How can we grow up in Jesus? Part of the answer is that we need to preach the gospel to ourselves. We need to constantly remind ourselves of what God has done for us, of the many blessings of salvation that should change the way we live. In Romans 12:1 we read, “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God….” These words mark a huge transition in the book. Everything before these words deals with God’s mercy in giving us a great salvation. Everything after these words deals with how we should live in response. It is because of the gospel that we should now live differently. And so we need to preach the gospel to ourselves. Let me take just two elements of the gospel to illustrate this point.
Remember the cross so you don’t want to sin. Part of the God’s mercy is that he became a man and took the judgment we deserved for our sins upon himself on the cross. Consider all that our Savior endured because of our sins. The whipping. The beatings. The mockings. The crown of thorns pressed into his head. The nails piercing his hands and feet. The agony hanging on the cross. As we consider what he endured to pay for our sin, how could we have any desire to sin? When the temptation to sin looks so alluring, place the picture of Jesus hanging on the cross next to the temptation, and the temptation will lose much of its tempting power. As we consider the cross, it motivates us to live for him. We remember the cross so we don’t want to sin.
Consider your new life that means you don’t have to sin. In Romans 6, Paul talks about the reality that we have died to sin and been raised to a new life in Christ. We are no longer slaves to sin. And so he tells us in verse 11 to “consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.” He has already established that we have a new life. In verse 11 he wants us to consider this reality. To think about it. To remember it. He wants us to preach the gospel to ourselves. We have a new life. God has enabled us to say no to sin. We don’t have to sin anymore. Too often we hear people say (and we might say ourselves) after sinning, “Well, I just couldn’t help it.” But if we are true Christians, we have been given a new life. We can help it. In the face of temptation, remind yourself that you are no longer a slave to sin, and you don’t want to act like a slave anymore. You can say no. We consider our new life to remind us that we don’t have to sin.
Remember the cross so you don’t want to sin. Consider your new life that means you don’t have to sin. Preach the gospel to yourself.