C.J. Mahaney gives five ways that one can preach the Gospel to themselves. First, keep the Gospel the main thing, second, pray the Gospel, third, sing the Gospel, fourth review has the Gospel has changed you, and finally, study the Gospel.[1] Dr. Piper notes that, “The gospel of Christ crucified and risen is meant to be preached to our soul–both in corporate worship where we hear it week after week, and from hour to hour as we preach it to ourselves in the daily fight for joy…The cross must be central in the fight for joy. We must put ourselves under is preaching on the Lord’s Day, and we must preach it to ourselves all day every day”.[2]

Preaching the Gospel to oneself is a reminder that the Gospel is more than what initiates one’s salvation. The Gospel is an ongoing activity which the believer must believe and live every day of our Christian lives for, because it makes one more like Christ. The Gospel saves the believer (moves them from spiritual death to spiritual life) and also sanctifies them (progressively becoming like Christ).

One doesn’t become a Christian by faith, by cleaning oneself up, by works, by effort, or by trying harder. Christ is the one who clears up the sinner- change happens when the believer clings to and embraces Him in faith. In other words the believer is justified by faith alone in Christ alone, so too they are engaging in a process of being sanctified by Christ.

The Gospel helps believers’ to see their sinful responses, recognize it for what it is by revealing the need to repent and believe (Mark 1:15). To preach the Gospel to oneself means that as a believer one faces up to one’s own sinfulness and then flee to Jesus through faith in His shed blood and righteous life.  Preaching the Gospel to oneself means that one appropriates again by faith, the fact that Jesus fully satisfied the law of God, that He is your propitiation, and that God’s holy wrath is no longer directed toward you.[3]

Preaching the Gospel to oneself means that one takes at face value the precious words of Romans 4:7-8. It means that one believes on the testimony of God found in Romans 8:1. It means one believe the truth of Galatians 3:13. It means one believes that Jesus forgave one of all his/her sins (Col. 2:13 [and now] “presents you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation” (Colossians 1:22).

Preaching the Gospel to oneself means dwelling on the promise that God has removed one’s transgressions from one as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12), that He has blotted out one’s transgressions and remember one sin no more (Isaiah 43:25). It means realizing that all of these wonderful promises of forgiveness are based upon the atoning death of Jesus Christ.

Preaching the Gospel to oneself means preaching the Cross. The Gospel is the means by which the Christian has been saved, and by which one must live every day. Paul in Romans 3:24 teaches that one is justified by grace, referring to what one might call the point-in-time salvation, the day one trusted in Christ. Paul in Romans 5:2 spoke of “this grace in which we now stand.” Here he refers to the day-to-day standing before God as being on the basis of one’s justification- that is, on the basis of grace. This grace- unmerited favor to those who deserve wrath- comes to us through the Lord Jesus Christ.

God is the “God of all grace” (1 Peter 5:10) and is disposed to deal with people by grace, but not at the expense of His justice. With justice satisfied, God can now deal with sinners in grace, both in salvation and in one’s day-to-day relationship with Him. Preaching the gospel to oneself will help one seriously pursue holiness. Preaching the Gospel to oneself will cause one to realize what an awful sinner one is. If one is not firmly rooted in the gospel and has not learned to preach it to oneself one will soon become discouraged and slack off in one’s pursuit of holiness.

[1] C.J. Mahaney, Living the Cross Centered Life: Keeping the Gospel the Main Thing (Colorado, Multnomah, 2006), 132-145.

[2] John Piper, When I Don’t Desire God: How to Fight for Joy, (Wheaton, Crossway, 2004), 76-77.

[3] Jerry Bridges, The Discipline of Grace: God’s Role and Our Role in the Pursuit of Holiness (Colorado Springs, NavPress, 2006), 59.

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