How I Forgot the Gospel

How I Forgot the Gospel

I forget the gospel. It’s one of the most maddening things about living with a truth-distorting sin nature. Let me give you a recent example.

A few weeks ago I said to my wife, “I’m feeling gospel fatigue. I’m tired of hearing ‘gospel’ in just about everything.” She looked at me funny. I explained that I was probably just feeling jaded by the commercialization of the gospel or how it seems like a trendy bandwagon. She didn’t buy that. She knows me well. She suggested I probe deeper. She was right, as usual.

So I asked myself what this “gospel fatigue” is. Am I really weary of hearing that Jesus became sin for me (2 Corinthians 5:21), cancelled my full sin debt (Colossians 2:14), and has promised me an eternal life of increasing love and joy in knowing God (John 17:3)?

No, that’s not it.

Have I gorged on the “gospel” so that, like not wanting another bite of turkey on Thanksgiving afternoon, my appetite is sated?

No, that’s not it either.

Here’s what I found when I probed: being so privileged to hear frequent exhortations to apply the gospel, the term’s meaning has begun to switch from resting fully on the grace of God to something else I have to learn to do better. I need to be a more gospel-driven husband, a more gospel-driven parent, a more gospel-driven neighbor, a more gospel-driven employee and boss. I need to do gospel-driven evangelism, lead gospel-driven small groups, and on and on.

See the irony? My “gospel” to-do list is getting long. So when another book comes out on how to apply the gospel to ___ it taps into guilt-induced discouragement that there’s another area in which I’m not gospel-driven enough.

Oh good grief! Jon, are you really turning the gospel into law? Have you forgotten (again) that the gospel is not something you need to do better, but a Person you need to know better — a Person whose grace is completely sufficient for you (2 Corinthians 12:9)?

When I saw this, the first book I reached for was God Is the Gospel. It’s far and away my favorite extra-biblical book on the gospel because it reminds me what the very core of it is. The best news in the universe for failing sinners like me is that “Christ… suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God” (1 Peter 3:18). Because of Jesus, I get God in all his fullness forever! The best gift of the cross is not forgiveness, but God. And God is not something to do better; he’s someone who promises to provide all I need “according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).

I share this with you because we all forget the gospel in different ways, and God is the Gospel is such a cool, refreshing glass of grace-water. In fact, we want churches and groups and schools to be able to get it cheap so they can give it to their folks. If you’re interested, click here to purchase cases (64 copies) for $129 ($2 ea.).

If you’re feeling “gospel fatigue,” it means the gospel is ceasing to mean the gospel. I highly recommend this book as an antidote.

Jon Bloom (@Bloom_Jon) is the author of Not by Sight: A Fresh Look at Old Stories of Walking by Faith and serves as the President of Desiring God, which he and John Piper launched together in 1994. He lives in the Twin Cities with his wife, Pam, their five children, and one naughty dog.