Justin Perdue: Today on Theocast, we will be discussing preaching about the gospel. It’s been an observation that Jon and I have made many times that you will hear guys talk a lot about preaching the gospel. They will describe and give the facts of the gospel, but then will never actually offer the sinner Christ, and will never actually preach the grace of God in Christ by which sinners are saved. So there’s a lot of talking about the gospel, but not a lot of preaching the gospel legitimately. We’re going to consider that. In the members’ podcast, we talk about preaching sin and obedience in light of the gospel. We also talk about Chris- centered preaching: what it is and what it isn’t.
We hope this conversation is encouraging to you. Stay tuned.
Jon Moffitt: The title of this is “Preaching About the Gospel Versus Preaching the Actual Gospel.”
This is seen not in just one, the fundamentalist Baptist world, which I grew up in. We preached a lot about the gospel, but we’ve kind of assumed it, or it was that last thing preached in five points at the end, now come forward.
But then, this can be seen in broader evangelicalism and even in, unfortunately, Calvinistic, reformed churches where they will say, “We need to preach the gospel. We need to be standing firm on the gospel.” And then you have the whole gospel-centered movement, right? The gospel-centered parenting, gospel-centered career, we could just add them all in there.
And even in there, the gospel becomes something you do. It becomes a verb, and it becomes a point of action – we’re Gospeling – and not a truth that is to believe. It’s not good news. Today’s podcast is understanding the difference between preaching about the gospel – which happens a lot – and actually preaching the gospel.
There are many people who will say, I go to a church that preaches the gospel because they hear the word from the pulpit. Gospel. They hear that word. But to say the word does not mean you actually gave the truth that is centered in that word. So, what’s the difference?
If someone stands up and they say, “We need to preach the gospel.” And then they give the facts of Jesus’s life – his virgin birth, his life, miracles, death, resurrection. They give you all of those facts, and then they even give you the facts of the frailty of men, the depravity of men. That’s all great. That is a part of the gospel. But if you never get to the thing that sets it apart from it every other religion…
I’ll tell you this right now: Catholics, for the most part, are going to believe in the virgin birth, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. They’re going to believe in that. They’re going to believe that Jesus is the great High Priest. They’re also, in some respects, going to believe that all human beings are sinners. That doesn’t separate you from a Roman Catholic. What separates us from anyone out there, including Mormons, Jehovah’s witness, Catholics, what makes us evangelical is that Jesus Christ – his death, birth, and resurrection – is presented to humanity, to the sinner, as a free gift of grace; zero requirements with no actions, no nothing on the response of the sinner other than that they receive and believe. And even the ability to receive and believe is grace.
All is grace, grace, grace. So, if you preach the facts of Jesus, and you never present the truth of grace, which is the final cap end of the gospel, you actually never preached the gospel. You presented truth – and there’s a difference between presenting truth and presenting the gospel. I know it feels like we’re splitting hairs, but Justin, tell us why this is not splitting hairs.
Justin Perdue: I’m going to pick up on that word truth that you just threw out there, Jon. I have observed this many times as well, over the course of a number of years, where guys who are preaching in local church contacts or at conferences will get up and get very fired up about the truth. I’m talking like spit flying, wiping the sweat off the forehead, like we need to stand for truth and preach the truth and be unashamed of the truth and say the hard thing.
You and I are in complete agreement with that. We do want to be very precise and stand for the truth. And at the same time, there is this component that is so often missing from this truth proclamation. You get a lot of facts, a lot of dealing with the biblical texts, and concern for sound exegesis, but we never actually get to the point of the entire Scripture: that Jesus Christ, the God-Man, God the Son who took on flesh, came to do for sinful man what sinful man could never do for himself. And he came to fulfill God’s Law and atone for man’s sin and to accomplish everything necessary for our salvation.
And then like you already alluded to, Jon, nothing is left to be done other than to trust Christ, to rest in him, to look to him, to hope in him, to turn like that repentance piece. That metanoia change-of-mind piece is a change of mind about God and myself and about Christ and the way of salvation.
