Gospel Helps Self


Call me slow, but when I first encountered the idea that believers ought to be preaching the Gospel to each other -- and to themselves! -- in (Dietrich Bonhoeffer's Life Together), it was like a lightbulb switched on in my head at the same time a sucker punch rocked my gut. What a transforming truth that was.

Here are some neat words along those lines from Tim Challies's recent review of the Jerry Bridges classic, The Discipline of Grace:
Bridges continually takes issue with the unbiblical view that the gospel is solely or even primarily for unbelievers. Rather, he says, the gospel must be the foundation not only of justification but also sanctification. The believer must preach the gospel to himself every day. "To preach the gospel to yourself, then, means that you continually face up to your own sinfulness and then flee to Jesus through faith in His shed blood and righteous life. It means that you appropriate, again by faith, the fact that Jesus fully satisfied the law of God, that He is your propitiation, and that God's holy wrath is no longer directed toward you."

He later says, "This is the gospel by which we were saved, and it is the gospel by which we must live every day of our Christian lives...If you are not firmly rooted in the gospel and have not learned to preach it to yourself every day, you will soon become discouraged and will slack off in your pursuit of holiness."

Good stuff.

Some of us have come a long way through guilt trips and tours of techniques and alliterative outlines and workbook curriculum designed for maximum holiness, through cult and kitsch, through hoakum and hooha, and only relatively late in our Christian walk do we realize that what we need today and tomorrow is what we needed that blessed day Jesus "came into our hearts." We needed -- and still need -- the Gospel.