Are You Living Like a Functional Gospel Amnesiac?
From Randy: I’ve mentioned before how much Nanci and I have loved reading Paul David Tripp’s book New Morning Mercies: A Daily Gospel Devotional. It is just terrific, and we highly recommend it. Here’s another entry I especially appreciated.
As Paul so skillfully communicates, we need to daily retell ourselves the gospel, to stave off dementia of the spirit and to understand how it applies to the here and now. May we follow the advice of Jerry Bridges: “Preach the gospel to yourself every day.”
If you’re God’s child, the gospel isn’t an aspect of your life,
it is your life; that is, it is the window through which
you look at everything.
It has been a theme of my ministry, a sad recognition that has motivated me to speak the things I speak and to write the things I write. Thousands and thousands of sincere believers have a huge hole right smack dab in the middle of their gospel. They tend to see the gospel as a thing of the past and a thing of the future; an entrance thing and an exit thing. Sure, they celebrate the forgiveness they have been given and their welcome into God’s family, and they look with hope to the future, when they will be with the Lord forever, but they don’t understand the radical, mind-changing, and life-altering nowism of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. They don’t grasp that when they came to Christ, it wasn’t just their past and future that changed; no, everything in their lives right here, right now changed.
For a believer, nothing in his or her life is unchanged by the gospel. If you look at life from the vantage point of the present benefits of the person, work, presence, and promises of the Lord Jesus Christ, nothing in your life looks the same. The apostle Peter encourages people to live in a radical new way because they have been given “all things that pertain to life and godliness” (2 Pet. 1:3). So you and I aren’t left to our own maturity, character, ingenuity, righteousness, wisdom, or power. Not only that, but the gospel redefines how we understand our whole story, how we think about the meaning of life, how we understand the human struggle, where we get our identity, where we look for peace and security, what we consider in life to be dangerous, what we see as successful living, and so on. It is true that when Jesus takes up residence in us, everything in life changes. Nothing remains the same.
Now, if you don’t know this, you celebrate your salvation, but for help with your marriage, parenting, sex, money, friendship, fear, addictions, decisions and such, you don’t look to the gospel. You log on to Amazon.com and scan for the latest self-help book that addresses your topic of concern. You do this because you’re a functional gospel amnesiac. You’ve forgotten who you are as a child of God. You’ve forgotten the glorious warehouse of spiritual wisdom that you have been given. You think you are poor when really you are rich. You think you need wisdom when you have been united by grace to the One who is wisdom. You think that there is something you need that you haven’t yet found, when in fact you have already been given every single thing you need to be what you’re supposed to be and to do what you’re supposed to do in the place where the Savior has positioned you. The gospel gives you everything and changes everything in your life. Are you living as if you actually believe that?
For further study and encouragement: 1 Corinthians 2:1-5
Taken from New Morning Mercies by Paul David Tripp, © 2014, March 31 entry. Used by permission of Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.org.