And so that’s incorporated in faith. But what are we doing? We’re casting ourselves upon the grace of God and Jesus Christ. What’s missing most pointedly from so many sermons and from so many conference addresses is the thrust of the Bible that’s encapsulated so beautifully in Isaiah 55:1 where God offers to sinners, out of His own grace and mercy, what we need for free. It costs nothing. It doesn’t require anything of us. Isaiah 55:1, the Lord speaks to the prophet, “Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.” That’s the invitation.
And it’s all of grace. It’s unmerited. You could never earn it. You could never do it. And God says, “Here it is in my Son and it’s free.” And in Isaiah 43:25 he says, “I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will remember your sins no more.” It’s not a message of guilt. You and I were talking about this before we hit the record button.
It’s so terrible when the gospel, as its so-called, comes across as this message of guilt. This fires me up, too: when people talk about the total depravity of man as part of the gospel, or we’ll talk about the holy righteous requirements of God as part of the gospel. I’m thinking, “Look, you need to be more. You’re all about precision and truth. You need to get it right. The gospel is not any of that.”
As the message about the depravity of man is in the Bible. The message about the Law is in the Bible. God is holy and righteous and requires perfection and all that. That’s all there. The gospel though, is simply the message of Jesus and what he has done in the place of sinners that is to be trusted. And when we trust him, all is well. We have peace with God, and we have been reconciled to him. Don’t call the Law gospel. Don’t call depravity the gospel. Don’t call all of these things the gospel.
The gospel is Christ crucified for sinners, fulfilling the Law for sinners, taking his life up again, and securing the resurrection of sinners all by faith, grounded in the grace of God.
Jon Moffitt: It can’t be good news if you add to the truth and the facts of Jesus’ life that this is given to you as a gift from the Father by grace, meaning that it is a merited favor.
The good news of the gospel is mercy – you don’t receive what you deserve – and grace – you’re receiving what you don’t deserve. That is the gospel. When someone preaches 45 minutes about the gospel or even on the gospel, they preach the gospel, and they do not emphasize the point that they need to drive home. The point that they do not try to clarify for the heart. The most confusing part of the gospel.
Religions have been confusing grace for thousands of years now. This is why we differ from Rome because Rome does not believe in gracefully. Let me clarify this. Rome does believe in grace; they absolutely do. And so if you ever say, “Roman Catholics don’t believe in grace.” They do. They just don’t believe it’s enough.
Justin Perdue: They believe that we have to cooperate with the grace of God in order to be saved.
Jon Moffitt: Right. So let me give you some examples of this. When someone is preaching about the gospel, and you get done hearing the gospel, and you feel guilty or dirty or ashamed, or you have no assurance. If someone finishes preaching the gospel and you lack assurance, I wonder if they actually preached the gospel to you. Because the kindness of God is meant to lead us to repentance. The glory of Christ is supposed to draw us more into his love, not push us away. It’s supposed to remove all fear and doubt, not create fear and doubt. And a lot of preaching today, even the guys who are Calvinistic and reformed, will preach the gospel, and at the end of it, I feel dirty because I have not lived up to whatever standard. Because what they actually are collapsing is the implications of the gospel. What happens after one is transformed with the actual gospel. One cannot be said without the other. You cannot collapse those.
What happens to the transformed life is not good news. That’s the implication of it. That’s what ends up happening, right? So for instance, what happens if you jump into a pool? What ends up happening to your body? You become very lightweight, right? You come to float. So part of being wet inside of a pool is the weightlessness, but if you’re wet, does that mean you’re always weightless? If I get wet, does that mean I’m weightless?
Justin Perdue: Of course not.
Jon Moffitt: Of course not. So, but this is what we end up doing is we automatically put two and two together. We automatically say one plus one equals two. So we think the implications of the gospel mean it’s the gospel. And then we collapse them and say, if you aren’t floating, then you are not saved.
The moment you begin to talk about repentance, you start talking about obedience as part of the one-to-one gospel. That is not good news. That is an implication of the gospel. So I know, Justin, you probably have a lot you want to say. I know this is probably confusing to some of you, and you are thinking, “What do you mean it’s not the gospel?”
