward to “bigger and better” things. Now, we may not consciously think this, but far too often, this is how we behave.
God did not give us His gospel just so we can understand it and be converted. Jesus did not come to earth, die on a cross, and triumph over death just so we can tell a good story to a nonbeliever. He did not receive the full wrath of God and endure complete separation from the Father only so that we can draw a pretty bridge diagram to our friends.
The Good News, rather, is such much more. It is something He gives to us that fulfills our every need and desire—both at the time of our salvation and every day after. We are to enjoy and receive daily. Its fullness is for us constantly. Scripture teaches us to be “stable and steadfast,” remaining in the gospel that we have heard [Colossians 1:23]. It is a gift that keeps on giving, containing all we need for life and godliness.
Preach To Self
Since the gospel has tremendous sufficiency for daily living, the practice of preaching the gospel to self is perhaps more significant than any other discipline.
The good news is something we ought to never forget, something that should never cease to amaze us. The Apostle Paul continually teaches throughout the New Testament that believers must hear the gospel as much as non-believers do. Much of his writing is simply rehearsing gospel truths, such as in Ephesians 1-3, Colossians 1-2, and Romans 1-11. If this is so, then perhaps we ought to preach the gospel to ourselves regularly as well.
Why? The gospel provides our daily protection from the enemy and from sinful flesh. The gospel contains the glory of Christ, which we are to behold [2 Corinthians 4:4]. The gospel cures our doubt toward God, because He has proven himself fully trustworthy. The gospel frees us from sin, because Jesus paid it all on the cross and defeated all sin. The gospel gives us security in our standing before God, because we are now judged on Christ’s perfect righteousness.
The gospel compels us to obey out of love, since it is the perfect picture of his love pursuing us. The gospel enables us to persevere through all circumstances, since it has already provided all the joy, fulfillment, and blessing we need. The gospel stimulates us to love others, because we have seen how much love He loves us. The gospel increases our hearts for the lost as it develops a burden for them to enter into such blessings. The gospel strips us of our pride and builds humility, as it leaves us without any grounds for boasting in ourselves.
And so on…
Speaking from personal experience, I’ve seen that when I am consumed in the gospel, everything I am called to be toward God and others seems to arise more naturally and passionately. My thoughts and actions are more pure. I see that I am being transformed into the likeness of Christ more and more [1 Corinthians 3:18].
I’ve personally been learning to view everything through the lens of the gospel, specifically through my missional community and life transformation group. And in doing so, I’ve noticed some rather peculiar results, in the sense that these are very unnatural, non-fleshly reactions, opposite of how I would normally think or feel. For example, the selflessness of Christ in laying down himself for me reveals to me his abundant grace. As I understand this, I am now free to be selfless, to give grace to my roommates, my friends, and my family.
If my classmates are struggling to find time to finish a project, the gospel compels me to serve them with food and an extra hand, so that as I sacrifice my money and time, they save their money and time. And If I come home and see that the sink is overloaded with dirty dishes, the gospel compels me to serve my roommates by cleaning up a disaster that wasn’t my responsibility, despite how tired I may be from an exhausting day.
It is no longer about me. It is not about my comfort, my rights, or my well-being. Instead, it is about imitating Christ to others, imitating my Savior who willingly left behind all the comfort, all the rights, and all the lavish blessings of heaven to come and die a humiliating death for sinners like me.
And these are just a few, very small practical examples of tangible results. And slowly, these things have started to become more normal for me, from what was once unnatural to something natural. While there is still a long, long way to go for me, I’ve already noticed the daily remembrance of the gospel to be absolutely life changing.
The Power Of God
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes.”
Paul teaches that the gospel is essentially the power of God in verbal form. Think about that for a second. I hope that blows your mind because my mind is blown into crumbs. The gospel is the power of God in verbal form.
This means there is inherent power in the truth of the gospel. The reality is that God sent his perfect Son to earth, to be unjustly slaughtered on the cross for our sins. And now, because He has risen and triumphed over death, we have His righteousness and His victory. Depraved man is now invited into an eternal relationship with a holy and infinite God.
I pray that we understand the gravity of this gospel. May the Truth always be at the center of our hearts! Because it is saturated with His power, we should be compelled to preach this daily—to ourselves and to our friends. After all, is it not by far the best news you have ever heard?
The gospel is so amazing.
“Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!”