Unpacking the Gospel

This is an edition of Milton Vincent's Gospel Primer written at a 6th-grade level for those who would not be able to access it as written. Please use it as the Lord allows, with glory to God and credit given to Pastor Milton Vincent.

A Gospel Primer written by Milton Vincent helped me understand the gospel and apply it to my life in a new way. Read one reminder of the gospel each day of the month along with the poem at the end. Take it slowly, read it over and over with the included Scripture. By God's grace you, too, will find freedom from self and sin as you see God’s love in the death, burial and resurrection of His precious Son, Jesus Christ.
1.      The New Testament Gospel
The New Testament teaches the gospel to both Christians and non-Christians. The Apostle Paul wrote to the Romans, telling them he was anxious “to preach the gospel to you who are at Rome.”[1] Of course he planned to preach to non-Christians who lived there, but he was writing to those who had already received the Lord Jesus as their Savior, the Church at Rome.
Paul wrote to believers in Corinth, “I make known to you the gospel, which you have believed,”[2] and continued by telling the facts of Jesus’ death, resurrection and return to heaven. After reviewing Jesus’ life and death, he showed them how that same gospel is at work in their beliefs about eternal life, life with Christ for eternity, and other situations and relationships they struggled with in the first century.
Would you be surprised to learn that Paul re-taught the gospel in his letters to other churches as well? Ephesians 1-3 is all gospel, Colossians 1-2 is gospel, and Romans 1-11 is gospel. After visiting Jesus’ life, death and resurrection, Paul writes the rest of each letter showing how the gospel affects our everyday lives.  Through Paul’s example of love and ministry to the churches of his time, God gave us a pattern to follow as we minister to ourselves and other believers.
2.      My Daily Need
In my natural wisdom and knowledge I believe that the gospel is foolish[3]. My conscience tells me that if the gospel is true, if God died for my sin, I must be “really bad,”[4] so I avoid it. My heart refuses to believe that God would take on human form and die for someone like me.[5] Every day I struggle against my conscience, my heart, and the lies of the world and the Devil.[6] The only way to fight back against my natural way of thinking and feeling is with the truth of the gospel, every day.
3.      The Power of God
We see the power of God in heaven—how mighty, awesome and wise He is through creation. We think of erupting volcanoes, our massive sun and the incredible speed of shooting stars. These are all beyond what we can control or comprehend, but even the wonders of nature are not described as “the power of God.” The Bible says the gospel itself is “the power of God”[7] not once, but twice. This is the only place we find God directing us to His power other than in the name of Jesus Christ.[8] What this means is that the gospel is powerful.  It is through the gospel that God shows and works out the power of His might.
How powerful is the gospel? And how great is His salvation? When I accept it by faith[9] and give it a central place in my thoughts each day, I will experience change that comes no other way than by the gospel!
4.      My Daily Protection
As long as I remain in the gospel, I have all the protection I need from the powers of evil that threaten to harm me. God knows that.  Because He is able and wants to protect us, He tells us to “take up”[10] and “put on”[11] the whole armor of God.  It is not our armor, it is His—powerful, perfect, and eternal. The pieces of armor are all different ways of applying the gospel to my life. In Greek, these words are, “…the salvation…the justification…truth…the gospel of peace…the faith…[and the]…word of God.”[12]  Each one of these is another way of saying, “the gospel.” So if I want to stand victorious in Jesus, I must do as the song says and, “put on the gospel armor, each piece put on with prayer.”[13]
If God tells me to “take up” and “put on” the gospel armor, it must mean that I do not automatically start each day protected by the gospel. I am weak and open to defeat and injury until I take it to heart and apply it to all of my life, from head to toe.  What better way to do this than to preach the gospel to myself and review it over and over each day?
5.      Changed by Glory
The most powerful agent of change, or transformation, in a person’s life is God’s glory. It is so powerful that it changes those who do nothing more than look on it. That’s what the Apostle Paul wrote from his own experience. “But we all,” he says, “beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory.”[14] His testimony teaches me that if I want to be all God wants me to be, I must look and gaze on His glory every day.
But where do I find His glory? How can I look at it? The Bible says “the heavens are telling the glory of God,”[15] and “the whole earth is full of His glory.”[16] But to see Him directly, up close and personal, I must look for Him in the gospel.[17]  As I gaze on the glory of the Lord in the gospel, He will reflect His glory back onto my life, transforming and changing me from my sinful self to the likeness of Jesus Christ.[18] The change is deep and eternal and is seen by those I spend time with each day.[19]
6.      A Cure for Distrust
Every time I purposefully disobey God’s commands, it is because I doubt God’s goodness. Does He really want what’s best for me? Or is He keeping me from having what is good? These questions lie behind every act of disobedience.
The gospel changes that. Thinking about God’s love for me, His willingness to sacrifice His Son’s life for mine, reminds me that His commandments were given by the same love that gave me His Son. When I realize how much He loves me, I will begin to see that His commands are another way of directing my life toward good things, even better things. He wants me to experience His fullness and joy forever.[20]
When I control my thoughts with the gospel, I am not suspicious of God and His motives. I am able to trust Him and live in joyful obedience.
7.      The Gospel is Everything I Need
The gospel not only works out change in my life, it also fills my life with grace and spiritual blessings. God wants me to be blessed by His gifts (my spiritual inheritance) every day of my Christian life.[21]  It is through my knowledge of Him, through the gospel, that God gives me everything I need “for life and godliness.”[22]
That is why God tells me to remain, to stay constantly grounded, in the gospel, never allowing myself to be moved away from it.[23] The fact that He commands me to stay inside the gospel at all times must mean that He will supply my needs out of His fullness and unending supply of glory and goodness.[24]
8.      Freedom from Sin’s Power
As long as I live with the guilt of my sin, it will keep me imprisoned. Over and over, I will commit the same sin that makes me feel most guilty. The Devil knows that. He knows that as long as I feel guilty, he can keep me under sin’s power.
But the gospel cuts below the surface of guilt and takes away the power of sin. The forgiveness of God, given to me through the gospel, sets me free from the power of sin because it frees me from guilt.[25] Preaching God’s forgiveness to myself is a very real way of killing the power of sin in my life and setting me free.
9.      Resting in Christ’s Righteousness
The gospel gives me the freedom to rest. Because Jesus is the One who earned my righteousness and because He is able to keep it for me[26], I do not have to work to be seen as righteous before God. [27] The gospel reminds me that God has declared me “not guilty.” In His court of law, I am legally without sin (justified) so I don’t have try and again and again to become righteous or win His approval. I am already accepted and forgiven. Instead, I can spend my time and energy enjoying God, learning to walk in holiness and sharing His wonderful grace with others.
The gospel reminds me that I stand before God as someone who is righteous—and that will never change, no matter what I do—because Jesus is the one who gained it for me.[28] Even when I fail, when I sin over and over, the gospel encourages me with grace.[29] Jesus paid it all. That also means that on my best days of victory and usefulness, the gospel keeps me in a right relationship with God because of Jesus’ righteousness, not my own.
10.  A Slave to Christ’s Righteousness
