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The Gospel is For Christians

March 31, 2011

Trevin Wax interviews Mitchell Chase about his new book, The Gospel is for Christians.  About preaching the gospel to ourselves, Chase says:

“Preaching the gospel to yourself” refers to the practice of speaking to our hearts about Christ’s redemptive work: on our behalf Christ has broken the power of sin and paid the penalty for sin. Essentially the idea is to dwell on the meaning and accomplishment of Jesus’ death and resurrection.  C. J. Mahaney says that preaching the gospel to yourself is the most important daily habit a Christian can establish.

In my book, I give two main reasons for preaching the gospel to our hearts.  First, we are sinners – redeemed ones, to be sure, but sinners still.  While believers are new creations in Christ, we face constant temptations to return to the flesh and fulfill its desires which war against the Spirit (Gal 5).  The gospel is necessary for the pursuit of holiness, because salvation doesn’t produce morally perfect people.  The power of the gospel saves sinners by grace and then sustains and empowers them in that grace.  In order to obey God, our hearts must dwell on the perfect obedience of Christ on our behalf, becoming a curse for us and satisfying His Father’s wrath.

Second, we need to preach the gospel to ourselves because we are prone to forgetfulness.  In this culture, we can be so bombarded with information that we don’t know what to retain or reject.  These cultural messages seek to define our lives, our priorities, our ambitions.  So we need the gospel because of our wandering hearts.  We sing, “Prone to wander, Lord I feel it, prone to leave the God I love.”  The Old Testament also testifies to this tendency, for the Israelites constantly forgot the Lord and forsook his commandments.  It can happen easily, subtly, in times of blessing or trial.  Our blessings can become our idols, and our trials can become deterrents to relentless trust in God.  In running the race set before us, we must keep our eyes on the Author and Perfecter of our faith (Heb 12:2).

Preaching the gospel to ourselves, then, is a biblical and practical strategy that goads us onto the path of remembrance and obedience.  A key aspect of discipleship and Christian growth is learning what to remember, what to return to again and again.

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From → Theology

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