Men would sooner believe that the gospel is from heaven, if they saw more such effects of it upon the hearts and lives of those who profess it. The world is better able to read the nature of religion in a man’s life than in the Bible.
[Only those] who have learned well to be earnestly dissatisfied with themselves, and to be confounded with shame at their wretchedness [truly understand the Christian gospel].
We must understand how to separate our “who” from our “do.” What we do does not gain us God’s affection. Who we are by virtue of His unconditional love constrains us through the power of our gratitude to obey Him. If we ever invert these relationships (as is the instinctive, natural impulse of all humanity) by assuming that who we are before God is a consequence of what we do for Him, then we make God’s love conditional and our security questionable.
The secret of the gospel is that we actually do more when we hear less about all we need to do for God and hear more about all that God has already done for us.
It is not easy to get the law killed. Something of a legal disposition remains even in the believer while he is in this world. Many a stroke does self and self-righteousness get, but still it revives again. If he were wholly dead to the law, he would be wholly dead to sin. But so far as the law lives, sin lives. They that think they know the gospel well enough betray their ignorance. No man can be too evangelical [gospel-centered]. It will take all his life-time to get a legal temper destroyed.
Most of us have never really understood that Christianity is not a self-help religion meant to enable moral people to become more moral. We don’t need a self-help book; we need a Savior. We don’t need to get our collective act together; we need death and resurrection and the life-transforming truths of the gospel. And we don’t need them just once, at the beginning of our Christian life; we need them every moment of every day.
Penal substitution does not turn God into a cosmic child abuser. It does not reduce Christ to the passive victim of some divine injustice. It does not pit the Trinity against itself. No, in the God-forsakenness of Christ on the cross, the love of God and the justice of God are revealed on our behalf. United in purpose, Father and Son act in concert to save God’s people. The sinless Son of God bears our sin, and then God pours out the wrath that our sin deserves, and Jesus the Son endures it so that we, who deserve that wrath, might never encounter it. This is the gospel, the good news of the cross, and it calls us to forsake our sin, to turn away from it and embrace Christ, the forsaken one, so that we may not be forsaken.
Forsaken by Mark Dever and Michael Lawrence taken from It Is Well, by Mark Dever and Michael Lawrence, copyright 2010, Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton Illinois 60187, www.crosswaybooks.org, page 90.
Genuine unity of any sort must have a purpose. Trying to achieve unity for unity’s sake is an exercise in futility, because it must have the motivation and focus of a common cause and objective. The church’s only true unity is grounded in the faith of the gospel, which refers to the Christian faith.
The gospel is a call for every one of us to die – to die to sin and to die to self – and to live with unshakable trust in Christ, choosing to follow His Word even when it brings us into clear confrontation with our culture.
The Gospel which we possess was not given us only to be admired, talked of, professed, but practiced! It was not meant merely to reside in our intellect, memories, tongues, but to be seen in our lives.
Yes, our deeds of mercy is a platform to help people believe the Gospel, but that is not the primary reason for mercy. Mercy is ultimately a natural expression from those who already believe the Gospel.
Understanding the Gospel message and receiving the Gospel message always shows itself in manifesting the Gospel message in our actions.
The Gospel message is simply this, are you all-in for Christ? And if so, how are you being transformed? The only Gospel that saves in Christ is the Gospel that transforms to make us like Christ.
Being unified in a church means: We know the difference between enjoying our small group, but understanding that the church is one – not separated along the lines of many small groups. Between having personal priorities within the church, but not losing the one core overarching mission of the church. Between respecting politics, but not making the church political. Between having good friends, but not forming alliances in the church to the exclusion of others. Between having differing beliefs, but honoring the church’s doctrinal statement. Between having personal convictions, but not legalistically pressing them upon others. That’s how we stand together as one for the Gospel.
Only the Gospel can take people that are externally diverse and internally bent on serving themselves and living according to their sinful desires and make them value the lives of others and then to contribute to healthy relationships in a unified church. And when we act this way, there is a power of Gospel presence and a purpose of Gospel attractiveness.
Let’s remember, we enter with faith and continue to live by faith. We believe the Gospel and live Gospel-centered lives. We are saved by grace and we are continually empowered by His grace. We work, but give God all the glory for His working in us.
There are two things to do about the gospel: believe it and behave it.
God did not give us His gospel just so we could embrace it and be converted. Actually, He offers it to us every day as a gift that keeps on giving to us everything we need for life and godliness. The wise believer learns this truth early and becomes proficient in extracting available benefits from the gospel each day. We extract these benefits by being absorbed in the gospel, speaking it to ourselves when necessary, and by daring to reckon it true in all we do.
Over the course of time, preaching the gospel to myself every day has made more of a difference in my life than any other discipline I have ever practiced. I find myself sinning less, but just as importantly, I find myself recovering my footing more quickly after sinning, due to the immediate comfort found in the gospel. I have also found that when I am absorbed in the gospel, everything else I am supposed to be toward God and others seems to flow out of me more naturally and passionately. Doing right is not always easy, but it is never more easy when one is breathing deeply the atmosphere of the gospel.