Not only can I rest in Christ’s righteousness, I can count on the fact that God sees and treats me as if I am righteous. Romans 6 says that when I obeyed and answered the gospel, God called (or declared) me righteous.  In that moment I became a “slave to righteousness.”[30] My owner changed.  Now, instead of being a slave to sin, God has called me to surrender to righteousness.[31] Each part of me—mind, body, and soul—is a slave to being and doing what is right.
My new standing before God (righteous, justified, without guilt) means that I have a new purpose:  to live out Christ’s righteousness. Because of Christ’s righteousness, I am called to be holy. It is as I obey God’s Word that my life changes and I look more and more like Jesus Christ, my Master.[32]  The process of becoming like Christ doesn’t happen immediately; it takes time and happens little by little, with one holy choice after another. Each time I am faced with a choice, I am able to joyfully surrender my sinful desires to the righteousness I have in Christ. God has clothed me with righteousness. Now He wants it to master me.
The more I rejoice in my position before God in Christ, the more I am able to fully experience the force of righteousness. The more I live and look like Jesus, the more I experience the eternal life God has given me in Him.[33]
11.  Loving My Brothers and Sisters
The more I live out the truth of the gospel, the more I grow in love for other believers.  As I see the gospel affecting their lives, I can come alongside them, confident that God is working out His purpose in their lives. I can see their spiritual growth and the glory of God in and through them.  In joy and in sorrow it is my pleasure to encourage them and spur them on to keep living out the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.[34]
Also, when I see the gospel working change in my own life and see the power of God at work in me, I realize that the greatest gift I can give fellow Christians is the gospel itself. I love them not only because of the gospel, but I love them best when I love them with the gospel![35] I do this by speaking gospel words to them as well as living it out in my own life, giving and forgiving the way Christ did for me. As I share my life with them through the gospel, they experience a deeper understanding of gospel power, the Holy Spirit, and the absolute confidence we have in Christ[36].
By preaching the gospel to myself every day, I build the bond that unites me with my brothers and sisters for whom Christ died.[37]  Preaching the gospel to myself also keeps fresh the ways I can actively love others in Christ.
12. My Inheritance in the Saints
The gospel not only gives me peace with God, it also creates peace between all believers in Christ. Through the death of Christ, God removed the hostility between us and has broken down racial, economic and social barriers that once divided us.[38]
When God saved us, He made us members of His household,[39] and He gave us as gifts to one another.[40] Each brother and sister is part of my gospel inheritance from God. I am part of their inheritance, too. Each of us is important to one another’s spiritual growth, and as we live and work together we experience the fullness of God in Christ.[41]
The more I understand and treasure the gospel, the more I treasure the Church for which Christ died, and the more I treasure my part in the lives of other believers and the part they must be allowed to play in mine.
13. Motivated to Love Others
When the gospel is in the front of my mind, I am motivated to show God’s love to other people. I am always willing to love others when I have been freshly reminded of God’s love for me.[42] In those moments I am sinned against, the gospel helps me forgive; all I have to do is think of the sin God has forgiven me and the daily grace He pours into my life.[43]
Doing good and showing love to those who have wronged me is always the opposite of what my sinful flesh wants me to do. It is only as I remember and meditate on the gospel that my heart is changed and I am able to offer supernatural grace and forgiveness to others.
14. A Heart for the Lost
The more I review and take joy in gospel truth, the more burdened I become for non-Christians, wanting them to share those same blessings. This is what happened when the Apostle Paul wrote the book of Romans. In Romans 5 Paul rejoices and praises God because he has been given a righteousness he could never earn on his own.[44]  Next, Paul writes about our freedom from sin in Romans chapter 6. We can accept forgiveness and choose to live as those who are free[45] even if we don’t feel or experience complete freedom on this side of heaven.  In Romans 7 Paul shares his struggle with sin which helps us know we’re not alone.[46]  The truth is, our fight against our human nature could cause us to doubt the gospel, but the Bible says the opposite. In Romans 8 Paul goes on to share the wonderful news of the cross—we are no longer condemned,[47] God’s love provides for all our needs in Christ,[48] there is nothing here on earth or apart from it that can separate us from the love of God.[49] Nothing.
How does that make Paul feel? Up to this point he has been joyful and grateful. What he says next is surprising.  “I have great sorrow,” he says, “and unceasing grief in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ, for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh.”[50]
The wonderful heights of the gospel message—its joy, peace and confidence—made Paul more aware of the emptiness and blindness of his fellow Jews. The saving power of the gospel is life or death. If I need a greater burden for non-Christians, I must remember and celebrate the gospel in my own life the way Paul did in Romans 5-8. The joy of God’s gift to me will create sadness for others. God will use that grief to motivate me to passionately share the gospel with those who are lost.  
15. Growing Humility
According to Scripture, God planned the gospel to strip me of pride and remove every opportunity to boast in myself. This is a wonderful, merciful gift of God, because pride is at the root of all my sin. Pride was the source of sin in the Garden of Eden[51] and pride goes before every sinful stumbling block in my life.[52] If I am going to experience victory over sin, I must be delivered from the pride that produces it. Thankfully, God created the gospel for that very purpose: to free me from pride.
Preaching the gospel to myself each day attacks my pride and replaces it with humility. Pride loses its breath in the presence of God’s glory, the reality of my sin, and the death of Jesus, who took my place. It is also humbling to think on the love God so generously pours out on me daily, knowing I deserve nothing more than eternal punishment in Hell.
Pride melts in the face of the gospel, and as pride decreases, so do my sinful desires that create division between me and God and me and others.[53] In its place, humility grows, becoming fuller and richer in the presence of the gospel. The more I grow in humility, the more I experience God’s grace[54] and the strength He provides.[55] Humility also gives me a greater love for God and His desires, and causes my heart to cry out with praise when He is praised.[56]
16. Obedience Born of Love
The greatest commandment of the Law is to love God with all my heart, soul, mind and strength.[57] If I could obey this one command, I would automatically keep the whole law.
But how can I actually love God will all of my being?[58] The Bible teaches that I can love sincerely as I live and dwell in God’s love for me,[59] and His love is most clearly revealed in the gospel.[60]
Therefore, preaching the gospel to myself is a great way to keep God’s amazing love before my eyes. It allows the power of the cross to create a passionate love for Him that is shown by doing what He says. When my heart is captured by His love, I long to do His will and get caught up in a God-inspired cycle of love and obedience.[61]
17. Freedom from Self-Love
Compared to what God has done for me, loving myself is empty, tiring, and dull. The more I put selfishness and loving myself aside, the more I can move from the ordinary, earth-bound things of life to the heights of heavenly things that God has for me.
One of the reasons I love myself more than anything else is fear. After all, if I don’t love and care for myself, who will? I am also convinced that there is no one more worthy of my love than me, so I deserve my own love. This kind of thinking and self-love is simple pride and arrogance. I love myself the most because I believe I am worthy of my love and that I can do a better job than anyone else. This attitude makes me dangerous,[62] and comes from the deepest part of my sinful self.
