So you’ve heard it all before. Celebrated a bunch of Good Fridays and Easter Sundays. Sang The Wonderful Cross a million times. Maybe even read all 4 gospels 100 times over, and the rest of the New Testament 50 times over. Surely it’s time to move on to more ‘spiritually mature’ topics. Let’s try to understand Jewish culture so we can understand the OT a little more. Let’s try to figure out what current events are referred to in Revelation. Let’s talk about doctrines of the Trinity and election and spiritual gifts and the will of God. Surely the gospel is only for evangelism or worth repeating for new believers.
This sort of thinking permeates the church today. I’m no exemption. I’ve experienced before what might be called ‘gospel exhaustion’ and in truth, often still do. If you wonder whether you suffer the same thing, ask yourself several of the following questions. Do you see the gospel as the central theme of the whole Bible? Do you get all excited when your pastor preaches the gospel as if you’re hearing it all over again for the first time? Is the gospel central to all your prayers? Do you think that the gospel is essential to both the mature Christian and the unbeliever? Do you see the whole of the Christian life as one shaped by the gospel? Does your heart warm and your mind race when you read the gospel? Are you saddened by believers who get so caught up in the so called ‘deeper doctrines’ of the Christian faith that they see the gospel as inconsequential? Does the gospel inform the way you live life and relate with other people? Do you find it difficult to keep from proclaiming the gospel to friends?
If you answer no to any of them, and these questions are certainly not exhaustive, then I would diagnose you as suffering from gospel exhaustion.
Let me get something clear from the outset. By gospel I mean the good news that Jesus, the Son of God, died for us so that we might live, was raised to life as proof of this, ascended to the Father’s right hand in heaven, and will come again to bring judgment against the wicked and restoration for his people.
Most of the time we see the gospel as the doorway into the kingdom of God. We see it as the gate of salvation and nothing more. What I wish to do over the next few posts is to show that the gospel is not only the gate of salvation, but the road of salvation and the song of the saved. We must dispel this gospel exhaustion that intrudes into the heart of every Christian, learn to see life through the lens of the gospel and see it as the eternal source of our joy.
We must learn to say from the depths of our soul the words of John Newton:
“I am a great sinner, but Christ is a great Saviour!”