Preaching the Gospel to Yourself – Joe Thorn

Preaching the Gospel to Yourself by Joe Thorn | Reformed Theology Articles at Ligonier.org.

TT-Jan-2015As we have noted here on Mondays this month, the January issue of Tabletalk carries the theme “The Good News.” That is, in a series of seven articles, it asks and answers the question, “What is the gospel?”

I read two more of these articles yesterday, the one linked above and quoted from below, as well as “The New Heavens and New Earth” by Dr.Dennis Johnson.

Thorn’s article is more practical in nature, treating how we as Christians must fight against spiritual wandering in our lives. The chief way he believes is “preaching the gospel to yourself.” This is a good follow-up to our having heard the preaching of the gospel yesterday.

This is how Thorn explains this idea:

Fundamentally, the gospel is forgotten when it no longer functions as our ongoing hope and confidence before God, or when it becomes unessential for the practical, daily living of the Christian life. The gospel we often forget must be reclaimed and retained for the safety of our souls, and this is done through preaching the gospel to ourselves.

Preaching the gospel to ourselves is calling ourselves to return to Jesus for forgiveness, cleansing, empowerment, and purpose. It is answering doubts and fears with the promises of God. Do my sins condemn me? Jesus has covered them all in His blood. Do my works fall short? Jesus’ righteousness is counted as mine. Are the world, the devil, and my own flesh conspiring against me? Not even a hair can fall from my head apart from the will of my Father in heaven, and He has promised to care for me and keep me forever. Can I really deny myself, carry my cross, and follow Jesus? Yes, for God is at work in me, willing and working in me for His own pleasure. This is what it looks like to preach to ourselves.

This private and personal preaching can only happen when the Word of God is known and believed; when God’s law reveals our sin and helplessness, and His grace covers that sin and overcomes our weaknesses. Preaching the gospel to ourselves is not simply the act of studying the Bible (though we can preach to ourselves in that act), but it is actively calling ourselves to believe the promises of God in Jesus His Son.

To read the full article, visit the Ligonier link above.

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