Thankfully, the gospel sets me free from the prison of self-love because it removes those reasons for self-love. First, the gospel tells me that the love of God is better, deeper and freer than any love I could give myself. “Greater love has no on than this, “says Jesus while speaking of His love. [63] And the more I study and think on the gospel, the more I experience the truth of His love, seeing it as greater and better than my own.[64] His amazing love for me silences any excuse to focus on myself and it frees me to set my heart on greater and more valuable things.[65]
Second, the gospel shows me the breathtaking glory and loveliness of God,[66] and pulls my gaze away from myself, refocusing my heart on Him. The more I look on God’s glory in the gospel, the more lovely He appears. And the more lovely He appears, the more I fade into the background like a forgotten boyfriend or girlfriend who’s lost my interest.
Preaching the gospel to myself every day reminds me of God’s incredible love for me and His unending worthiness to be praised. These reminders send a one-two punch to my natural love for myself. They leave me more and more in love with my Savior[67] and God’s plan to gather all things in heaven and on earth—even me—to Himself.[68]
18. A New View of Trials
More than anything else could do, the gospel helps me welcome trials so that I am able to get the most out of them. With the gospel as my foundation—one that can’t be moved—I accept every hardship in life as part of God’s purpose to work out the gospel in my life. As I see each circumstance this way, knowing that God has allowed it, I understand that the gospel is not just one piece of good news in the middle of all the bad. Instead, the gospel makes every other part of life good news, too—even the most difficult, painful trials.[69] The good news about my trials is that God is forcing them to bow down to His plan and purpose to do good to me. He is using them to make me more like His precious Son, Jesus Christ.[70]
Preaching the gospel to myself every day gives me a new way of looking at my trials. When I see them the way God does, I am able to rejoice, to welcome them as friends and allow them to do God’s good work in my life.
19. Uncovered by the Cross, Part 1
It was after he thought long and deeply about the gospel in Romans 5-7 that the Apostle Paul became more aware of his sin and cried out, “O wretched man that I am!”[71] At a different time, while writing of God’s wonderful, saving grace, Paul admitted that he was “the foremost” sinner of all.[72]
The same is true for me. The deeper I go into the gospel, the more I understand and confess aloud my great sinfulness. I am uncovered and exposed for who I really am. Christ’s agonizing death would not have been necessary if I was less sinful or God was less holy. But as I think about what the Son of God went through to pay the penalty of my sin, I realize how sinful and wicked I really am. I see His selfless love, all for me, and I am laid bare[73], discovered as a sinner in desperate need of His grace.
Opposite of what I might expect, the awareness of my sin does not drag me down but lifts me up as I wonder and glory at God’s forgiveness in my life. And the more I appreciate the greatness of His grace and forgiveness, the more I love Him and want to show that love through worship and praise.[74]
20. Uncovered by the Cross, Part 2
The Cross not only uncovers and exposes me before God, but also before other people, showing the depth of my wickedness and sin. If I wanted them to think well of me, I would hide the fact that the perfect Son of God was shamefully slaughtered to give me life. But when others see me standing at the foot of the Cross and see the death of my Savior hanging over me, I am uncomfortably revealed for who I really am. No one could accuse me of anything worse. The fact that Jesus died on Golgotha says it all,[75] and any righteousness I claim for myself crumbles at the foot of the Cross. Knowing that others see who I am, the worst of me revealed, I have nothing and nowhere to hide.
Thankfully, the more I see my own sin and shame against the backdrop of Christ’s love, the more I open up to others about my ongoing struggle with sin. (Why would anyone be shocked to hear of my struggles when the cross tells them how desperately wicked I am?) Then, the more I share and confess my sin with fellow-Christians, the more I enjoy the healing of the Lord in their grace-filled counsel and prayers.[76] As our relationship grows in Christ’s love in fellowship[77], I thank God for the gospel and the fact that it forces me to be honest and helpless with others, bringing freedom and forgiveness.[78]
21. Chosen for Prayer
God chose me in Christ before the foundation of the world to be “holy and blameless.” He also chose me to be “before Him in love.”[79] Although I am always in God’s presence on earth, I know that in heaven I will be surrounded by His presence, falling before Him in adoration and worship. Until then, I have the privilege of coming “before Him in love” in prayer and worship.[80]
Since prayer is the way I am able to come “before Him in love,” it is not just something I’m allowed to do as a Christian, but it’s actually one of the great purposes for which God chose to save me. Jesus said that very thing to His disciples: “I chose you…that whatever you ask for the Father in My name He may give to you.”[81] As one who is chosen by God, I was saved to pray; and whenever I come into God’s presence to look upon Him and worship Him, or make a request of Him, I am just that close to fulfilling God’s purpose for saving me.
God is committed to my life of prayer. He willingly shed His Son’s blood so I might be cleansed and made pure[82] to stand before Him in love. He allowed His Son’s flesh to be torn just like the curtain in the temple so that I might enter the Holy Place through Jesus Himself.[83] In Hebrews 4 and 10 He calls me to “draw near.”[84] He also says to “pray without ceasing.”[85] How can I brush off the call to prayer when I realize what it cost God for me to come into His presence unashamed?
The gospel itself is the sweetest of all invitations to pray. Preaching it to myself every day gives me a growing desire to come “before [God] in love” and do the praying I was called and chosen to do.
22. Saved for Good Works
Through the gospel I learn that God’s work to save me was for the purpose putting me to work, too.
The Bible says that when Christ bought me back, He did it so I would be “eager for good works.”[86] God works in me day by day in order to give me the desire and power to “work for His good pleasure.”[87] My effort and works do not provide salvation, I am saved by grace, but I am God’s “workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that [I] would walk in them.”[88]
I am naturally lazy, so I do not take joy in the idea of work, but the more I take hold of the saving working of God for me, the more ready I am to continue the work for which He saved me. And as I “work hard” at doing what God has given me to do for others, I experience the truth Jesus taught, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”[89] I also find myself agreeing with Christ, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent me and to accomplish His work.”[90] What He meant is that gospel-motivated works feed my soul the way food strengthens my body. Doing the work of God brings refreshment, enjoyment, blessing and strengthening to the one who does it, even more than the one who receives it. The fact that God has prepared these works for me becomes part of what makes the gospel such wonderful news.
Preaching the gospel to myself each day reminds me of God’s love for me and the love of God for the works He’s prepared for me. How valuable they must be if Christ died so I might do them! And how precious are the people I serve if Christ would die in order for me to bless them!
23. A Heart for the Poor
Nothing else could put love in my heart for the downcast, poor and physically challenged like the gospel does, especially for those who belong to Christ.[91]
I can relate to those who are poor in material goods because I remember what it is to be spiritually poor and needy.[92] Some people are in need because of sin, but so was I. They may even be unkind when I try to help them; I was unkind to God and angry at Him when He first reached out to me. They may be thankless or abuse my kindness, but how many times have I been thankless and used what God has given me for my own selfish reasons?
