It’s Holy Week, and professing Christians are dutifully reminding themselves that people who normally sleep in on Sundays will be visiting their churches. These visitors will also feel dutiful, of course. And neither group particularly looks forward to another presentation of the Gospel, though they all expect it.
True Christians will be more enthusiastic about hearing their pastors preach the Gospel, but even then they most likely will welcome it primarily in reference to the unsaved friends and/or family members they brought with them. Often, seasoned Christians feel confident in their understanding of the Gospel, and want to progress to “deeper” subject matter. I say this from personal experience.
The truth is, all of us, no matter how mature we imagine ourselves to be in Christ, constantly need to hear the Gospel. We need to hear it from the pulpit. We need to read it online. And we need to preach it to ourselves. Daily!
The apostle Paul outlined the basic Gospel message in 1 Corinthians 15 as a prelude to his teaching on Christ’s resurrection and its implications for believers.
3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures,~~1 Corinthians 15:3-4 (ESV)
We know all that, we tell ourselves. But when we get caught up in the minutia of day-to-day living, we tend to push the Gospel out of our minds. Then the stress gets the better of us and we react in worldly ways. Unless our consciences have been seared (in which case we might want to ask ourselves if we really are regenerated), our sinful behavior will quite rightly lead us to despair.
In this despair, we remember who we are apart from Christ. Our wretchedness taunts us, reminding us that we deserve eternity in hell. For a moment, we stand horrified, wondering how we can rescue ourselves from ourselves.
Then the Holy Spirit graciously reminds us that Jesus died even for sins we commit as Christians. He reminds us that Jesus rose from His tomb as evidence that God accepted His sacrifice and assurance that He will raise us up on the last day. The Gospel redirects our attention from our sinful actions to Christ’s glorious work on the cross.
We dare not suppose that we’ve grown beyond our need to hear the Gospel. We must absolutely cling to the Good News of Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection. We find hope in this amazing Gospel.