Do Christians need the gospel for every day of their lives or is it a one-time story to hear and believe? That’s what we’re talking about today on Naptime Theology. Listen to this post as a podcast by clicking this button:
Is the Gospel for Every Day?
Today we are talking about the gospel. We talked specifically about what the gospel is on the very first episode of Naptime Theology. So if you don’t know what I’m talking about when I say the gospel, go and listen to that episode first. (Here’s the link).
But for today, let’s talk about this: do we need the gospel as people who are already Christians?
When we first get saved, we hear and believe the gospel, right? We believe that even though we are all sinners headed for eternity in hell separated from God, God loves us and sent His only Son to die for us so that we could believe in Him as our Savior and be forgiven our debt of sin and given eternal life with the Father in heaven.
We talk about that a lot at the point of salvation, either when we got saved and cried out to the Lord or if we are sharing the gospel with another person.
But as Christians, we can stop there. Sure, we’ll always say we know the gospel and we believe it and we’ll share it with a random stranger we meet on the street. But do we live in light of the gospel each and every day?
Gospel Truth in Scripture
Colossians 1:23 says that we are to “continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel.” The gospel is not meant to be a one-and-done process. It’s not a one-time thought at your conversion. Every day that we live as Christians must be gospel-filled.
Now I don’t mean that we need to get saved each and every day. When we are first saved by Christ, we are saved forever. But I do mean that we need the gospel truths every day so that we can live in light of them.
Though we are saved from sin and the recompense we deserve for our sins through believing in Jesus’ death and sacrifice for us, we still sin as believers. That is part of the daily life of Christians, fighting against sin with the Holy Spirit’s power. And in our fight against sin, we need the gospel’s help.
That is why Jerry Bridges said that we should “preach the gospel to ourselves every day.” We have to rehearse the truths of the gospel over and over again so that we can indeed fight sin.
Jerry Bridges was not the first person to have this idea of preaching the gospel to ourselves every day. Martin Luther, the great reformer, was also known for encouraging believers to meditate on the truths of the gospel in their everyday lives.
Here’s what Luther said about rehearsing the gospel, ”The highest of all God’s commands is this, that we ever hold up before our eyes the image of his dear Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. He must daily be to our hearts the perfect mirror, in which we behold how much God loves us and how well, in his infinite goodness, as a faithful God, he has grandly cared for us in that he gave his dear Son for us. Do not let this mirror and throne of grace be torn away from before your eyes.”
We should ever hold up before our eyes the image of God’s dear son, Jesus, and what He’s done for us. That meansWe should have the gospel before us each and every day.
My Own Experience
I have seen this worked out in my own life. I grew up in a Christian home and believed in Jesus, the gospel, as a young girl. But as I grew into adulthood and attempted to live a Christian life, I didn’t have the gospel in the forefront of my mind at all.
In fact, my life was filled with lots of other things… I was newly married so I was thinking of being a wife, working full-time, driving long hours to work and back home, preparing meals, cleaning the house, taking care of my car, et cetera. I didn’t have Jesus’ work on the cross in my mind each and every day.
And that showed in how I lived my life. I was not happy, I was seeking my own gain, and I sinned a lot. It wasn’t until I started thinking about the gospel’s effect on my life that the Lord started to change my heart.
I started thinking about the gospel as a believer and not just in terms of my salvation. I learned that the truths of the gospel are true for every single day of the Christian life. And that is actually how your life is changed each and every day! The gospel changes our lives at conversion, but it is the repeated study and meditation on the gospel that changes our lives to reflect Christ each and every day after salvation.
When I started reflecting on the gospel as a daily habit, I saw my own life change to honor God more. He drew me out of sin and encouraged my heart each and every day that I thought about the gospel’s effect on my life. God made me a much happier person and I was able to make better choices in my attitudes because I was continually putting Christ and his work on the cross before me each day.
We have to know the gospel and remind ourselves of it so that we can live in the joy that our salvation brings us each day.
How Do We Meditate on the Gospel Daily?
So, how do we “preach the gospel to ourselves” so that we can live in light of it each day?
I think the best way to preach the gospel to yourself is to memorize scripture passages that are explicitly about the gospel.
You can find many verses in the Bible that have the gospel truths in them. Here are three that I recommend.
Colossians 2:12-14. Which says,”having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. And when you were dead in your wrongdoings and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our wrongdoings, having canceled the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us, and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.”
Another passage that contains the gospel is 1 Corinthians 15:1-4. Which says, “Now I make known to you, brothers and sisters, the gospel which I preached to you, which you also received, in which you also stand, by which you also are saved, if you hold firmly to the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. For I handed down to you as of first important what I also received, the Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.”
And Ephesians 2:4-10 which says,” But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our wrongdoings, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the boundless riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.”
Now, if you commit one of those sections of Scripture to memory, then you will always have the gospel in your back pocket. And, in this case, you will always be ready to preach it to yourself. And you will have it in your memory for the Lord to bring to your heart when you need it most.
The Gospel Primer
Another way to preach the gospel to yourself daily is with a little book called, The Gospel Primer by Milton Vincent. The book gives many reasons why you should immerse yourself in the gospel every single day of your life. And, really, this book is just full of Scriptural truth, which is the reason you should read it.
The book goes through many ways the gospel changes our lives. Everything from battling against sin to loving our neighbors, all of it is changed by the gospel. Here’s a quote that has really helped me.
“As long as I am stricken with the guilt of my sins, I will be captive to them, and will often find myself re-committing the very sins about which I feel most guilty. The Devil is well aware of this fact; he knows that if he can keep me tormented by sin’s guilt, he can dominate me with sin’s power. The gospel, however, slays sin at this root point and thereby nullifies sin’s power over me. The forgiveness of God, made known to me through the gospel, liberates me from sin’s power because it liberates me first from its guilt; and preaching such forgiveness to myself is a practical way of putting the gospel into operation as a nullifier of sin’s power in my life.”
Do you see how the gospel, God’s forgiveness through Christ, frees us from sin’s power and guilt? It makes us free to honor the Lord with our lives instead of being weighed down by guilt over sin and regret over our sinful choices. God dealt with all of that in the cross, in the gospel. And we can live in light of that forgiveness each day when we remind ourselves of what God has done for us in the gospel.
And The Gospel Primer keeps giving succinct lessons about the gospel that will stick with you through the day. I also have to say that this book is perfect for our busy mom lives because it is REALLY easy to read just one paragraph and be encouraged. The sections are pretty short and the author has included the actual verses in the book itself, so when you are reading a short paragraph, you can simply glance down to the footnote to see the actual verse he’s referring to, which is very helpful! I highly recommend this book and will leave a link to it in the show notes.
And I keep going back to this book and to those passages of Scripture all the time because we need the gospel every day of our lives! It gives us freedom from sin’s power, rest in Christ’s righteousness, love for our brothers and sisters in Christ, an eternal inheritance, humility, a heart for the lost, and many other things. Knowing these truths from the gospel and having it before our eyes, like Luther said, will change our hearts and mold us to be more like Christ.
The gospel is a never-ending supply of encouragement. We must seek it out the next time we are in need. And have it always in our hearts and minds as we go throughout our days.
Commit those verses to memory and remind yourself of what Christ has done for you in the gospel today.
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