"You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, 2 and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also." 2 Timothy 2:1-2
“Does Jesus want your heart only for the same end as the devil does, to make you miserable? No, he only wants you to believe on him that you might be saved. This, is all the dear Savior desires to make you happy that you may leave your sins, to sit down eternally with him.” George Whitfield (1714-1770)
The apostle Paul looks back to the example of Onesiphorus (1:15-18) and underscores the privilege of understanding and living out of the gospel of grace. He tenderly exhorts Timothy to continuously be strong by the power of Christ through the means of understanding the gospel of grace.
We should be wary of the fatal tendency of taking the gospel of grace for granted while we major on what can be done in the name of Christ. It is easy to become quasi-gospel amnesiacs instead of rejoicing in the daily liberating power of “the gospel that is done.” (It is finished! John 19:28-30)
John Wesley (1703-1791 ) at the age of 34/35 experienced a profound awakening to the gospel of grace. “About a quarter before nine, while he was describing the change which God works in the heart through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone for salvation; and an assurance was given me that he had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death.” (May 24, 1738, at Aldersgate Street, London)
The Gospel of Grace:
1. “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost.” (John Newton) In order to understand and appreciate the gospel of grace, I must be continuously aware of the sinfulness of my own heart in comparison to the exorbitant mercy of the love of the Lord. (Matthew 5: 21-32); regarding anger, lust, and marriage.
2. “But now am found; was blind but now I see” the glory of salvation. (Colossians 1:21-22)
How to keep the gospel fresh and full of energy:
1. REBELIEVE the gospel of ‘done’ daily. Begin each day with Jesus’s cry from the cross, "It is finished!”
2. Restudy continuously the wonder of salvation (imputed righteousness). (2 Peter 1:12)
3. Rejoice in the shepherding goodness of Jesus (Luke 9:23-27,Matthew 7:7-11) “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31)
4. Intentionally choose a deliberate imbalance regarding the intake of news/podcasts/reading. We should spend the vast majority of our time with that which is wholesome and inspirational compared to that which is dispiriting and puerile/silly.
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” Philippians 4:8
1. What does it mean to be wary of taking the gospel of grace for granted or giving the wonder of the cross only a passing glance (gospel amnesiacs while we major on the duties of the Christian life)?
2. Why is the gospel of grace a melody that should capture the heart and elevates living?
3. What do you say to someone who says, “I was raised in a Christian home and have never done really bad things, therefore my appreciation of the gospel is not as great as that of known, notorious sinners”?
4. What was the result of the awakening of John Wesley’s heart on Aldersgate Street in 1738?
5. Of the four ways to keep the gospel fresh, which one seems most pertinent to your experience?
Wesley and Men Who Followed: Iain H. Murray
The Happy Christian: Ten Ways to Be a Joyful Believer in a Gloomy World: David Murray