This is what the point of this podcast is: clarifying what the gospel is and what is not the gospel.
Justin Perdue: A few thoughts. The first, just to put a bow on what we were talking about earlier: to reiterate the facts of Jesus’s life, even his life, death, and resurrection, to just state those things is not to herald the gospel. Until one has heralded the grace and mercy of God in Jesus Christ and invited the poor, sin-sick, wretched sinner to trust in Christ and to – without payment, for absolutely free – be justified and to be promised salvation forever with God, it’s not gospel preaching until you’ve done that.
But then I want to jump on what you just said, the implications of the gospel are not the gospel. This stuff is butchered in so many environments, many of which are Calvinistic, where you get guys talking about the demands of the gospel, for example. And you hear this language: the demands of the gospel, what Jesus demands of the world or what Jesus requires, etc.
Immediately, I want to just start jumping up and down and start screaming, “The gospel is a message about what Christ has done, not about what we must do. And last time I checked, even if we want to use that language of demand, there is maybe one demand of the gospel. And what is that? Believe it. “That’s it. Like full stop. Do you want to demand the gospel? Believe. Trust Christ.
Jon Moffitt: But even that, according to Ephesians 2, is a gift.
Justin Perdue: It’s a gift. No argument, Jon, on that. This whole demands of the gospel: there’s one – believe in Jesus. And you can’t do that on your own; God must grant that. He must give you the gift of faith. And even when it comes to repentance, I just want to be really clear that faith incorporates repentance; they go together, and God gives both. It’s quite obvious that the change of mind that happens comes from the Lord, not from us. And when we’re looking to Christ, we are necessarily looking away from our own goodness and our own merit when we’re trusting in Jesus. That’s something that’s going to continue to go on in our lives. God is the one who repents us. God is the one who grants faith.
I see this to be a problem, as you do too, where the entailments of the gospel, the demands, implications, and all of this are preached as part and parcel of the good news. As soon as we start to include in our gospel presentation transformation of life in any way, we have lost the good news of the gospel.
Inevitably and inherently, we are now pointing sinners to look to the transformation of their own lives for the ground of their confidence before God. We can’t do that. When we talk about a good works sort of obedience, or we talk about these implications of the gospel and the entailments of it, we want to be really clear that the question is not, “Are we to do good works in Christ?” Of course, we are. The question is not, “Are we to pursue obedience in Christ?” Of course we are. The question is why, “Why do we do good works? Why do we pursue obedience?” And that’s where this thing goes off the rails.
So often, the why is misunderstood, misrepresented, and it’s poorly taught, which results in bondage and not freedom. It results in a bunch of dread and guilt, not delight and joy. There’s no peace. We’re always chasing after something that we can never quite attain. And like you said, John, if you come away from a sermon and your initial takeaway is guilt and condemnation – that you’re not good enough there is no way you’re going to make it to heaven and Jesus is going to tell you to depart from him – if that’s your takeaway, I don’t think you’ve heard the gospel. Because the reaction to the gospel is, “This is unbelievable. This is a scandal. You’re telling me that I am as wretched as I am and that I’ve broken all of God’s commandments, and I’ve never really kept any of them, and I still struggle with my own corruption, yet God has counted to me – because of His grace, by faith in His Son – the perfect satisfaction, righteousness, and holiness of Jesus. That’s mine. You’re telling me that. You’re telling me that God has blotted out my sin, and He’ll remember it no more. He looks at me and says, ‘Righteous.’ Are you telling me that? That is scandalous mercy.” That’s the reaction.
Jon Moffitt: I’m still thinking of the virus. There are going to be people who get to a place where they have nothing. If someone walks up and says, “I have nothing. I’m in need. I cannot live on my own. I have nothing to survive on unless someone gives me something.” And I go inside my house, walk back out and say, “I have great news for you. Great news. I have an entire house full of water and food and shelter, and it is yours. As long as you can pay some monthly rent.” That’s not good news. Not to the person who has nothing.
