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Monday
Oct272008

Getting You Out of Bed in the Morning

Here’s a quote from Jerry Bridges in Stand: A Call for the Endurance of the Saints. Bridges’ chapter in this book is titled Four Essentials for Finishing Well. As he lists them, the second essential for finishing well is a daily appropriation of the gospel. When he was a new believer, he says, he thought of the gospel as a message for the unbeliever and did not see his own need for the gospel except as a message to share with unbelievers.

But believers, too, need the gospel, because we still have a natural tendency to try to build our relationship with God by our performance.

…[I]f you do not daily appropriate the gospel, you will drift toward a performance relationship with God. And when you do that, you lead yourself in one of two directions. If you have a very superficial view of sin in your life—that is, if you think of sin in terms of the big gross sins that society outside of us commits—then you will tend toward religious pride because you’re not doing those things. But if you are conscientious and if you’re seeing some of these “respectable” sins, such as gossip and pride, jealousy and envy and a critical spirit and these kind of things, if you’re seeing those in your life and you do not live by the gospel, that can lead you to despair. And so oftentimes people in this second category just kind of slack off because they can’t handle the tension. They can’t handle the difference between what they know they should be and what they honestly see themselves to be. And what resolves that tension is the gospel, which reminds us that our sins are forgiven and that we are clothed in the righteousness of Christ. At the same time, that which keeps us from spiritual pride is the gospel, because again the gospel is only for sinners. But we are all sinners, still practicing sinners, even though we’ve been delivered from the guilt and the dominions of sin. …[W]e still sin in thought, word, deed, and most of all in motive because we often do the right thing for a wrong reason or for a mixed reason….And so we come to the Lord and we say, “Lord, I come still a practicing sinner, but I look to Jesus Christ and his shed blood and his perfect obedience, his righteous life that has been credited to me. And I see myself standing before you clothed in his righteousness.”

That will get you out of bed in the morning. That will get you excited about the Christian life, when you see yourself daily clothed in his righteousness. And that will keep you from loving the world. You can’t love the gospel and love the world at the same time. So a daily appropriation of the gospel will keep you from getting off course.

…It is our sinful nature that thinks we must somehow earn God’s favor by our own hard work or our own faithfulness. Now we want to be faithful, we want to work hard, but not in order to earn God’s approval, but because we have God’s approval. And so a daily appropriation of the gospel is essential to enduring to the end.

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Reader Comments (4)

This is so true! How easy it is to slip into a performance mentality without the daily renewing of the mind in the Word of God! The Good News of the Gospel is simple enough for a child to understand by faith and yet so deep and rich and infinitely full that we will always have more to learn, more for which to stand in awe of God's great wisdom and grace and mercy toward sinners through Jesus Christ.

I listened to a sermon by Sam Storms several years ago (and I have listened to it several times since!) in which he developed Jonathan Edward's glorious vision of our eternal home in heaven with Christ and one of the points he made so eloquently is that even after we have been glorifiied together with Christ, we will not somehow finally have an exhaustive understanding and appreciation for Christ and His Work--no, we will have an eternity with Christ in which to discover more of the riches of His person and work for He is infinite in His being and there is no end to the glory of the Gospel of Christ.

Even in heaven we will never come to a place where we 'know it all.' Even when sin is no longer an issue, the Gospel will be sweet. The Good News will still be infinitely good!

October 28, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterKim from Hiraeth

Thanks for this gospel-themed excerpt. So rich and true.

October 28, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterLisa J

The Good News will still be infinitely good!

We never get beyond the gospel!

October 28, 2008 | Registered Commenterrebecca

Hi Rebecca,

What a great quote from Jerry Bridges - and so true. It's so easy to slip into despair when we realize how often we fall short of even our own standards let alone God's. What a relief to just acknowledge we need Him every moment of every day - the gospel is the great leveller. Thanks for sharing.

October 29, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterIslandsparrow

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