Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you– unless you believed in vain.
~1 Corinthians 15:1-2
Yesterday we were reminded of the powerful truth that the gospel is not primarily something we respond to, but rather something we receive. Today we look at the next truth about Jesus’ death and resurrection on our behalf: it is the gospel “in which you stand.”
Too many of us think of the gospel– the news that God has sent His Son to live a perfect life, take the punishment for our sins, and then rise in victory– as something we accept when we are first saved, and then move on to bigger, better things. We think of the gospel as the starting line of the Christian life, but then the rest of the race is somehow different. This couldn’t be further from the truth, and this lie robs us of the power and joy God intends for us. As David Pryor has said, “We never move on from the cross, only into a more profound understanding of the cross.” The Christian race doesn’t start at the cross and then move on; the whole race is run toward a deeper and deeper understanding and appreciation of the gospel. The gospel is not just what we received in the beginning; it is what we stand on now.
The gospel is what we stand on now as we fight against sin and for holiness. Over and over again, Scripture connects our sanctification back to the cross, yet another indication that the gospel is not something we are ever supposed to move on from. Struggling to forgive someone who has hurt you? Stand on the gospel. “Forgive one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” Fighting against sexual temptation and lust? Stand on the gospel. “You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” Seeking to love your spouse better? Stand on the gospel. “Husbanyour love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her.” Trying to foster a spirit of humility? Stand on the gospel. “Have this mind among yourselves: ….He humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” Feeling weak? Stand on the gospel. “He is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ.” Facing persecution as a Christian? Stand on the gospel. “To this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in His steps.” Struggling with the assurance of God’s love for you? Stand on the gospel. “God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
And when we get to heaven, when this long fight is finally behind us? What will we be singing about? And what will we be standing on? It will be the same foundation that God has given us for this life; we will still be standing on the gospel. “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain!”
Holy Spirit, Draw me deeper into a more profound understanding of the cross. Don’t leave me with my current grasp of grace, my current amazement at mercy. In Your kindness, open my eyes to new vistas of love, new horror at my sin, and new depths and heights of Your spectacular grace. Help me to see the connections in Your Word between Jesus’ cross and my life now, and empower me to daily stand in the gospel, more and more rooted in grace.
“We never move on from the cross, only into a more profound understanding of the cross.” ~David Pryor
This post is written by Brendan Beale, author of Cross Connections