Justin Perdue: I was going to say not if you don’t have any money.
Jon Moffitt: That’s right. It’s not good news. Now they might think, “Thanks for offering. How much money? Because I have nothing and I can’t even go into debt cause I’m already in debt. I’m in so much debt, I can’t get out of the debt.”
That’s why when someone hears the gospel, and they hear, “It’s all yours. You can have all of it.” There’s the difference. The Father walks out of the house and says, “Not only am I going to give this to you, but I’m going to make you a part of my family so that you forever will never run out, and you will be owned by Me. Which means you get all of My name, and with My name comes My reputation, and with My reputation comes all that exists that’s within Me that now that’s good news.” He not only just gives you what you need, He takes you in, and He transforms you, and He brings you into his family.
Not only do you receive mercy and grace, but you are then receiving a wonderful gift called the transformation of life. The transformation of life is a wonderful gift, but it is not the message of the gospel. It is an implication of the gospel. It’s a result of what you are. The danger is someone will say, “Unless you are transforming your life, you are not in the gospel.” That is a byproduct. It’s like yelling at somebody, “Unless you are moving 65 miles an hour, you cannot be a Christian.” You have to be in the car in order to be moving 65 miles an hour. Wow. And we’re telling people they must be doing this and that. If they’re not doing that, there’s something wrong. That’s cart before the horse here.
Justin Perdue: Just like we can’t believe and trust in Jesus apart from God giving us that faith out of his grace, the same is true when it comes to the transformation of life: you will never do that apart from God’s grace. It cannot happen. You can’t change your own heart. You can’t transform your own life. As you said, it is an outflow of the good news, and God is the one who does it; He is the one who changes you.
We start to tell people to believe in Jesus – which we should as we should call men to believe – and then we want to preach about how we are to live. There are plenty of words in the Bible about how we are to live together, especially in the corporate context of the church and how we love each other. But to preach that to men as though they can do it is absolutely deluded. There are a few of those.
I had a conversation last week with a woman at the CrossFit box. She knows I’m a pastor and so she comes up to me before class. We’re all there a few minutes early, just loosening up and everything. She goes, “I have a philosophical question for you.”
I said, “Sure. Happy to try to answer it.” And she starts to talk to me about how she goes to a church in the area, or at least has been checking it out a little bit and had questions about the nature of the gospel. She goes, “Help me to understand this. If we were to murder somebody and we believe in Jesus, we’re still saved.” Basically, if we were to do something really terrible, are we lost? And I said to her, “Where we have to start is to understand that there is no net or degree of heinousness of a particular sin. There is no duration of a person remaining in sin that necessarily means that they’re not a Christian. Christians struggle mightily with their own corruption and do extraordinarily evil things at points. Here’s the message of the gospel: the message of the gospel is that Jesus is our righteousness and that Jesus has atoned for our sin, and that we are looking away from ourselves into him completely for the ground of our confidence before the Lord and for our standing before God.”
And so, we can do all kinds of terrible things, and yet God keeps us looking to Christ, and we are safe. She’s interested. We’re talking about all that. How could that be? How could that be that Jesus has done all this stuff? And so, we started to talk a little bit about the fall of man and Adam and how everything that we lost in Adam, we have in Jesus by faith that he came to succeed every way that Adam failed.
And so, by trusting in Christ, we are now in Jesus. And we are taking shelter in Christ, and he is our representative. His perfect record is counted to us. We had this conversation over the course of five minutes before a CrossFit workout, and she just looks at me at the end of it, and she says, “You know, I’ve never thought about any of that. This is amazing.” It is. It is absolutely incredible that we are in Christ Jesus, and his record is counted to us; he protects us and shields us from the righteous anger and wrath of God that our sin deserves. He took it, and it’s over, and we’re safe—scandalous mercy.
