When I took my last class in high school, I had the privilege of walking across the stage and throwing my cap in the air. I had graduated high school.
Four years later—an even bigger accomplishment—I was blessed to do the same thing, except from college. And two years after that I had the distinct honor to graduate from seminary.
Each time, I had finished my courses; my schooling was complete. No more tests, grades, or required reading. No more late-night cramming, last-minute studying, or early-morning lectures. However, that doesn’t mean I was finished learning.
And it is the same with the gospel. If you are a Christian, that means you have repented of your sins and trusted in the finished work of Jesus Christ—you have believed the gospel! This single event is nothing short of a miracle—of God changing your old, stony heart with a live, fleshly one.
We may think we don’t “need” the gospel anymore because, well, we’re already saved. Friends, that is not so. I don’t need seminary education anymore—I met the requirements and shook Dr. Allen’s hand (shoutout to MBTS!). But I never stop learning the truths I learned there. Similarly, I may have believed the gospel for the first time, but I never stop believing it and applying it to my life.
Prevalent within evangelical culture is the notion that the gospel is only for unbelievers. This is tragically false. The gospel is for believers as well. We need it everyday.
There are (at least) three practical reasons why Christians need the gospel daily.
It’s too easy for us to fall back into the performance mindset. We have been saved by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8-9), but we still naturally tend to try to live the Christian life on our own power and strength. When that happens, one reaction is we become puffed up with pride.
“A proud faith,” Stephen Charnock once said, “is as much a contradiction as a humble devil.” Being prideful in our Christian walks is antithetical to the gospel. A “proud faith” is an oxymoron. When we are prideful as a Christian, we’re behaving more like the devil than Jesus. This is why we need the gospel everyday. When we forget the gospel, pride swells up and we lean on our own so-called “goodness.”
Becoming prideful is nearly impossible when we are intentional about remembering what God has done for us. We cannot be conceited or prideful when surveying the cross. We cannot pat ourselves on the back if we fixate our eyes on the agony that Jesus went through—because of our sin.
Each day I forget the gospel means I revert back to the old, sinful ways of trying to earn God’s favor on my own. Yes, for many people, that can lead to pride. But it leads to despair for many others. A feeling of I’ll never be good enough or Why should I even keep trying? Countless Christians feel the same struggle with sin that Paul felt in Romans 7.
Which, of course, is the point of the gospel! Friends, when we remember the gospel, we are reminded that we aren’t, in fact, good enough. We should stop trying to be good enough. Why? Because Jesus was, and is, more than enough—and if we are saved, than we are in Him! He is our righteousness.
Despair is eradicated from the human heart when the gospel is pounded into our mind each day. We know we can’t measure up—but Jesus does. We know we can’t earn God’s favor by our own volition—but Jesus did for us. We know we’d be doomed apart from Christ—thank God for the gospel!
We need the gospel everyday, more than anything, to progress more in holiness. In other words, we need to think about Jesus to be more like Jesus. Ponder the gospel; meditate on the gospel; study the gospel. Have the gospel be so utterly saturated in your mind and heart that the natural result is you becoming more like Jesus.
We become what we behold (2 Corinthians 3:17-18). The more we look at Jesus—the more we remember the gospel—the more we become like Him. What happens when we forget the gospel? We return to the muck and mire of our sin.
As a Christian, you should desire to become more like the one who died for you. You should not take your eyes off the gospel any day of the week. Wake up to the gospel. Talk about the gospel. Think about and read the gospel. Go to sleep pondering the gospel. Ultimately, that is the only thing that will keep you progressing forward in sanctification.
As you’ve surely heard it said before, We don’t graduate from the gospel. There will never be a point in time when you don’t need the gospel. We need to be “gospelized” each and every day.
If your heart ever grows cold to hearing the gospel, something’s wrong. Ask God to forgive you and help you be freshly renewed by the sweet aroma of the gospel.