Monday, March 22, 2010

Preaching the Gospel in a Roundabout Way

In Reformed circles we often speak of “preaching the gospel to ourselves.” This means that we revisit and apply the gospel to our lives daily (or for really big sinners, even more often). Older generations would say that we remember the promises of God.

This has been a helpful concept to me, because over the years I’ve come to increasingly appreciate the power of the gospel—it’s not just for unbelievers anymore! Everyone needs its sustenance, and no one outgrows their need for the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Yet as we learn to apply the gospel to every area of need, we should realize that there is more to the gospel than meets the eye.

For example, there is a past, present, and future dimensions to the gospel.

Past: God’s love displayed in his choosing us for salvation, Jesus’ accomplishment of our salvation through his life, death, and resurrection, and the Holy Spirit’s application of this to our lives. Our story, our “testimony.” God showing up in our lives. Calling these truths to mind is life-giving, energizing, and humbling to boot.

Present: God is with us! Many time in Scripture (Joshua 1, Hebrews 13) we are reminded that God will never leave us or forsake us. God’s presence with us is a huge encouragement and we need to be reminded of this each day too. It also gives us the confidence we need to live out our faith each day, whether in killing sin or speaking grace.

Future: God promises to always be with us, and paints very colorful pictures of eternity for those who are interested. There really is another world that awaits, this life is not all there is, and because of what Jesus has done we will have a bountiful inheritance. We need this hope to get up in the morning, especially when dreams and health fail.

Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection are the center of history and the focus of the gospel. Every blessing flows out of our union with our Lord Jesus Christ. Yet when we “preach the gospel to ourselves” (and to one another) we should look around: There are past, present, and future aspects to the gospel. The gospel surrounds us.

All I'm sayin' is let's preach the gospel and let's use all three tenses.

1 comment:

Glen said...

Jeff and Ken: I just want to tell you guys that you write really good stuff. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Glen