We talk about the prodigal son so often, Luke 15:11-32, with good reason, because that’s another text that’s so often misrepresented. And the thing that I wanted to bring up today, which has been mentioned on Theocast before certainly, is when the prodigal son goes off and squanders his inheritance on foolish living, and he’s finally brought to a place where he’s eating the food that he’s feeding to pigs, there are all kinds of figurative stuff going on there for us to see. This is a horrible situation. He comes to his senses, and he starts to think, “I’m going to go back to my Father’s house, and here’s my pitch: I am going to offer myself to my Father as a servant. I’m going to tell him I’ve done all these things. I’m wrong. I don’t deserve anything from him. Here’s how I’m going to work, and I’m going to do what’s required so that I can just be a part of his house again.” And what happens when he goes? He doesn’t even get to that point. The Father runs to him, and the Father says, “Put my robes on him, clothe him in my garments, put my ring on his hand, and put shoes on his feet. Let’s celebrate because my child is home.”
We always have these notions that go, “If I just go back, if I repent, go back to God, do my penance, and I do what’s necessary, you know to appease God, He will be happy to have me as a part of His family again.” Whereas God won’t even hear that nonsense. He comes out, and he says, “There’s nothing that you could ever do. You’re here by my grace. You’re here. I’ve got robes of righteousness for you. I’ve got mercy for you. I want to celebrate with you and rejoice over you because my child who once was lost, is now come home.” That’s the good news.
Jon Moffitt: Let’s take it to the opposite side. We always use the illustration of the rich young ruler. He comes, and he asks Jesus a very important question: what must I do to inherit the Kingdom of Heaven?
So Jesus answers his question. He gives them good news. He tells him, “Oh, the good news is be perfect. Keep the Law.” And the young man says, “I’ve done that from my youth,” to which I would love to know what the thought of Jesus at that moment was. Of course, the disciples don’t know other than what Jesus just says. And he says, “Go sell everything that you have and come follow me.” Jesus was exposing this man’s heart, which was full of covetousness.
He did not want to give up, so he wasn’t sinless. Unfortunately, people spin this and say, “Unless you forsake everything and follow Jesus, you cannot be saved.” No. Jesus was saying, “You think you’re holding to the whole Law, you’re not. You have failed.”.
Justin Perdue: He turns the temperature up. He dumps the full weight of the Law on that man’s conscience. And the young man goes away dejected because he can’t do what Jesus has asked him to do, which is the point. And the disciples even are responding, “Okay, Jesus, who can be saved?” They’re despairing. Who can be saved?
And what does he say? “With man, it’s impossible. But with God, it’s possible.” How many times have we all heard the story of the rich young ruler preached, and the gospel is presented as surrender all for Jesus? Just like we’ve talked about before about affections and feelings when the gospel was presented, as you know, you need to desire and treasure Christ above all things.
To desire and treasure Christ above all things and to surrender all for Jesus are things that I want to do in my inner man, and I never do perfectly. And so, if that’s the good news, then the good news is not so good. It’s a law that condemns me because I could never meet the standard.
Jon Moffitt: The good news of surrendering all is surrender all your self-righteousness. When you hear Jesus Christ presented to you, the good news is you can give up on all requirements. You can just hand it over. You don’t need it. It’s not necessary. Not only do you not need it, it’s offensive. If you try and bring it, just give it away.
Justin Perdue: It’s like Paul in Philippians 3, where he talks about not having a righteousness of our own. In Philippians 3:1, I love this language, where he said, “to write the same things to you again is no trouble for me and is safe for you.” And then where does he go from there? He starts to talk about righteousness according to the Law and then righteousness according to faith in Christ. So, he is again beating this drum. “I was a rock star pharisee. If we’re going to talk about righteousness according to the Law, nobody had more than me. But I consider it rubbish. I counted it as nothing.” If you want to surrender at all, do this: follow Paul’s example in this where he says the righteousness that he had, which was substantial. He threw it away because it was trash. It was absolutely worthless because he has now come to have righteousness by faith in Christ.
And it’s what Jesus did for me. That is my righteousness so that I might be resurrected. It’s remarkable. So the “surrender all” is not to give away all your stuff though, though there may be times where we’re giving stuff away. That’s fine. And we were told not to covet and be greedy and the like. Sure. You and I both agree about that. But the surrender almost fundamentally is to let go of your own notions of your own goodness. It’s turn from not just your sin but turn from your own good works and look to Christ.
