I used to think the gospel was just for unbelievers. It was the good news for salvation and not much more. But as I grew in my understanding of Scripture, I realized that, while the gospel certainly does matter for one's moment of salvation, it also extends to every single aspect of life moving forward. You see, the gospel is for unbelievers and believers alike because the gospel is for sinners. Though we are declared positionally holy because of Christ at the moment of our salvation, that moment also signifies the beginning of our journey of sanctification on this side of eternity.
But what is sanctification, and why do we need the gospel for it?
Sanctification simply means growing in godliness or Christlikeness. If we're honest, all of us would say that we still found ourselves wrestling with sin not long after our conversion. We may have been saved 10 years ago, but we still wrestle with the sinful desires of our flesh. We still yell at our kids in frustration from time to time. We still feel annoyed and grumble when we're in a rush and we're behind someone slow in the check-out line. We still struggle with envy and conceit and comparison and covetousness to some degree. The point is: we're not perfect.
But here's the thing: the life of a believer is a life of continual repentance. The redeemed are not separated from their unredeemed flesh – not yet anyway. So we need the gospel, and the grace it offers for all of life. This is why we need to preach the gospel to ourselves every single day. The gospel enables us to see our everyday moments through the lens of the person and work of Christ. The gospel gives us hope and purpose and perspective. The gospel declares to our souls who God is and what He has done. The gospel invites us to anchor our identities in Christ, not in our achievements or job titles or life circumstances.
But how do we do this? How do we preach the gospel to ourselves?
In order to preach the gospel to ourselves, we need to know the gospel. We need to know it deep in our hearts and minds. This depth comes from reading and studying and meditating on Scripture. As we do this, we see God's redemptive nature woven throughout the pages of His Word. This is because the unfolding story from the Old Testament to the New Testament is a story of redemption that showcases God's faithfulness and relentless pursuit of His people. We get to know God, and in turn, we know who we are in light of Him. We see His mission of self-glorification, and we see how He invites us to showcase His nature to a watching world through obedience to His Word.
The Bible is timeless. It is applicable, accessible, and transformational. In the Bible, we see biblical principles in regard to the various aspects of our lives. As we engage with the Word of God, the gospel is ever before us and it anchors us to the main character of all of Scripture: Jesus. The gospel reminds us of God's grace in the everyday moments that make up our lives.
The gospel changes everything.
But we quickly forget. Or we're not quite sure how to apply the gospel to the different aspects of our lives. How does the gospel speak to our personal pursuits, physical fitness, friendships, finances, and more? This is why we wrote Preaching the Gospel to Yourself. It is a 4-week study that walks you through how you can apply the gospel to the different aspects of your life. It is an invitation to learn how to preach the gospel to yourself in the midst of whatever your circumstances happen to be. It is a step towards developing gospel fluency. It is allowing the Word to transform your mind and having the lens to see everything in your life through the person and work of Christ.
We are not left alone in this endeavor. Philippines 2:13 says, "for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure". We are empowered to live in such a way as to receive the promises God gives His people. He truly gives us everything we need – are we following Him?