It might be beneficial to periodically take some moments to consider if, to some degree, we are functionally forgetting the gospel.
“Forgetting the gospel?”
Yep. As absurd as such a thing may sound, it is a very common spiritual issue for all of us.
Consider 2 Peter 1.3-9:
His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, 4 by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. 5 For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, 6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, 7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. 8 For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins.
What Peter is saying here, after reminding us of some of the implications of the gospel (v. 3-4), that we should be diligent about cultivating godly characteristics (v. 5-7) because this cultivation process is part of God’s means of producing spritual fruit in us (v. 8). Conversely, the absence of, or lack of, godly characteristic and/or spiritual fruit is not primarily from a lack of diligence, but due to a mental disconnect from the gospel (v. 9). Peter is not at all suggesting that we have lost our slavation. He is simply explaining that when we turn our attention from the gospel – that we have been “cleansed from our former sins” – the transforming power of the gospel is somewhat diminished in its potency. This forgetting the gospel is the cause of fruitlessness and lack of spiritual growth.
So it is a good idea to consider things like the following descriptions. If some of these apply, it may be an indication that at this point in time we are functionally forgetting the gospel.
- The gospel doesn’t interest you – or it maybe it does, but just not as much as some other religious subjects.
- You take nearly everything personally.
- You frequently worry about what other people think.
- You treat inconveniences like minor tragedies (or maybe even major tragedies).
- You are impatient with people.
- In general, you have trouble seeing the fruit of the Spirit in your life. (Galatians 5.22-23)
- The Word of God holds little interest.
- You have great difficulty forgiving.
- You are told frequently by your spouse, a close friend, or some other family members that you are too “clingy” or too controlling.
- You think someone besides yourself is the worst sinner you know. (1 Timothy 1.15)
- The idea of gospel-centrality makes no sense to you.
If we find some of these description appy, it is not reason to despair. The remedy is simply to remind ourselves of the gospel – ponder it; preach it to ourselves. (Gospel Primer by Milton Vincent is a good resource to remind us of the gospel.)
Remember: We renew ourselves in the gospel by reminding ourselves of the gospel.