Thursday, March 20, 2014

Seeing our Neediness and God's Full Supply in the Gospel ~ Part 1 ~ by Lydia

Outside my window, I see only a pallid sky and a wintry landscape made up of brownish-gray and white. It is a bleak sight – dismal, devoid of color, and slightly depressing. Something about it seems to mirror the insides of my soul at this time.
I wanted to sit down one cheery day, in high spirits and with a good grasp on life and everything else, and pen an elegant article on the gospel and its importance in our everyday lives. 

But that day hasn’t come. Maybe that’s a good thing. Don’t we sometimes appreciate the life-giving message of the gospel more when things aren’t going that great? Doesn’t the gospel sparkle just a bit more brightly when we come to grips with our utter inability to please God on our own?

Like the dreary wintry day outside, there are times when I’m discouraged, and worn-down, and zeal-less. Days when every path seems only to lead to a disappointing dead end.  I don’t always have a great “grasp” on life, either. In fact, these days I’m silently pleading with God to give direction and meaning to a life that sometimes seems to lack vision. I know, too, that I’m far from the only one who experiences a disquieted soul at times.

Not a very good time to write about the gospel, is it?

Then again, if the gospel doesn’t apply on our dullest, down-est days, when does it? When should its message be proclaimed – only on the bright, colorful days when there is peace and joy flooding my heart?

It would be strange to think that the marvelous, unparalleled message of Jesus Christ dying in my place, bearing all my sin, in order that I might be imputed with perfect righteousness and be right with God – only works or has impact on the days that I really feel like I need it.

The truth is, I need it all the time. And especially – especially – on days like today. 
I wonder if God allows us to pass through bleak wintry countrysides in our lives to show us that the gospel is what will keep us alive. It is our water and our bread and our very strength. 
It would do us well to ponder the significance of Christ’s gospel, contrasted with our own neediness. So, as I’m writing to myself as well as you, let us consider three separate emphases of a particular question:

Why do we (as Christians) need the gospel?
First, why do we need the gospel? In other words, if we’ve already been saved through trusting Christ alone to save us, repenting of our sins, and yielding our life to Him, why do we as Christians still need to hear the message of Christ crucified? The reason is because the gospel is necessary not only for salvation, but also for sanctification.
Sanctification is the ongoing process of the Holy Spirit helping us to become more and more like Christ. It begins the moment we are saved, and continues till we die. The gospel gives a foundation for sanctification in that it shows us what we’ve been saved from and how we are to live in light of God’s grace. If we don’t focus on the gospel, we may start thinking that our good works are earning us favor from God, when in truth, it is work of Christ alone that gives us favor in God’s eyes.

A veering away from gospel-centered thinking may also cause us to fall into sin. We forget the incredible sacrifice that Jesus made on our behalf to deliver us from bondage to sin. The famous first verses of Romans 6 state the absurdity of Christians remaining in the same sinful lifestyles: “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?” The following arguments for why we are to not “live any longer in it” include a comparison of Christ’s death and resurrection to our spiritual death (baptism) and resurrection (newness of life) by the power of God. This is a return to the message of the gospel. Paul uses the gospel to show us why we ought not continue in sin.

One other reason Christians need the gospel is that is continually reminds
them of their hope laid up in heaven. 1 Peter 1:3-4 says, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to his abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you.” Here Peter is reminding his readers of the gospel that not only saved them, but also guarantees a hope laid up for them in heaven. Because Jesus died, those who believe in Jesus can live.  

When you and I have our “down days” and feel burdened with the cares of life, the message of the gospel lifts our eyes upward. There is a glorious heavenly inheritance for those who love Jesus!

So, the answer to the question is: Christians need the gospel because it reminds them of what they were saved from, why they should be continuing in godliness, and where their hope is laid up – heaven!

...Part 2 coming soon!


  1. Thanks for sharing, Lydia. You are right, you are "far from the only one who experiences a disquieted soul at times"! Thanks for sharing what you're learning while you're in this place. :)

  2. Because our enemy always tries to discourage us, as he tried to tempt our Lord Himself, we too need His Word and the Gospel as our sword in the battle. (Even though Jesus has already won the victory!) You encouraged me with your thoughts, dear Lydia. I too have been in that gray place.