It’s likely you’ve heard the admonition to “preach the gospel to yourself.” But do you have a practical, systematic way for doing that? What do you say when you preach the gospel to yourself?
The gospel message about Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection has the ability to enrich us and make us wealthy in mind and spirit, word and deed (see Colossians 3:16). Yet if we have little grasp on how to effectively let it, we miss out on the power it holds.
Preaching the gospel to ourselves means allowing our thinking, emotions, and responses to daily be shaped by the truth of the gospel.
In this series, we hope to give you practical help in preaching the gospel to yourself. We’ve pulled key gospel concepts and compiled them into a list of words, such as justification, redemption, and sanctification. Don’t let the big words scare you because we’ve explained them!
We’ve also summarized each of these powerful truths in a useable way.
We hope this series will deepen your grasp on the gospel and give you verbiage for what to say when you preach the gospel to yourself.
How to use this series:
To begin, read my post below. Then visit each of the links for more gospel words. Take notes while you visit! You may want to bookmark this page because you’ll probably want to come back here often.
Justification by Arabah
Sanctification by Jen
Redemption by Rebekah
Reconciliation by Kathy
Regeneration by Marci
Atonement by Leah
Adoption by Kerry
Consecration by Kimberly
In the Old Testament, there is little mention of the word sanctification. In fact, the NIV doesn’t use that particular word at all, while the NASB mentions of sanctification refer to only a single Hebrew word “qadash” (kaw-dash’).
Qadash mostly described objects which were “set apart” for use by God. These were not ordinary objects meant for everyday use, but special items such as those used in the tabernacle by the priests (ceremonial items, the ark of the covenant, etc.). Thus, qadash refers to the uncommon, those things or people (mainly priests) set apart strictly for the Lord.
In the New Testament, however, we see a different sort of sanctification. Two Greek words are used by both the NIV and NASB: hagiazo (hag-ee-ad’-zo), the verb form which means to make holy or to sanctify, and hagiasmos (hag-ee-as-mos’), the noun form which means sanctification or holiness. Both words also relate to hagios (hag’-ee-os), the adjective form used to describe us as Christians.
In essence, to sanctify means to make holy. However, the New Testament version of making holy describes a process, the process by which the common (mankind) is set apart and made uncommon!
Sanctification broken down into 3 P-words:
- Position – In Christ, we are considered sanctified before the Lord. We are already perfect, already uncommon, already complete because of Christ’s blood covering over us. When the Father looks at us, He sees not the work that still needs to be done; instead, He sees only the blood of his perfect Son. The work of positional sanctification takes place the moment we accept God’s free gift of forgiveness through His Son’s death on the cross in payment for our sins. So, for those of us who are in Christ, positional sanctification is in the past – it’s a work already accomplished.
- Progress – Although we are positionally perfect in Christ, realistically we know that sin keeps us from perfection. Thus, progressive sanctification refers to the process of growing in Christ-likeness. It is the present and continuing form of sanctification, that work in progress that I speak of so often here. As we grow in Christ-likeness, His image reflected in us becomes more and more clear!
- Perfection – There is also a future component to sanctification. One day, when life on this earth ends for us, we will be made complete in Christ. At that point in time, the work in progress will be finished! Sin will mar us no more. We will bear the Father’s image perfectly, and the view God has of us on behalf of His Son will match our true character! Just imagine – no more struggling to do right, no more guilt, no more frustration with self!
How sanctification applies to everyday life:
Romans 12:1-2 “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
While we know our position in Christ is secure, we recognize the need for continuing change, for progress. We know we must be sensitive to the Holy Spirit so that we allow the Lord to mold us into His image.
Therefore, sanctification is a combination of our willingness to follow Christ in obedience and His powerful work in our lives to free us from sin. According to the verses above from Romans, we offer our bodies and minds; God transforms them. The evidence of the sanctification process in us? The fruit of the Spirit.
This quote from J. I. Packer defines it well.
The worst thing we can possibly do as Christians is to relegate our Redeemer to the work of salvation, yet bar Him from the work of sanctification.
If we trust Christ for eternity, but not for the day to day, then we limit His power! We fail to find freedom and the abundant life He has planned for us.
My friends, the power of Christ in us is real. His promise to make us into new creations is not just for some distant future when we become complete in Him, but it’s for today! Right now! Moment by moment.
Our Savior came to free us from sin, not just from the guilt of sin, but from the chains of sin itself.
This is the goal of sanctification – freeing us to become whom He meant us to be from the very beginning – His image bearers.
So we can claim the promise of my life verse, Phil. 1:6, which perfectly sums up the 3 P-words of sanctification. (Key verse to memorize!)
“[B]eing confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (emphasis mine)
He began the work (position); He carries it on (progress); He promises completion (perfection).
I’ve been reminded of this truth often this winter. There comes a time in the Midwest when the landscape becomes a palette of brownish gray dead things. The grass is dead. The trees are dead. And unless there is fresh snow, the roads become ugly gray muck.
At some point, it seems as if spring will never come.
But as I looked out our window the other day, I noticed a tree that was budding. Even beneath the snow, you could see the slight redness of the buds. Although the tree looked dead, important work was taking place beneath the surface of what I first saw.
And in several weeks, we will see the fully glory of that work when all of nature bursts forth in colorful re-birth.
As I contemplated these things, the Lord reminded me of how often this scenario plays out in my own spiritual landscape. At times, it seems my progress is stunted – there is too much “deadness” about me, too much sin. I see only gray and become easily overwhelmed and discouraged.
But beneath the surface, He is doing important work in me. I may not see all of the fruits of sanctification yet, but they will come! And when they do, they will be glorious to behold!
So, the next time you feel overwhelmed by your own sin, stuck in a rut, doomed to failure – preach the gospel truth of sanctification to yourself.
“I am God’s work in progress. As such, I aim not for perfection but for imperfect progress (growth and transformation), only by the power of Christ in me. In the meantime, I trust His promise to carry that work to completion.”
This, my friends, this is the hope of sanctification.