After spending a couple chapters on the loss of a real sense of sin in our churches and society, and a discussion on the seriousness and malignancy of sin, Bridges gets to the good news of the remedy of sin found in the gospel. To make his point, Bridges uses the examples of slave-trader-turned-preacher John Newton and former-persecutor-turned-apostle Paul as men who were keenly aware of their radical sinfulness and need for forgiveness found through their Savior.
Both men recognized in their respective lives that they were, and still are, great sinners – their sinfulness was never merely something from the past. As such, they never outgrew their need for the gospel – the forgiveness of sins found in Christ Jesus. Bridges uses these examples as springboards for discussing how the gospel is a remedy for our sins:
- The gospel plows the ground of our hearts so that we can see our sin
- The gospel prepares us to face sin by freeing us to do so by assuring us of forgiveness of our sin
- The gospel motivates and energizes us to deal with our sin and to put it to death
I find that the assurance I have of forgiveness of my sin is, in fact, freeing. Like Bridges mentions, this assurance encourages me and assures me that as one of God’s children, God is for me and not against me. It is “like he is coming alongside me, saying ‘We are going to work on that sin, but meanwhile I want you to know that I no longer count it against you.'”
Because I am a great sinner, and am in need of forgiveness each and every day, this thought is immensely encouraging, and it should lead (as Ken mentioned in an earlier post over at the church’s blog, and as Bridges points out here) to gratitude for what God has done, is doing, and will continue to do in my life through Christ. This cleansing of guilt through forgiveness of sins is only the first part of the discussion about gospel, though. The second part is the triumph over sin by the power of the Holy Spirit, which is the topic for the next chapter.
There was much more to this chapter that I didn’t have time/room to discuss (including the concept of preaching the gospel to yourself every day), so feel free to share your thoughts. For a brief tutorial on how to comment, click here.