It’s possible that a person in poverty will be blessed and changed because of some kindness I show him. If that happens, may God receive the praise for giving them grace through me. But if the person walks away unchanged by my kindness, I can still rejoice that I had the chance to love as God loves.[93] Maybe the person will repent at a later time. For now, my heart has been reminded of my personal poverty and I am wiser because of the picture of what I have done to God many times.
The gospel reminds me of the spiritual poverty I am born into each day,[94] and of the incredible, generous love Christ has poured out on me.[95] These reminders build a connection with the poor and a desire to show them the same generosity that was given to me.[96] When I give to and help the poor because of the gospel, I am sharing it with them through my words and deeds and acting it out for myself as well.
24. Crucifying All Things, Part 1
The story of the gospel, “Christ, and Him crucified,”[97] is the truth of Jesus, but it’s also the story of my own crucifixion[98] because the Bible says that I, too, was killed there,[99] along with my love for the world system and all it offers me.[100] The cross is the place where I crucify my flesh and its sinful desires.[101] Really, Christ’s death and my death are so much a part of each other that they are woven together.
God is committed to my dying every day, and He calls me to that same commitment.[102] He commands that I live in this death each hour of the day; that death to myself through the cross be the center of my life story as much as Christ’s death is the center of the gospel story. “Let this same attitude be in you,” He says, “which was also in Christ Jesus…who became obedient unto death, even death on a cross.”[103]
Crucifixion hurts. It is so painful that it numbs the senses; a gasping and bloody event. There is nothing nice, pretty or easy about it. It is not simply death. It is unbearable.
But God calls me to determine myself, to set my face like a flint,[104] toward the cross and embrace crucifixion in everything I do by the power of the Holy Spirit.  I should expect to run into difficult circumstances every day that will show God’s commitment to my dying, and I must take hold of every opportunity to become more like Jesus in death, no matter how painful it is.
When my flesh wants something and God’s Word says, “no,” I must die. When God’s Word tells me to do something I don’t want to, I must die. When I feel like being selfish and serving no one, I must die. When my life is shattered by trials and difficulties that I hate, I must die. When I want to hold on to the ways others have hurt me, I must die. When I am tempted by things of the world, I must die. When I want to continue in secret sin, I must die. When I don’t get what I think I need, I must die. When my dreams are pushed aside, even though I think they’re good, I must die.
“Not my will, but Yours be done,” Jesus prayed the night before His crucifixion, trusting God, His Father.[105] Preaching Jesus’ death and resurrection to myself every day helps me trust God and embrace the cross, willingly dying to myself.[106]
25. Crucifying All Things, Part 2
Praise God, the Bible teaches that dying is not the end, but the beginning. After Jesus Christ took up His cross and died, God raised Him from the dead,[107] exalted Him to the highest,[108] and drew Him close to His side.[109] The facts of Jesus’ resurrection are proof that God will not leave me for dead, but will raise me in the same way, if only I would allow myself to die. If only I would accept my death, I would find that the experiences of a life lived with and for God are richer, higher, and deeper than anything I would have known without Him.[110]
In God’s way of living and thinking, death is the way to life. “Whoever wishes to save his life will lose it,” Jesus says, “but whoever loses His life for My sake, he shall find it.”[111] In that case, the more I take on the death of Christ, the more I will experience freedom from sin[112] and the resurrection power that raised Him from the dead.[113] The way to this power is through dying many deaths. Each time I die to myself God brings newness of life. With each stage of death, I grow in Christlikeness, living the life of Christ.[114]
The more I think on the gospel, the better I understand that this “word of the cross”[115] is a blueprint for my life. The death Christ died is the death He has called me to. Dying to myself and my sinful desires is the entrance to Christ Himself and life at its best.[116] Whatever happens, I will not give up dying because it’s the only way to true life!
26. Hope of Heaven
The more I think about and experience the wonderful riches of Jesus, the more I want to be with Him in heaven—to see and experience Him as never before. In heaven there will be nothing to separate the two of us; I will know and share His grace in ways I can’t even imagine here on earth.[117]  The life I live here and now in salvation (both its promises and blessings), is just a “first fruit,” or a taste, of what the Holy Spirit has in store for me in heaven.[118]
Thinking about what Christ has done for me makes me hungry for more of Jesus, for more blessing, more grace, and complete freedom from sin. That is exactly what the Apostle Paul felt when he wrote Romans 5-8.[119] John, who saw Jesus glorified while He was still here on Earth, encouraged us to imagine what it will be like when we are united with our Father in our new home, fully enjoying the glories of heaven as His children. We can’t see it here and now, but someday the glories of heaven will be ours and we will finally see Jesus for who He is.[120] Just thinking about the gospel reminds me that there is more to come! Salvation is but the beginning of incredible wonders I will enjoy for eternity.
Looking forward to heaven is one way God blesses me here on earth. I have hope of seeing Jesus face to face—that alone makes me want to be pure and separate myself from sin.[121] Not only will I see Jesus, I will also spend eternity with fellow believers in perfect love and fellowship. That helps me love them more deeply now, today.[122] I can love others with the fullness God has given me in Christ now as well as with the fullness He has promised for the future!
The hope that I will spend eternity with Christ in heaven helps me push through and grow during even the most difficult and long trials here on earth. To think of how wonderful, complete, and amazing the glories of heaven are makes my troubles lighter. When I look at how long eternity must be, my troubles seem shorter.[123] When I consider the marvel of heaven, today’s troubles become less burdensome and easier to bear. The promise of that kind of eternity is possible only because of the gospel.[124]
Preaching the gospel to myself every day is a great way to keep alive “the hope of the gospel,”[125] so I can live out the blessings God planned for me as I wait here on earth.
27. Putting to Death the Flesh
Although I am saved, I struggle against my flesh every day[126] and keep desiring the things that are against the Spirit.[127] The things I want are at war with God and even against the good of my soul.[128] Although I know they are destructive, I want to believe they will give me what I’ve always wanted. Fulfilling my fleshly desires seems so right, so good, so sweet, and so full that I often give in as if they love me the way only Jesus does.
The bottom line is that I desire contentment more than anything and these lusts, or desires, lie to me by promising to fill this basic desire. They hunt and take advantage of the empty places in my heart and seem to promise that they will fill it if only I will do what they want.  When I feel empty and want something more they are extremely difficult to resist.
That means the answer to putting my flesh and its desires to death is to fill the emptiness by feasting on the gospel. When I am full of the gospel, God glorifies Himself by filling me with Himself. He is the One, Paul says, “who fills all in all.”[129] He is the One who “fill[s] all things” with the gifts He gives.[130] And He pours out gospel blessings on me so that I may be filled up to all the fullness of God.”[131] This is the God of the gospel, a God who is content with nothing less than my being filled with Him! The first command God gave in the Garden of Eden was, “eat freely.”[132] In the same way, He says to me now, “be filled.”[133]
