“The truth of the Gospel is the principle article of all Christian doctrine…. Most necessary is it that we know this article well, teach it to others, and beat it into their heads continually.”
It may seem strange that Christians need to continually be reminded of the gospel. After all, shouldn’t we already know it? Here are 3 reasons why Christians need to preach the gospel to themselves, and to each other regularly.
For the Accusing Conscience
Some time ago, when I was in the heat of an argument with someone, that person said to me “…and you call yourself a Christian! “
As the words sank in, I felt terrible. I had disappointed God, again. I was unworthy to be called His child. This person was right. How could I call myself a Christian when I had just lost my temper in such a manner… These were some of the thoughts swirling through my head. When a dear friend needed urgent prayer some moments later, I couldn’t even pray for her, simply because I felt unworthy.
Truth be told, our sinful nature isn’t something we should blatantly dismiss. Sin is sin, trifle or otherwise within our own perceptions. It is to be confessed to God, and grieved over. However, when our sins feel greater than God’s grace, could it be that we have lost sight of the gospel? In such times, we need to stop, confess our sins to God, and then preach the gospel to ourselves. It’s true. I am not worthy of God (Romans 3: 23). But Jesus is worthy (Romans 3: 24-25; 8:34). Jesus lived the life I should have lived, perfectly. Jesus bore my punishment for me so that I may receive forgiveness (Romans 5: 6-9). He will forgive my failures and not cast me away (Romans 8:32-39). I am not worthy, but Jesus is my righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21).
For the Religious
The human heart’s default mode is believing that God’s acceptance of a person is dependent on their works. We need to reset our hearts to gospel-mode every day! When we lose sight of the gospel, we either look at our sins and doubt our standing before God, or we will look at our good works and think we are accepted by them.
We are eager to know how we can please God. This is a good thing. However, if we lose sight of the gospel, we will naturally position our “religious” works on a pedestal higher than God’s finished work at the Cross. When we feel we have obeyed God for the day, our prayers become happy and bold. On the contrary, our failure at obedience makes us feel that we need to make it up to Him.
Dare we ever think that our standing before God is based on our own merit (Galatians 2:21)? The gospel reminds us that it isn’t! We need to set ourselves, and help others to set themselves to gospel-mode every day!
For the Christian Life
For the Christian, the gospel provides not just the entrance to the faith, rather, it is the fuel for the rest of our walk with the Lord Jesus Christ. In the New Testament, ethical teachings arose from constant reminders about the status of those who belonged to Christ. In Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, for instance, Paul spends the first three chapters explaining God’s great work in Christ, and then devotes the concluding chapters to the practical implications of the gospel for personal, family and congregational life.
Romans 6 reminds us that our fight against sin arises from knowing who we are in Christ, and what He has done for us. Colossians 3: 1-4 reminds us that because we have been raised with Christ, we are to set our hearts on things above.
Are you struggling to love the unlovable? Are you struggling to trust God? Are you trying to fight sin in your life? You can’t overcome it by just trying harder. Meditate on the gospel. Know what He has done for you. Know who you are in Christ. It is at the Cross of Jesus that you will be humbled, be ever so thankful and find power to live a life worthy of the very same gospel you have received!
Preach the gospel to yourself daily. Preach it to each other. Help each other think through the implications of the gospel. And may God let the truth of the gospel of Christ sink deeper into our hearts daily as we wait for His return!