Jon Moffitt: This even goes back to another famous passage, which is unless you forsake mother, Father, brother, sister, and follow me, you cannot be my disciple. So, it’s another example. The gospel is abandoning all and following Jesus. And you have to ask, “Is that really good news that Jesus is presenting? As anyone ever abandoned everything for the sake of God or for the sake of Jesus? Has anyone ever done that?”
No. Let’s just trump it all right here. The greatest commandment His love God with all your heart, soul, and mind, and strength. Have you ever loved God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength? I will tell you: not for a second.
I’ve had people argue with me on that, and I said, “Listen, there is no way your heart is still left within sin that God did not remove that from you yet.”
Justin Perdue: There’s never a moment where your heart, in the corruption that remains in it, does not taint everything that you’re doing, thinking, feeling. It’s always mixed. It’s never pure.
Jon Moffitt: That’s right. So, Jesus, what he is going after are people who are trying to mix Law and gospel. They’re trying to achieve that “if I do this, then I will be accepted by Jesus” and Jesus, again, always takes the volume level that you have it at, which is a five, and he says, “I’m going to turn to at ten that pierces your ears.” He says, “You want to do it by the Law, then here it is by the Law. You cannot mix me with anything else. It doesn’t work that way. This is why Paul says such strong language to the Galatians when he says, “Why would you think that you could mix back in obedience to the Law with grace?”
It’s no longer grace. You drop one little granule of the Law into the ocean of grace, and it’s no longer the gospel. Do you think that’s extreme? It’s not. One salt granule of Law mixed into the ocean of grace removes hope because the moment you make any requirements, it’s no longer good news to the person in debt. It is not good news.
Justin Perdue: And it’s no longer grace because you have now introduced, even if it’s a twinge, it’s still a twinge of merit. There is something there that the sinner must be doing. Even if it’s just small, if it’s 1%, we have now removed this from the category of grace and unmerited favor.
Jon Moffitt: How else can Paul say there’s no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus? Because if there is a requirement to be met by a Christian, I promise you, you will fail that requirement. Therefore, you will be under condemnation.
Justin Perdue: You are all condemned if there’s a requirement.
And now some of us are deluded into thinking that we’re better than we are, but in our sane moments when we are given a glimpse into our own sinfulness, we realize that if any of this depends on my performance or my affections or any of those things then I am without hope and I’m going to be lost forever.
I’m thinking about Jesus and his words at the end of Matthew 11, these verses Matthew 11:28-30, which in large part inspired the tagline of Theocast, “encouraging weary pilgrims to rest in Christ.” This is where Jesus calls to himself, “Come to me all you who are weary, burdened, and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.” And he tells them to take his yoke upon them because his yoke is easy, and his burden is light. And that language of the yoke is a reference to the Law. It’s like, “You’ve been bearing this yoke of the Pharisees and all of these heavy burdens that are being placed upon you. Come to me because the yoke that I will put upon you is easy. And the burden that I will put upon you is light. If you’re weary, come to me.” It’s just like the words of Isaiah 55; it’s just like the language of Revelation 21, “Come and drink of the water of life without payment.” That’s the bidding of Jesus.
If you’re listening to a sermon or you’re listening to a message, and there is more burden being put on you, it’s not the gospel. It’s not Christ. If you’re listening and the weak are being pounded, it’s not Jesus, and it’s not the gospel. If bruised reeds are being broken, it’s not Jesus, and it’s not the gospel. If smoldering wicks are being put out, it’s not Jesus, and it’s not the gospel. Often I think that the messages that we hear that are claiming to be Gospel-centered and Christ-centered end up doing those very things: demands and burdens are all over the place, and doubt is introduced; insecurity is introduced. And those who are bruised reeds are being snapped in half.