What happens to my appetite for sin when I am filled with the fullness of God in Christ? Jesus said this, “He who continually comes to Me will never hunger or thirst again.”[134] It’s true that as I take in and meditate on the many blessings found in the gospel my hunger for sin becomes less and the lies of my flesh are less attractive. My eyes do not wander and my fleshly lusts do not rule when my heart is fat with the love of Jesus!
28. Thankfulness with Relief
The more I find myself surrounded by the gospel, the more grateful I am whether my circumstances are good or bad.
If I see life’s blessings as water in a cup, I can focus on the empty or the full half—what I don’t or what I do have. We’ve all heard that before and know life is better when we focus on the full half. The gospel goes further than that.
The gospel reminds me that what I actually deserve from God is a cup full of His intense anger and wrath, an eternity of torment and despair.[135] This is mine to drink if I get what I deserve each day. With this in mind, I see that even a completely empty cup would be a gift from God and give me a reason to praise Him forever. If, in the bottom, there was the smallest drop of blessing in that cup that was empty of wrath, I would be blown away by the unbelievable kindness of God toward me. But the truth is that God has actually given me a cup[136] full of “every spiritual blessing in Christ.”[137] He has filled my cup to overflowing with blessings, without the smallest amount of wrath! That leaves me with a heart so full of joy I can hardly contain it! Whether I have plenty or have want, my circumstances are better and more generous than the hell I deserve.
I can look at my circumstances, whatever the Lord allows, and be grateful for the wrath I am not receiving in that moment (the empty half of the cup never looked so good!). Then, on top of that, I am grateful for the blessings He has given me besides. (Life’s blessings, however small, are incredibly precious when I compare them to the wrath I deserve.)  Being grateful for both what God has not given me and what He has given me allows me to give thanks in all things[138] with a sincere and full heart. Gratitude that comes from a true understanding of the gospel glorifies God, adds to my peace of mind,[139] and keeps me from walking a path of foolishness and ruin.[140]
29. The Highest Prize
In the New Testament, the gospel is referred to as “the gospel of God” several times.[141] We know the gospel came from God—it was His plan, His idea. We also know God is the One who accomplished it or brought it about. The gospel is “the gospel of God” because no one else can take credit for making it happen. But more than that, it leads me to God. He Himself is our greatest Prize. He is the reason the gospel is such great news. Through the gospel He brings me to Himself[142] and then gives Himself to me freely through Jesus Christ.[143]
Eternal life is not just the fact that my sins are forgiven or that I will have a mansion in heaven or walk on streets of gold forever. The definition of eternal life is a perfect, complete, uninterrupted relationship with God and Jesus Christ whom He sent.[144] Everything else God gives me in the gospel is meant to bring me to Himself and complete His plan and purpose. Christ died for the forgiveness of my sins so that I might be brought “to God.”[145] Even now, Jesus is preparing a place for me in heaven to receive me “to [Him]self” and keep me with Him, where He is, forever. [146] Of course there’s a great street of gold in heaven! But have you ever stopped to wonder where it leads? To the throne of God Himself[147] no doubt, like all the other gifts and blessings God has given me in the gospel.
As I think and meditate on the gospel each day, I find myself focusing more on the Giver than the gifts. And the more I focus on God, the Giver, the more I experience the very heart of eternal life. The “gospel of God” is from God, comes through God, and leads me to God;[148] and it is in Him that my soul finds its truest joy and rest. [149]
30. My Confidence
Living the gospel means being bold. If I never step out in boldness, I will live a life of regret. I will always look over my shoulder and wonder what would have happened if I had only done more, prayed differently, said those difficult words, or pushed through hard circumstances. I don’t need to take risks or be bold if I’m content with just a fraction of God’s blessings.  I can simply live each day in comfort and ease. But if I want my life to bloom and grow into one that pleases and glorifies God, I must be willing to take risks—and nothing gives me courage like the gospel!
The gospel gives me courage by first getting rid of my greatest fear, the fear of God’s eternal wrath. Because Christ bore God’s wrath in His body on the cross, I have not only escaped that wrath in the future, on Judgment Day, I am also free of the fear of God’s wrath today. That fear would keep me from doing the work God has for me,[150] but God, in His loving grace, keeps removing it with reminders of His love and a growing excitement to see Him with confidence on Judgment Day.[151] When I am free from fear day after day and confident of His love, I continue to grow in perfection. When fear of His wrath is gone, every other fear—even the fear of others—loses its power.[152]
As my life is changed and I step out in faith and boldness, carried by the gospel, I become more and more confident to share it with others, both the saved and the lost.[153] I know what the gospel can do in people’s lives if they would believe the fullness of it, because I see what it is doing in me and in others. I want this same boldness, the same change and spiritual growth for others, so I talk more and more about the gospel[154] even when it results in persecution.[155]
The more I understand and take hold of what God has done for me through Christ, the more confident I am in prayer,[156] speaking to God at times when I would have avoided Him and making requests that I would have been too nervous to ask before(either because of the size of the request or my own sinful unworthiness). With greater boldness in prayer comes greater enjoyment of God and His generosity—and much of it is simply because I was daring enough to ask for what was needed. [157]
Preaching the gospel to myself each day supplies a holy courage to believe what God says, enjoy what He offers, and do what He commands. I know I don’t deserve to be a child of God and I don’t deserve to be free of sin’s guilt and power. I don’t deserve the shocking privilege of knowing God personally, or receiving any other blessing Christ purchased for me with His blood. I don’t even deserve to be useful to God. But by the grace of God I am what I am and I have what I have, and I commit not to let any part of His grace go to waste in me![158] I will do my best to live boldly with His help, but when I fail, I will gladly accept God’s forgiveness and continue to walk in His grace. This is my pledge, and may God be glorified by the confidence I place in Him.
31. To God be the Glory
“To the praise of the glory of His grace…to the praise of His glory…to the praise of His glory.”[159] These words sound over and over in the first chapter of Ephesians in and around the message of the gospel. They reveal God’s true motive in every act of the gospel toward those He saved. “To the praise of His glory”—these words announce the effect the gospel has on those who experience it in its fullness. It comes as no surprise, then, that after proclaiming the gospel, he closes chapter 3 of Ephesians with “Unto Him be the glory.”[160] And again, in Romans he repeats, “To…Him be the glory.”[161] When he considers God’s saving mercy in his own life, he cries out, “To the King…be glory.”[162] It’s obvious that the gospel moved Paul to focus on God’s glory, and the gospel does the same in me as I make it the center of my thoughts and focus each day.
Understanding that I am not the final end of the gospel, God’s glory is, helps me take hold of salvation with boldness. When my shrinking heart asks why God would want to love someone as sinful as I, I can answer, “to the praise of the glory of His grace.” I can reason that my unworthiness must be useful to God because it magnifies His grace as He lovingly pours out grace and kindness without measure. When I know and understand the gospel message this makes perfect sense, convincing me to live out my love and devotion with freedom so God’s glory might be seen in and through me, an unworthy sinner.
It is as I cling to and live out the gospel that I delight in worshipping God. And it is in true, free worship that He fills me with joy and my desire to glorify Him becomes my priority and purpose.[163]
A Gospel Poem
edited and shortened

