For several years we have been talking about “preaching the gospel to yourself everyday.” On occasion, I am asked questions about this statement, “What does it mean?”, “How do I do it?”, Are there any tools I can use to understand it better?”
At the core, the concept is very simple. It is a call to believers to constantly remind ourselves of what God has accomplished for us on the cross. It is a reminder that the gospel not only justifies us, it is also the gospel that sanctifies us and one day it is the gospel that will glorify us. The gospel is good news to the unsaved and the saved alike.
For the next couple of weeks I hope to spend some time highlighting resources that have been helpful to me in the process of understanding and practicing, preaching the gospel to myself everyday.
Jerry Bridges, Discipline of Grace.
I was first introduced to Jerry Bridges through his books, The Pursuit of Holiness and The Practice of Godliness. I was 18 years old when I first read them and both were a tremendous help and challenge to me.
Bridges has clearly meditated on these themes over the past several decades and refined the original theses of those books in his later writings. I believe they came together most powerfully and helpfully in his book, The Discipline of Grace. It is through this book that I was introduced to the phrase, “preach the gospel to yourself everyday”. Bridges attributes the phrase to a friend of his, Dr. Jack Miller.
Discipline of Grace is about recognizing that a believer is in daily need of God’s grace. He spends significant time explaining how the pursuit of holiness and discipline do not stand in opposition to grace. He writes,
“Grace and personal holiness, however, are not opposed to one another. In fact, they go hand in hand. An understanding of how grace and personal, vigorous effort work together is essential for a lifelong pursuit of holiness.” (p. 13)
In other words, grace makes the pursuit of holiness and discipline possible.
Bridges is a clear and engaging writer and I highly recommend his books for personal or small group study. He has since written three books that sit on my “to read” stack that explore this topic further:
The Gospel For Real Life: Turn To The Liberating Power Of The Cross Everyday
Transforming Grace: Living Confidently In The Power Of God’s Unfailing Love
The Bookends Of The Christian Life, co-authored with Bob Bevington
I will close with a quote from another helpful resource in understanding the transforming power of the gospel, The Cross Centered Life by C. J. Mahaney,
“Never be content with your current grasp of the gospel. The gospel is life-permeating, world-altering, universe-changing truth. It has more facets than a diamond. It’s depths man will never exhaust.” (p. 67)
Living daily in the hope of the gospel!
Next Time: The Hebrew Professor who helped me better understand and apply the gospel.