Are You Reciting the Gospel by Yourself?
by Alex Crain
It's good to see that the idea of 'preaching the gospel to yourself everyday' is becoming more popular. At least that's how it seems to me. Things that point to the gospel are popping up in all kinds of places and ways, not only in big and new movements but in short videos, articles and Twitter messages ("gospel tweets"). A caution in the way we think about the gospel was brought to my attention recently in chapter two of True Spirituality. If you're not following along in our weekly journey through this important and helpful work by Francis Schaeffer, I invite you to join us.
In chapter two, Schaeffer mentions our Scripture passage today (above) where we see Moses and Elijah speaking with Jesus at the Mount of Transfiguration about His impending departure—His death.
It's subtle, but notice that they're not just making a passing mention of the fact. Rather, they were actively and continuously speaking about it. They were dwelling on the gospel; at least the substitutionary atonement part of it. And with the Object of their redemption (Christ) standing right there, no doubt there must have been more than just theological accuracy in their conversation. Probably more like amazement and deep gratitude. As they thought of all that Christ was about to endure for their sin, I'm sure they had correct thoughts about the gospel. But Christ's own presence energized their orthodox theology.
At times, there can a detached, tearless way that we think about the gospel. When I have well-articulated and familiar facts about Christ's life/death/resurrection/ascension, and they are just empty echoes down the icy corridors of my thoughts, the diagnosis is simple: I have broken fellowship with Christ. It's evidence of unconfessed sin.
Schaeffer reminds us that when we rehearse the gospel, we must do so in the presence of the Living Christ; in humble worship of Him. He is not a distant figment of man's imagination. He is the God Who is there. Just as Moses and Elijah were "with Him"… in His presence, so we too must continuously rehearse the gospel while recognizing that we are in the presence of the God Who is there. The Christian life flows from the constant spring of dwelling on the gospel with the Redeemer Himself.
Intersecting Faith & Life:
Remember this paraphrase of John Piper: the gospel is like blood, it's supposed to course through your veins not be carried in a bucket.
John Owen, (a 1600s Puritan) often prayed, "Lord, may I commune with You in the doctrines I espouse." Make this your prayer and experience today.
"While all that borrows life from Thee is ever in Thy care;
And everywhere that man can be, Thou, God art present there."
From the hymn, "I Sing the Mighty Power of God" by Isaac Watts