Recently I have been doing some thinking about lessons I have learned in Bible College and Seminary. This Fall will mark four years I have been in Bible College and Seminary at Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary. These four years have been spent in the undergraduate and graduate level classes via distance education. Through these four years I’ve learned a number of lessons that I believe apply to all believers and some may only apply to Bible College or Seminary students or perhaps even those in a professional ministry setting. After giving it much thought about which topic, I would start this series on, I decided I would start with the Gospel. I want to be upfront that this series will be more practically oriented rather than a biblical treatment on the topics that I will discuss. I say this up front so you know that I will be speaking from what I have learned and also my experience.
It may seem rather obvious to start with the Gospel but I consider it necessary. In the four years I’ve been in Bible College and Seminary I’ve come to see the Gospel not in any way different than I have before I went to Bible College/Seminary but rather as more precious and more beautiful than I ever dared imagine. I’ve come to see more of the Gospel and not just on the question “What the Gospel is” but more on what the Gospel implies and demands.
Perhaps you reading this are like me, and grew up in the Church. Growing up in a local Church is an experience that I do not regret one bit even in my more rebellious years. I’m deeply thankful for the men and women who have spoken into my life over the years. Growing up in the Church for me meant I knew all the Sunday school answers and could recite them from memory and often did in my teenage years to justify myself and my behavior which was often poor. As I’ve grow in the Gospel since then I have hence come to realize how little I understand of the Gospel not to mention what it implies or even demands of me. In fact I have found the more I grow in my knowledge of the Bible I have come to see that I don’t know much at all and that there is much more still to know.
The Gospel is the good news that God saves sinners from sin and reconciles them to Himself giving them what they do not deserve—eternal life by crediting them with the gift of His righteousness. The Gospel is the announcement that God’s wrath has been propitiated or satisfied in the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. Furthermore the Gospel is the proclamation that Jesus offers new life to hearts of stone and makes them new through His death, burial and resurrection and then empowers them to live for Him by the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit.
Often times, I simply pause and reflect on the work God is doing in my life. During such times I think of the Gospel and what Christ has done on my behalf; how He has intervened in my life to provide for me or bring me out of a difficult situation. Whatever I may be thinking about during such times I cannot help but pause and thank God and praise Him for His work of grace in my life.
One of the biggest areas of growth in my time at seminary has been in the areas of recognizing the evidences of the Gospel and appropriating the truth of the Gospel into my own life. At the heart of both is the truth of preaching the Gospel to myself. I’ve been preaching the Gospel and the Word of God since I was sixteen years old in a variety of settings. Truthfully though it has only been in the past four or five years that I have been preaching the Gospel to myself, and it is still an area where I am learning, and I believe will continue to learn to do better till the day I die and go be with Jesus. In words in seminary I’ve learned to love Jesus and His Word more deeply.
As I conclude this post today, I want to thank Jesus for the opportunity to serve Him and make Him known. Finally I want to thank my wife Sarah. The Lord has used my wife Sarah in amazing ways in my life. I want to publicly thank her for her support of my calling from God, and also for the sacrifices and hard work she has put in during these four years. I thank God for her and often tell my wife how appreciative I am of all she has and will do for me.
Having a good godly wife who loves Jesus and His Church is quite simply in my opinion the best gift outside of the gift of salvation. Sarah my sweetheart you are a woman who loves Christ, His Church and the Gospel. I am deeply thankful to Jesus for you, and I want to publicly thank you for all the help you have offered in editing my papers, praying for me on hard days, and especially for putting up with all my “theological rants and discussions”. I love you more everyday and every day I am more thankful that the Lord gave me you as my wife. I love you sweetheart.