If there’s one topic I can’t stop thinking about lately, it’s my need for the Gospel. Not a “saving” Gospel in that I need to be evangelized, but an applied Gospel. Not just the saving Truth of Christ dying for my sin, but the application of that Truth in my life.
The last few weeks the Lord has used his Word mightily in my life. It’s incredible for me to think that He goes beyond the bounds of saving me, to then nourish and train me through the teaching of His Word. Fortunately, I am a part of a church that cherishes God’s Word and proclaims it week in and week out and is committed to it.
I was reading in 1 Thessalonians last night where Paul writes to the church, “Having so fond an affection for you, we were well-pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God but also our own lives, because you had become very dear to us” (I Thess. 2:8). What strikes me in this passage is Paul is explaining how he didn’t just give the church a Gospel presentation and leave town, but he stayed on with them and gave “his life”. He gave his time, his energy, his knowledge, his whole life to the church. He wanted to see them grow and watch as their hearts were transformed by the grace of God. Obviously, it didn’t happen over night because he had to stay on with them and continue to teach and train them. But Paul loved the church there and earnestly desired to be with them because they “…had become very dear…” to him. So apparently, the Gospel of Christ had brought him and the church in to a new and exciting relationship — one where God could be glorified and the church could be edified. This is why I need the Gospel every day.
I need the Gospel daily because it takes the focus off of my own life. It allows me to see the grace of God at work in both the Church and my heart and forces me to my knees in humble and willing submission to the God of the universe. It’s when I lose sight of the cross that I don’t want to serve, don’t want to love people, and simply drown in self-righteousness — which is how my heart unfortunately has felt these past weeks. I appreciate Martin Luther’s words when he writes, “…it is true that the doctrine of the Gospel takes all glory, wisdom, righteousness, etc., from men and ascribes them to the Creator alone, who makes everything out of nothing.” If I don’t get a daily reminder of my need for the Gospel, my heart grows hard and I continue to walk in my former ways — that is, in disobedience to the Creator. Praise the Lord for the way He works in each of our hearts and praise Him for how He uses His Word to reveal areas in our lives that need change.