Beholding the heavens
I now understand
God measured them all
with the breadth of His hand.
He fashioned the trillions
of stars in the sky;
The sun and the moon
He established on high.
So wondrously caring
is God ev'ry day;
Creating, supporting
my life ev'ry way.
Indeed, for such blessings
He should be adored
And honored supremely
as Only Great Lord.
In fact, for this purpose
He brought me to be,
That I might His glory
and kindliness see
And treasure Him fully
in all of my days,
Obeying with pleasure
whatever He says.

Yet I could not fail God
much worse than I've done.
Ignoring His glory
for mine I have run.
A prideful and self-driven
path I have trod
Breaking each of the ten great
Commandments of God.

My foolish rebellion
gives God ev'ry right
To damn me right now
to dark tortures of night.
With wickedest sinners
I truly should know
The worst of Hell's forces
for failing God so.

So this is my standing
and these are my flaws
Apart from Christ Jesus
and His saving cause:
I carry sin's guilt
and am gripped by sin's pow'r,
Held fast to its
many, strong wants ev'ry hour.

Too full of sin even
to play a small part
In clearing my record
or changing my heart,
Completely condemned by
God's Law in its whole,
I've nothing to offer
to pay for my soul.

But wonder of wonders
so great to behold,
My God chose to save me
with His love so bold.
What I could not afford
God fully has done,
And doing, He paid for it
all through His Son.

Amazing it is, when I
stop and reflect
That God would allow
His Son’s body be wrecked.
He gave up His Son
to violence and death,
Jesus labored and struggled
'til His final breath.

That Jesus was willing
To lay His life down;
Be beaten, insulted
and wear thorny crown.
No greater a lover
is any than He
Who laid down His life
for a sinner like me.
They took Jesus down;
“It is finished,” He’d said,
Then was raised the third day,
Sin and death lost instead.
As the Firstborn from death,
He shows us His power
To save and restore us
From hour to hour.

At God's own right hand
Christ now rules from on high,
A Friend who alone helps
each sinner who cries
To Him for forgiveness,
their evil confessed.
He gives them forgiveness
and then makes them blessed.

When I saw my need
and to Jesus I came,
He gave me forgiveness.
He took all my blame.
He cleansed me completely
from wrongs I had done,
Released me from bondage
to sins, ev'ry one.

A child of the Father
He made me to be
And gave me the Spirit
as His guarantee.
While in me, the Spirit
gives power and love
And fresh, precious glimpses
of glory above.

In saving, God also
did justify me,
Accounting me righteous
by His own decree,
Declaring me guiltless
of all of my sin,
And bringing His wrath
against me to an end.

So now God relates
to me only with grace.
The wrath I earned vanished
without any trace!
And each day I'm made
a bit more as I should;
His grace using all things
to work for my good.

And when I am sinning
God's grace overflows,
His love and forgiveness
to me He makes known.
No wrath is awakened
in God at my sin
Because Christ absorbed it
(to say so again).

Forgiveness has been
in His heart all along;
And when I approach Him
to make right my wrong,
He runs up to greet me,
With love draws me near,
Embracing and loving
and ready to clear.
God does see my sins
and He grieves at them so,
For when I am sinning,
His love I don't know.
He even will send me
some heart-rending pain
So I'll learn His right ways
and His holiness gain.

A gift that keeps giving,
the gospel speaks forth
The wonders of heaven
each time I rehearse.
Deserve it? I don't
on my holiest day;
But this is salvation,
and herein I'll stay.



