It’s likely you’ve heard the admonition to “preach the gospel to yourself.” But do you have a practical, systematic way for doing that? What do you say when you preach the gospel to yourself?
Preaching the gospel to ourselves means allowing our thinking, emotions, and responses to daily be shaped by the truth of the gospel.
The gospel message about Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection has the ability to enrich us and make us wealthy in mind and spirit, word and deed (see Colossians 3:16). Yet if we have little grasp on how to effectively let it, we miss out on the power it holds.
In this series, we hope to give you practical help in preaching the gospel to yourself. We’ve pulled key gospel concepts and compiled them into a list of words, such as justification, redemption, and sanctification. Don’t let the big words scare you because we’ve explained them! We’ve also summarized each of these powerful truths in a useable way.
We hope this series will deepen your grasp on the gospel and give you verbiage for what to say when you preach the gospel to yourself.
How to use this series:
To begin, scroll down to read my post on the word “justification.” Then visit each of the links for more gospel words. Take notes while you visit! You may want to bookmark this page because you’ll probably want to come back here often.
Justification by Arabah (see below)
Sanctification by Jen
Redemption by Rebekah
Reconciliation by Kathy
Regeneration by Marci
Atonement by Leah
Adoption by Kerry
Consecration by Kimberly
Gospel Word: Justification
If you’ve ever felt inadequate, condemned, shamed, less than, or not enough, justification is your knight in shining armor, here to rescue you and safely deliver you from shame and self loathing. It is such an important word to understand that some have called it the Mt. Everest doctrine of the Christian faith.
Feelings of inferiority, deficiency, and shame are all rooted in one universal truth: we have all sinned and fallen short of God’s glory.
This is our universal problem. Some of us live with more consciousness of it than others, but if we allow it, every mistake, every shortcoming, every sin, every flaw and imperfection, reminds us that we are deficient and have fallen short of God’s glory.
We live with the consequences of our shortcomings now. All those negative feelings are one of them. Future consequences are even worse. Eternal condemnation. Judgement. God’s wrath and fury. Like it or not, the Bible clearly teaches the wages of sin is physical and spiritual death. (See Romans 6:23)
This is obviously a big problem. So what do we do with it?
The only answer to this universal need is what we call justification.
What is Justification?
Justification means to be made right. Specifically, it means to be declared righteous in the sight of God. I don’t know about you, but that sounds really, really important to me. Like essential.
This is not an act upon our nature, like changing a fish into a hamster, or changing a bad person into a good person. (Other gospel words deal with the need for a change in our nature, so be sure to read all the other posts in this series!)
Rather, justification means “to be declared righteous.” This means to be considered (or thought of) as righteous. Do you want God to think of and consider you as righteous?
That’s what justification does. It is an alteration of how God views us. To be justified by God means that at a specific point in time, God altered His view of me… of you… and considered me and you to be righteous.
Sadly, people get confused as to how this actually happens. They thrive on concocting ways to be justified before God. Some justify themselves by ignoring their consciences and ultimately silencing them. Some adopt low views of sin and high tolerance of it in order to justify themselves. Some work hard and adhere to a system of works, rules, and deeds in order to justify themselves.
And some walk around weak and full of shame because they cannot deny their conscience or God’s law, but neither can they accept the truth offered in the gospel.
The Only Way to Be Justified
In the first three chapters of Romans, the apostle Paul establishes well our universal sin problem and the need for justification. Then he says in Romans 3: 21,23-24:
“But now, apart from the Law, the righteousness of God has been made known.
For all have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God, but now they are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.”
Them are shoutin’ words there. God has made a way for us to be justified apart from the Law. Apart from works. Apart from lowering our standards and tolerating sin. Apart from walking around with our eyes downcast due to shame.
God has made a way for us to be justified freely by His grace… and that way is through the work of Christ Jesus.
This is called justification by faith. God sent His own Son, Jesus, to die for our sin and shortcomings in order to give us His own righteousness. We are justified in God’s sight when we place our trust in Jesus Christ alone, simply trusting our need for justification was taken care of through the work of Jesus Christ.
Justification is a gift.
What does that mean for us?
So maybe you know all of this but still can’t see how it relates to your daily life. How does this justification word practically affect my life and identity?
Well let’s use an example of, say, mommy guilt. Let’s say I’ve yelled at the kids a few times, not given them my attention when they needed it, wasted time on the internet, given my husband the cold shoulder, and borrowed bill money to buy pizza because I didn’t feel like cooking dinner.
On top of that, the accuser of the brethren is having a heyday with all my failures and is hounding me about what a loser I am, how I don’t hold a light to so and so, how much I should be ashamed of myself, and besides, what right do I have to teach anybody anything?
Enter our little gospel word justification.
Justification says that God considers me righteous because of the work of Jesus Christ. Therefore, I can preach the gospel to myself like this:
“Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies (Romans 8:33). Yes, I have sinned today. I have been selfish and lazy and rude and wasteful. I have failed to keep God’s moral law and failed to love my family. Nevertheless, God’s Word says that God justifies the ungodly (Romans 4:5), apart from works of the law (Romans 3:21). God justifies the one who places her faith in the work of Jesus Christ.
I therefore, in simple trust, cast myself upon the work of Christ and the provision of the cross as my only hope. I receive the gift of God and trust that in spite of my sin, I have been justified by faith and am at peace with God (Romans 5:1).”
And I can go to bed happy and joyful and pure of heart knowing my sin, my universal need, has been taken care of in Christ.
Key Verse to Memorize:
“And to the one who does not work but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness.” Romans 4:5
SOS Summary (What to preach to yourself):
God justifies the ungodly. I have been justified by faith. I am at peace with God.