A common misconception among many Christians is that the message of the gospel is only for unbelievers. Once a person believes in Jesus, they are to move onto other subject matters…whether that be “deeper” theological truths or biblical principles for parenting, stewardship, etc.; either way it’s commonly understood that the gospel is, shall we say, only for “beginners”.
Is this really the case?
Tullian Tchividjian writes in his book, Surprised by Grace: God’s Relentless Pursuit of Rebels, “Once God rescues sinners, his plan isn’t to steer them beyond the gospel but to move them more deeply into it” (p. 16). That is, the gospel isn’t simply for unbelievers, but believers as well! Spiritual growth in the Christian life occurs as the Spirit of God, through God’s Word, deepens a believer’s understanding of the vast riches and realities of the gospel.
The question is, how does a believer begin and then make progress in that pursuit?
Jerry Bridges, author of The Discipline of Grace: God’s Role and Our Role in the Pursuit of Holiness, says, “the gospel is for believers also, and we must pursue holiness, or any other aspect of discipleship, in the atmosphere of the gospel.” Bridges says that nothing is more important in the one’s pursuit of holiness than learning to preach the gospel yourself everyday! He provides a list of helpful insights into what it means to preach the gospel to yourself every day:
TO PREACH THE GOSPEL TO YOURSELF MEANS THAT YOU…
- …continually face up to your own sinfulness and then flee to Jesus through faith in His shed blood and righteous life.
- …appropriate, again by faith, the fact that Jesus fully satisfied the law of God, that He is your propitiation (i.e., the one who fully absorbed God’s wrath toward your sin, and made full atonement through his sacrifice), and that God’s holy wrath is no longer directed toward you.
- …take at face value the precious words of Romans 4:7-8: “Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will never count against him.”
- …believe on the testimony of God that “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1).
- …believe that “Christ redeemed [you] from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for [you], for it is written: ‘Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree’” (Galatians 3:13).
- …believe He forgave you of all your sins (Colossians 2:13) and now “[presents you] holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation” (Colossians 1:22).
- …appropriate by faith the words of Isaiah 53:6: “We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; And the LORD has laid on him [Jesus] the iniquity of us all.”
- …dwell upon the promise that God has removed your transgressions as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12), that He has blotted out your transgressions and remembers your sin no more (Isaiah 43:25).
- …realize that all these wonderful promises of forgiveness are based upon the atoning death of Jesus Christ.
By God’s grace, may we be becoming people who are preaching the news of the gospel to others, and to ourselves, every day!Adapted from: Jerry Bridges, The Discipline of Grace: God’s Role and Our Role in the Pursuit of Holiness (Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 2006), 45-60.