[1] Romans 1:15That is why I am so eager to preach the gospel [lit.“evangelize”] also to you who are in Rome.
[2] 1 Corinthians 15:1-4Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures...”
[3] 1 Corinthians 1:21For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe.but we preach Christ crucified: … foolishness to Gentiles….”
[4] 1 Corinthians 1:23 “…we preach Christ crucified,… a stumbling block [literally: scandal/scandalous].”
[5] 1 John 3:19-20 “This is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence: If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.’
[6] 2 Corinthians 4:4 “…The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God….”
[7] Romans 1:16For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes….1 Corinthians 1:18For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
[8] 1 Corinthians 1:24 “…Christ the power of God….”
[9] Hebrews 4:2For indeed we have had good news preached to us, just as they also; but the word they heard did not profit them, because it was not united by faith in those who heard.” Ephesians 1:18-19 “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know… what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe.”
[10] Ephesians 6:13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground….”
[11] Ephesians 6Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”
[12] Ephesians 6Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
[13] “Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus,” written by George Duffield, Jr., (1818-1888)
[14] 2 Corinthians 3:18And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”
[15] Psalm 19:1The heavens declare the glory of God….”
[16] Isaiah 6:3 “…the whole earth is full of his glory.”
[17] 2 Corinthians 4:4 “…the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ1 Timothy 1:11. “…the gospel of the glory of the blessed God…” (literal translation)
[18] 2 Corinthians 3:18And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
[19] 2 Corinthians 3:13We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to prevent the Israelites from seeing the end of what was passing away.
[20] Deuteronomy 5:29Oh, that their hearts would be inclined to fear me and keep all my commands always, so that it might go well with them and their children forever!”
[21] Acts 20:32 “Now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified.”
[22] 2 Peter 1:3. “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.”
[23] Colossians 1:23…continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel.”
[24] Colossians 2:8-9See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ. For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and in Christ you have been brought to fullness.” 2 Peter 1:3 “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.”
[25] Romans 6:14 “For sin shall not be master over you, for you are… under grace.”
[26] Romans 5:1-2 “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God.” 1 John 2:1-2 “… And is anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and He Himself is the propitiation for our sin….”
[27] Romans 4:5 “But to the one who does not work but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness,” Hebrews 4:3 “For we who have believed enter that rest….” Matthew 11:28 “Come to Me all who are weary and heavy-lade, and I will give you rest.”
[28] Romans 5:18-19 “So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men…. through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous.”
[29] Romans 5:20-6:1 “…  where sin increased, grace abounded all the more so that, as sin reigned in death, even so grace would reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace might increase?” 1 John 2:1-2 “ … And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins….”
[30] Romans 6:17-18 “But thanks be to God that…you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed, and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.” (literal translation=”slaves of the righteousness”)
[31] Romans 6:19 “…For just as you presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness, resulting in further lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness, resulting in sanctification.’
[32] Romans 6:19 “…so now present your members as slaves to righteousness, resulting in sanctification.”
[33] Romans 6:19, 22 “…so now present your members as slaves to righteousness, resulting in sanctification…. But now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God, you derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life.”
[34] Philippians 1:3-7 “I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always offering prayer with joy in my every prayer for you all, in view of your participation in the gospel from the first day until now. For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. For it is only right for me to feel this way about you all, because I have you in my heart, since both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers of grace with me.”
[35] 1 Thessalonians 2:8 “Having so fond an affection for you, we were well-pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God but also our own lives, because you had become very dear to us.”
[36] 1 Thessalonians 1:5 “For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit and in much assurance, as you know what kind of men we were among you for your sake.” (NJKV)
[37] Ephesians 5:25 “…Christ…loved the church and gave Himself up for her,”
[38] Ephesians 2:14-16 “For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, by abolishing in His flesh the enmity…so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity.” Colossians 3:11 “a renewal in which there is no distinction between Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman, but Christ is all, and in all.” Galatians 3:28 “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Revelation 5:9 “…You [Jesus] were slain and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation.”
[39] Ephesians 2:19 “So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household.”
[40] Ephesians 1:18 “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know… what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints….”
[41] Ephesians 3:17-19 “…you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ…that you may be filled up to all the fullness of Go.” 2 Timothy 2:22 “”…pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.” 1 Peter 4:10 “As each one has received a special gift, employ I in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” Ephesians 1:22-23 “…the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.”
[42] Titus 3:1-8 “Remind them… to malign no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing every consideration for all men. For we also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hating one another. But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, He saved up, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. This is a trustworthy statement; and concerning these things I want you to speak confidently, so that those who have believed God will be careful to engage in good deeds. These things are good and profitable for men.”
[43] Ephesians 4:32 “Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.” Colossians 3:12-13 “So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.”
[44] Romans 5:1-2, 3, 11 “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,…and we exult…we…exult…we exult….”
[45] Romans 6:1-2, 6 “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it? …knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin.”
[46] Romans 7:19 “For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil I do not want.”
[47] Romans 8:1 “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
[48] Romans 8:32 “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?”
[49] Romans 8:35-39 “Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?  As it is written: “For Your sake we are killed all day long;
We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.” Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
[50] Romans 9:1-4I am telling the truth in Christ… that I have great sorrow and unceasing grief in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh, who are Israelites….”
[51] Genesis 3:4-6 “The serpent said, ‘… God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.’ When the woman saw that the tree…was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate.
[52] Proverbs 16:18 “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before stumbling.”
[53] Proverbs 13:10 “By pride comes nothing but strife….” (NKJV)
[54] James 4:6 “…God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”
[55] Hebrews 13:9 “…it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace….”
[56] Psalm 34:2 “My soul shall make its boast in the Lord; the humble shall hear it and rejoice.”
[57] Mark 12:28, 30 “…What commandment is the foremost of all? ....you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.”
[58] 1 John 5:3 “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.”
[59] 1 John 4:9 “We love, because He first loved us.”
[60] Romans 5:7-8For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” John 15:13Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” Ephesians 2:4-5But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ….”
[61] John 14:31so that the world may know that I love the Father, I do exactly as the Father commanded Me…” John 4:34 “Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work.” Psalm 40:8I delight to do Your will, O my God;
Your Law is within my heart.”
[62] 2 Timothy 3:1-2 “But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come; for men will be lovers of themselves…..”
[63] John 15:13 “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.”
[64] Romans 8:32 “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?”
[65] 2 Corinthians 5:14-15For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.”
[66] 2 Corinthians 4:4 “…the gospel of the glory of Christ…” 1 Timothy 1:11 “…the gospel of the glory of the blessed God…” (literal translation)
[67] Philippians 3:7-8But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ,”
[68] Ephesians 1:9-10 He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him  with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth. 1 Corinthians 15:28 “When all things are subjected to Him, then the Son Himself also will be subjected to the One who subjected all things to Him, so that God may be all in all.”
[69] Romans 5:1-5 “…having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christand we exult in hope of the glory of God. And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
[70] Romans 8:28-29And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son…” James 1:2-4 “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 “…there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me—to keep me from exalting myself! Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me. And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.”
[71] Romans 7:19, 23-24For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want….I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?”
[72] 1 Timothy 1:15It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all.”
[73] Hebrews 4:13And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.”  
[74] Luke 7:37-47 “And there was a woman in the city who was a sinner; and when she learned that [Jesus] was reclining at the table in the Pharisee’s house, she brought an alabaster vial of perfume, and standing behind Him at His feet, weeping, she began to wet His feet with her tears, and kept wiping them with the hair of her head, and kissing His feet and anointing them with the perfume…. And Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” And he replied, “Say it, Teacher.” “A moneylender had two debtors: one owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. When they were unable to repay, he graciously forgave them both. So which of them will love him more?” Simon answered and said, “I suppose the one whom he forgave more.” And He said to him, “You have judged correctly.” Turning toward the woman, He said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? …she has wet My feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair….since the time I came in, [she] has not ceased to kiss My feet…. she anointed My feet with perfume. For this reason I say to you, her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little.”
[75] Golgotha is the name of the place where Jesus was crucified. John 19:17-18and He went out, bearing His own cross, to the place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha. There they crucified Him….”
