“Why do I need the gospel everyday?” At the root of that question is an assumption, and misconception, that we have all that the gospel can give us today. Therefore, why would we need any more gospel today? I remember having similar assumptions several years ago when I expressed my concerns to a pastor for many churches that always talk about Jesus dying on the cross, but don’t give anything to grow from. I remember his gentle, yet corrective response. He said, “When you start living the gospel fully, I’ll stop preaching the gospel.” Looking back, I have found those pointed and guiding words lodged into my mind, though at that time did not make much sense. You see, the assumption that I made was that the gospel was merely my foundation only to be followed with building the walls and roof of the house of my living.
I saw that the gospel was to save me from the punishment of sin. That is certainly true, and I did sin everyday, so in a sense I did need the gospel everyday. However, what I failed to realize is the sufficiency in the gospel also to save me from the temptation to sin….from the power of sin’s influence in my life.
Sin Is An Expression of Unbelief
To better understand how the gospel impacts our daily life, we need to see what’s at the root of sin. We sin, as christians, because we misbelieve or disbelieve the gospel. Allow me to demonstrate that principle for you biblically with a couple of passages. First, consider Romans 1.
“18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. 24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.”
Romans 1:18-25 is a passage saying that God’s wrath is coming against all who live a life of unrepentant sin. Let’s look at why people would live this lifestyle. Verse 18 says they “suppress the truth”. Verses 19 and 21 speak to knowing about God, but refuse to believe it. Where do you know things? In your mind. Verse 21 says “they became futile in their thinking”. Verse 22 notes, “Claiming to be wise, they became fools”. Look at verse 25. What are they exchanging in verse 25? It says, “They exchanged the truth about God for a lie”. Where are all these things taking place? They take place in the mind at the level of belief.
Let’s look at 2 Peter 1:3-4 to further see this point. Peter is talking about God and says,
“3 His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, 4 by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.”
Peter is speaking about the process of growing as a christian. His desire is for us, through God’s “precious and very great promises”, is to become more like God and less like the world. Next, he gives us a picture of what this godliness in action looks like in verses 5-7. Then we get to verse 9 which is an important verse for our discussion on how every sin is a result of disbelief.
“9 For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins.”
To “lack these qualities” means to not live in a godly way. Sorry to state the obvious, but if we don’t live in a godly way then its because we live in a sinful way. There is no middle ground between the two. Then what does Peter say next? In the moments when we find ourselves not living in accordance with godliness, but committing sin, then it is because we have “forgotten”. Forgotten what? We have forgotten that, if we are a christian, we have become saved and “cleansed” from our sins. In those moments we are no longer living in the belief of the gospel. Some may rightfully question, “Are you saying that I simply need to bring to remembrance again that Jesus died on the cross for my sins and rose again in order for me to not sin?” That is not quite it. It is important to make a distinction about what we mean when we say, “believe”. We do not mean the belief in the sense of mere understanding or mentally ascent to knowledge. We don’t simply mean to agree with the facts, although that is a necessary part. When we say “believe” we mean to embrace those truths…to trust in them…to rest in them. We mean to see them as precious and needed for our souls and salvation. Therefore, we must fight temptation, not with sheer will-power, but with heartfelt belief in the gospel. That is why we need the gospel daily!
Preach the Gospel to Yourself
As a pastor who preaches, one of the greatest gifts God gives me is actually my duty to preach. It’s not just a blessing to preach, although it is, but I have found that my duty to preach serves a personal need as well. That personal need is to daily hear the gospel, think over the gospel and live in the joy of the gospel. Therefore, I am convinced that a needed spiritual discipline for all christians is to preach. That may not come in the form of typical preaching as we think of it to large numbers of people on Sunday morning, but it certainly must take place when you are alone.
So when you find that the sin of materialism and the American dream creeps in as a burglar to steal your joy in Jesus, then remind your heart that this world is not your greatest dwelling. “But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,” (Philippians 3:20). When pride demands it’s way, then let your heart melt by preaching to it that Jesus “did not count equality with God”, but became an obedient servant to die on the cross to save us from that pride (Philippians 2:6-8). And when sexual immorality forms from your heart a momentum that seems unconquerable, then you tell your heart that you have a greater spouse in Christ (Revelation 19:7) who will not bring death, but true life (Romans 6:23) and who will not leave us thirsty and hungry, but will satisfy the appetite of our soul (John 6:35)!