Five Ways to Avoid Getting ‘Beyond’ the Gospel

Five Ways to Avoid Getting ‘Beyond’ the Gospel

“Titanic Sinks Four Hours After Hitting Iceberg”

“ON THE MOON! And It’s ‘One Giant Leap for Mankind'”

“Diana Dead”

All these headlines were breaking news at one time, but now they’re just . . . old news.

The gospel isn’t much different for most Christians. I don’t know about you, but for most of my life, I thought of the gospel as good news for unbelievers but old news for believers.

Boy, was I wrong.

News flash: The gospel isn’t mainly for your lost neighbors!

The Gospel Is for You, Too, Believer

But don’t just take my word for it. Let’s head straight to the source. For example, in Romans 16:25, Paul writes to believers,

Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ . . .

Did you catch that? It’s the gospel that strengthens us as believers. Not how-to books or more schooling but the simple, familiar story of Jesus Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection on our behalf.

Here’s another verse, written about believers, that clues us in that the gospel isn’t mainly for our lost neighbors:

The gospel is bearing fruit and increasing in them since the day they heard it and understood the grace of God in truth (Col. 1:6).

Mind if I ask . . . Is the gospel bearing fruit and increasing in you? (Hint: If you’re not regularly going back to gospel truths, it probably isn’t.)

I like how Tim Keller puts it,

The gospel is not just the ABCs but the A-to-Z of the Christian life.

Reminding Ourselves of the Gospel

The gospel is meant to change everything about our lives. Everything. Paul understood that; that’s why he reminded the Corinthians believers over and over of the gospel:

Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you (1 Cor. 15:1).

We need to daily be reminded of the gospel, too. Marci Preheim says,

Christians do not outgrow the gospel. They don’t achieve a level of righteousness and then write how-to books to help the folks who haven’t figured it out yet. We never get beyond needy.

And I’d add, we never get beyond our need for the gospel.

Receiving the Gospel

Paul goes on,

Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received.

When we hear the gospel for the three-thousandth time, rather than sighing, I’ve heard this before—why can’t you write a more practical blog post? and then clicking away, we need to gladly receive and believe the gospel each time we hear it.

I stumbled across an admission on the blogosphere from a man named Dane Ortlund and found it really helpful. Here’s the gist:

At the most fundamental level, I am an irreversible “believer” the rest of my life, by the grace of God. But at another level I move from believer to unbeliever (from exercising faith in Christ to forsaking faith in Christ) dozens of times, hundreds even, each day.

At the doctrinal level we look to Christ with sustained, consistent permanence. But in our everyday experience we keep faltering, keep swiveling away from Christ and looking to other saviors—even Christian saviors like Scripture memory or service in the church.

Ouch. I don’t know about you, but that hurts ’cause it’s right on. We need to continually believe and receive the gospel.

Paul knew that nothing is more important than the gospel:

I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received (1 Cor. 15:1).

Dusting off the Gospel Daily

So if the gospel is so important, how can you grow in your understanding and appreciation of it? Here are five suggestions.

    1. Realize you’re not any more accepted or loved by God if you grasp all the gospel implications for everyday life, or if you can communicate gospel implications clearly. You and I are accepted by faith in Christ alone.
    2. According to The Gospel-Centered Life, the way to grow in the gospel is not to downplay either God’s holiness or your sinfulness. As your awareness of God’s holiness and your sinfulness grows, the cross will stretch bigger and bigger in your mind and heart. Surprising, huh?
    3. Continually repent and believe. Repent of forsaking Christ in favor of a works-righteousness and believe again in Christ’s perfect righteousness applied to you. Repent and believe. Repent and believe all day long.
    4. Watch how the biblical authors modeled this, and then imitate them. Over and over in the New Testament, there’s this pattern of first gospel declaration (who we are in Christ), and then gospel expectation (how we are to live in light of this). Watch for this pattern and communicate this way with others. When you share a gospel obligation, be sure to also share a gospel declaration. Tim Keller puts it this way,

The knowledge of our acceptance in Christ . . . makes the law of God a thing of beauty instead of a burden. We now run the race for the joy that is set before us rather than for the fear that comes behind us.

  1. Get your hands on gospel-centered resources.Books by Elyse Fitzpatrick like:

    Grace Is Free: One Woman’s Journey from Fundamentalism to Failure to Faith by Marci Preheim

    The Jesus Storybook Bible: Every Story Whispers His Name by Sally Lloyd-Jones

The fact that:
the Titanic sunk . . .
and mankind left footprints on the moon . .
and Princess Di died . . .
doesn’t have a whole lot to do with your everyday life, does it.

But if you’re “in Christ,” the fact that:
     Jesus died . . .
     was buried . . .
     and rose again . . .
     has everything to do with your everyday life. Everything. 

Is this a news flash for you? Have you tended to think of the gospel as good but OLD news, or as good news for today and tomorrow and the day after?

Five Ways to Avoid Getting ‘Beyond’ the Gospel” was originally posted on

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