[76] James 5:16Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed….”
[77] Ephesians 3:14, 17-19For this reason I bow my knees before the Father… that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ….”
[78] Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, 12Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up…. And if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart.”
[79] Ephesians 1:4 “…He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love,” (NKJV)
[80] Psalm 100:2 “Serve the LORD with gladness; Come before Him with joyful singing.” Psalm 68:4 “Sing to God, sing praises to His name…and exult before Him.” 1 John 5:14 “This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.”
[81] John 15:16 “You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask for the Father in My name He may give to you.”
[82] Ephesians 1:7  “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses.” Romans 5:9 “[we have] been justified by His blood.”
[83] Hebrews 10:19-20 “…we have boldness to enter the sanctuary through the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way He has opened for us through the curtain (that is, His flesh).” (Holman Christian Standard Bible)
[84] Hebrews 4:16  “Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 10:19-20, 22. “Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh... let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith….” NKJV
[85] 1 Thessalonians 5:17  “Pray without ceasing.”
[86] Titus 2:14He gave Himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to cleanse for Himself a people for His own possession, eager to do good works.” (Holman Christian Standard Bible)
[87] Philippians 2:12-13 “So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed…work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.”
[88] Ephesians 2:10  “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.”
[89] Acts 20:34-35 “You yourselves know that these hands ministered to my own needs and to the men who were with me. In everything I showed you that by working hard in this manner you must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”
[90] John 4:32-34 “But He said to them, ‘I have food to eat that you do not know about.’ So the disciples were saying to one another, ‘No one brought Him anything to eat, did he?’ Jesus said to them, ‘My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work.’”
[91] Galatians 6:10 “So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.”
[92] Revelation 3:17, 20 “…you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked…. Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.”
[93] Matthew 5:44-45 “But I say to you, love your enemies…so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.”  Romans 2:4 “Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?”
[94] Psalm 51:5 “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me.”
[95] 2 Corinthians 8:7, 9 “…see that you abound in this gracious work [of giving]…. For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that thought He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich.” Romans 8:32 “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?”
[96] Ephesians 1:7b-8a “…the riches of His grace which He lavished on us….”
[97] 1 Corinthians 2:2 “For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.”
[98] Galatians 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ….”
[99] Romans 6:6 “knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin.”
[100] Galatians 6:14 “But may it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.
[101] Galatians 5:24 “Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.”
[102] Luke 9:23 “And He was saying to them all, ‘If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me.’”
[103] Philippians 4:5, 7-8Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who…emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”
[104] Isaiah 50:6-7I gave My back to those who strike Me, And My cheeks to those who pluck out the beard; I did not cover My face from humiliation and spitting. For the Lord God helps Me, Therefore, I am not disgraced; Therefore, I have set My face like flint,
And I know that I will not be ashamed.”
[105] Luke 22:42 “…Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.” 1 Peter 2:23 “…He… kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously.”
[106] 1 Peter 2:21-24For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth; and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously; and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness….” 1 Corinthians 15:31 “…I die daily.” Romans 8:36 “…we are being put to death all day long….”
[107] Ephesians 1:20 “…He raised Him from the dead….”
[108] Philippians 2:8-9 “…He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name….”
[109] John 1:18No one has ever seen God. The One and Only Son—the One who is at the Father’s side—He has revealed Him.” (Holman Christian Standard Bible)
[110] Romans 6:4Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.”
[111] Luke 9:24For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it.”
[112] Romans 6:6-7knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin.”
[113] Philippians 3:8, 10 “…I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ… that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death;”
[114] Romans 6:11Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.”
[115] 1 Corinthians 1:18For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”
[116] Romans 6:5.“For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection….”
[117] Philippians 1:23 “But I… [have] the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better;” 1 Peter 1:13. “…fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
[118] Romans 8:23  “…we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit.”
[119] Romans 8:18-19, 23 “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God…we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body.”
[120] 1 John 3:1-2 “See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are… Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is.”
[121] 1 John 3:3 “And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him, purifies himself, just as He is pure.”
[122] Colossians 1:4-5  “…we heard of…the love which you have for all the saints; because of the hope laid up for you in heaven, of which you previously heard in the word of truth, the gospel….”
[123] 2 Corinthians 4:16-18Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
[124] Colossians 1:5 “…the hope laid up for you in heaven, of which you previously heard in the word of truth, the gospel….”
[125] Colossians 1:23 “…continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel….”
[126] Galatians 5:19-21Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, 21 envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these….””
[127] Galatians 5:17For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another…”
[128] 1 Peter 2:11 “Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul.”
[129] Ephesians 1:22-23 “…the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.”
[130] Ephesians 4:7-10 “But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Therefore it says, ‘When He ascended on high, He led captive a host of captives, and He gave gifts to men.’… He ascended far above all the heavens, so that He might fill all things.”
[131]Ephesians 4:14, 16, 19For this reason I bow my knees before the Father…that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory… that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.”
[132] Genesis 2:16 “The Lord God commanded the man, saying, ‘From any tree of the garden you may eat freely.’”
[133] Ephesians 5:18 “…be being filled [present tense] by the Spirit.” (literal translation)
[134] John 6:35Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life; he who is coming [present tense] to Me will not hunger, and he who is believing [present tense] in Me will never thirst.’” (literal translation)
[135] Revelation 14:10 “he also will drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is mixed in full strength in the cup of His anger,” Psalm 75:8 “For a cup is in the hand of the Lord, and the wine foams; it is well mixed, and He pours out of this; surely all the wicked of the earth must drain and drink down its dregs.”
[136] Psalm 116:12-13 “What shall I render to the Lord for all His benefits toward me? I shall lift the cup of salvation and call upon the name of the Lord.” Psalm 23:5 “…My cup overflows.”
[137] Ephesians 1:3 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,”
[138] 1 Thessalonians 5:18 “in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
[139] Philippians 4:6-7 “Be anxious for nothing but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
[140] Romans 1:21-22, 28-29 “For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools…. And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice….”
[141] Romans 1:1; Romans 15:16; 2 Corinthians 11:7; 1 Thessalonians 2:2,8,9; 1 Peter 4:17
[142] Ephesians 1:4-5 “… He chose us in Him…that we should be…before Him….He predestined us to adoption as sons…to Himself…”
[143] Romans 5:5 “…the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”  John 14:21 “…he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him.”
[144] John 17:3 “This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.”
[145] 1 Peter 3:18 “For Christ also died for sins once for all…so that He might bring us to God….”
[146] John 14:2-3 “In My Father’s house are many dwelling places…. I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you o Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.”
[147] Revelation 21:21; 22:1-2 “…And the street of the city was pure gold…. Then he showed me a river of the water of life…coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb, in the middle of its street….”
[148] Romans 11:36 “For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.”
[149] Psalm 16:11 “…in Your presence is fullness of joy, in your right hand there are pleasures forever.” Psalm 37:4 “Delight yourself in the Lord; and He will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 73:25, 26,28 “…besides You, I desire nothing on earth…. God is …my portion forever…. The nearness of God is my good….”
[150] Hebrews 9:14how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?”
[151] 1 John 4:17-18 “By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.”
[152] Matthew 10:28 “Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”
[153] Romans 1:15-16 “So, for my part I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome.  For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes….” 1 Corinthians 1:18 “…to us who are being saved it [the word of the cross] is the power of God.”
[154] Acts 20:26-27 “Therefore, I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all me. For I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole purpose of God.”
[155] Acts 4:29, 31 “And now, Lord, take note of their threats, and grant that Your bond-servants may speak Your word with all confidence….. And when they had prayed…they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God with boldness.”
[156] Hebrews 4:16 “Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 10:19-22Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith,….” (NKJV)
[157] James 4:2 “…. You do not have because you do not ask.”
[158] 1 Corinthians 15:9-10 “For I am the least of the apostles, and not fit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me.”
[159] Ephesians 1:5,6, 10, 11, 12,13,14 “He predestined us to adoption as sons…to the praise of the glory of His grace…. In Him also we have obtained an inheritance…to the end that we… would be to the praise of His glory. In Him you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit….who is given as a pledge of our inheritance with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.”
[160] Ephesians 3:14, 20-21 “For this reason I bow my knees before the Father…. Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.”
[161] Romans 11:33-36Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who became His counselor? Or who has first given to Him that it might be paid back to him again? For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.”
[162] 1 Timothy 1:15-17Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all. Yet for this reason I found mercy, so that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.”
[163] 1 Peter 1:6, 8-9In this [salvation] you greatly rejoice....  you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls.” (NKJV)  1 Corinthians 10:31 “Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do do all to the glory of God.”

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