“What does the gospel matter to my Christian life?” Or, in other words, “What do I do now? Do I still believe the gospel, or is the rest left up to me?” Everything, we are not saved by grace, by the work of Christ while we where still sinners, to them be left to earn our way, work to keep what Christ did for us.
Christ’s death was outside of me and for me. It is not primarily something that changes me. After one has been declared righteous by grace through faith, this grace will begin to change us (sanctification). God does all the work, the gospel applied to my life every day does the same work it did when I first heard it and excepted it. Accepted Christ, “being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;” Philippians 1:6
Any righteousness that we have, even in the Christian life, is a gift to us. It is not the result of our obedience, of our “victorious Christian living,” “living right”, or of our “letting go and letting God.” It’s Christ work alone and His righteousness alone.
Anybody who is in Christ is sanctified, because Christ’s holiness is imputed to the Christian believer, just as Jesus says in John 17:19, “For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.” God sees the believer as holy.
In Romans 6 we read we are saved unto good works, not unto licentiousness. That takes away both the license to sin, continue in sin and believe we must do works to make ourselves acceptable to God. Good works are done out of thankfulness of heart by the believer who has been saved, not by one who is trying to be saved by following the law.
The only way out is an exposition of the Scriptures that has to do with law and gospel-an exposition of the Scriptures that places Christ at the center of the text for everybody, including the Christian. All of the Bible is about him. All of the Bible is even about him for the Christian!
This is the gospel message. It’s just as important for Christians to believe for their sanctification as it is for pagans to believe for their justification; for it is the same message, the same salvation, the same work of God. It’s just as important for the evangelical church today as it was for the reformers in the sixteenth century. Without this simple, but mind-boggling message, there is no hope, not for the sinner nor for the saint.
That truth grabbed hold me, God hit me like lightning with that statement. That I am preaching to myself daily.