Preach the Gospel to yourself every day.
— Jerry Bridges
As I consider Jerry’s statement as mentioned above, I first of all must ask myself this question. What is there about the Gospel that I need to be reminded of every day? It is obvious that my need is not partial. It is total. I need what will cleanse the guilt and paralysis of the past, provide power for the present and hope for the future. I am completely dependent upon the workings of His Grace in the Gospel to deal with the sins of the past, the sin nature that results in sins, and the law that condemns me the sinner.
In the Gospel I see that Christ “appeared so that he might take away our sins.” (I John 3:5) As Jerry once stated, Christ has “exhausted the wrath of God.” My sins are buried in the deepest sea, removed as far as the east is from the west, and in the Old Testament picture, carried by the scapegoat into the wilderness, never to be remembered again.
In the Gospel Christ has dealt with my sin nature. He has removed the source of sin, sin’s factory, in his death on the cross. “For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin.” (Romans 6:6)
In the Gospel I am removed from the curse of the law and its condemnation. In Romans 7:2 we read “So, my brothers, you also died to the law through the body of Christ.“ And in Romans 10:4 it says “Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.”
In the Gospel the past is gone. II Corinthians 5:17 states “the old has gone.” We have been set free, redeemed from our past by the “Last Adam,” Christ, who has taken all of the first creation down into His death, erasing forever its power to condemn, to control and to paralyze.
The power of the Gospel does not end with freedom from the past, it expands into freedom for the future. It does not just save us from, it save us for. When Christ was resurrected as the “Second Man,” a new creation, a new power, a new dynamic was placed at our disposal. It meets the need of the present and the future. This power, this virtue, this “Second Man” is now given to us as our life. He Himself enters into us to be our Righteousness, our Holiness, our Redemption, our Resurrection, our Living Bread, and our Living Water that supplies infinitely above and beyond every need we may experience throughout our day. He is the One who gives us His thoughts, His words, His deeds to express throughout the day. It is in His Righteousness that the demands of each day are met. It is in His Holiness that I am kept moment by moment. His resurrected life is now my life and He expresses it through me by the power of the Holy Spirit.
In the Gospel we are removed from the necessity of defeat and are given the power necessary for victory in our daily life. The conditions of victory are those summarized by G. Campbell Morgan as follows.
- Complete surrender to Christ.
- Patient and persistent training under the control of Christ in order to carry on the conflict.
- Determined conflict.
“Submission to Christ means that there must be no choice made anywhere or anywhen save after consultation with Him, that all knowledge must be submitted to the mastery of His mind, that emotion, whether it expresses itself as hate or love must be purified in the hot fire of His infinite love. Patient and persistent training under the control of Christ is the readjustment of all relationships because He is consulted in the choice. All this means that there must be determined conflict, the perpetual battle of surrender, the refusal to act apart from Christ.”
This Gospel delivers us from “the dominion of darkness” (Colossians 1:13 and delivers us to Him. “That you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit to God.” (Romans 7:2) This Gospel is Christ Himself, living in us, that we might say with the Apostle Paul in Philippians 1:21. “For to me, to live is Christ.”
May Christ so manifest His life in you so that He Himself is seen in and through your life as you preach this Gospel to yourself daily.