You were talking about a time in seminary where there was a guy who got up in the preaching class and more or less just lambasted everybody with Law, and your professor stands up. And his first comment is, “Is there no balm in Gilead?” That’s how I think you and I sometimes feel when we, and I trust many who are listening to the show feel this way, are hearing a message you feel, “My goodness, is there no balm in Gilead?”
Where? Where’s the balm? Where is Christ for me?
Jon Moffitt: In the members’ podcast, we’ll spend time talking about the difference of preaching against sin, which we – Justin and I – do. As a matter of fact, it’s my responsibility as the preacher of the Bible to accurately preach the whole counsel of God. In doing so, I will lead people to feel guilty of their sin, and I will press down in on that. You should feel guilty for the lack of love and for lust, anger, pride, and all of that. You should. You should just feel horrible about that. And then the gospel comes in and brings relief, right? That’s where you repent of your sin and find joy.
This is why every week we do a prayer of confession. We confess that which we feel guilty for. I feel guilty for my sin because I have violated my relationship with my Father, who has graciously adopted me and called me into his own. And I treated it like trash. I treat it as if he could be consumed and thrown into the wastebasket.
And then he says, “Repent of that and find joy.” This leads us to 1 John 2 – the gospel. He is as faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. That’s great. If you do not emphasize grace, you do not emphasize the gospel.
Justin Perdue: I just wanted to agree with you and add onto what you’re saying about how you and I both believe in and do preach about the horror of sin, and want to help our people understand, as we preach the whole counsel of God, how bad our sin is and how horrible it is for our lives.
I’m thinking about Paul’s language. 1 Timothy 1:8 says, “Now we know that the Law is good if one uses it lawfully,” and that’s what you and I are after.
Whenever we’re talking about sin, we’re speaking in categories of law. And so, the three uses of the law are always in view when I’m preparing a sermon, and I know they are for you too. Where first of all, preaching the horror of sin that we all might feel guilty for it, and we all might know how condemned we are, that we might run to Christ and know that we might trust Christ. Thank God for Jesus.
Then also, I’m helping people see how sin has never led anywhere good. Sin has never done anything good for them in their lives. If you pursue this, brothers and sisters, it will end up in wreckage and ruin and disaster. And if we pursue this, God has told us that it will not be good for us. We always talk in these terms.
We’re also thinking in Christ Jesus, let us, by the Spirit, by grace, pursue obedience and conformity to God’s word. It’s like, “Lord, give me grace that I might not sin and give me grace that I might live onto you. Give me grace that by that, I might be confirmed. Continue to work in me and conforming to the image of Your Son.” We’re always thinking in these terms and preaching in these ways, but never do we collapse those categories to where that transformation or even sin is bad. You know that is not the gospel. The gospel is, again, Jesus and his work and the place of the sinner.
We’re looking outside of us to save what’s wrong in us, and we’re resting in Christ. That’s the good news.
Jon Moffitt: We’ll definitely have more to say. We are out of time, my friend.
Justin Perdue: One thing that I want to want to talk about, maybe we’ll touch on this in the members’ area if we have time, is the guys that will champion Christ-centered preaching and never actually offer Christ to sinners.
Jon Moffitt: Let’s do it. Let’s jump into the members and just do it. We may need to do a podcast on that as well.
Justin Perdue: We do. All right. So, it’s my job, and I’m failing miserably, brothers and sisters, friends, in trying to wrap this show and to get us over to the members’ area.
Thank goodness there’s grace for me. Thank you for listening to this episode of Theocast. We hope that it been of some encouragement to you as you think about the work of Christ for you, and you think about the safety that is yours by faith through the grace of God and Jesus. And so, we’re going to make our way, Jon and I, over to the members’ podcasts. You might be listening, and you’re thinking, “I don’t even know what that is.” The members’ podcast is an additional podcast that we offer to our members every week. You can go over to Theocast.org, our website, and find more information about our total access membership there.
We’re still offering a two-week free trial on that membership so that you can kick the tires and see what all this additional content is. Give the members podcast a listen for a couple of weeks and determine if you want to become a member. So, avail yourself of that, and for our members, we will talk with you in just a moment. We are heading over there. We’ll see you there.