REASONS TO REHEARSE THE GOSPEL DAILY
Day 14-A Heart For The Lost
The more I rehearse and exult in gospel truths, the more there develops within me a corresponding burden for non-Christians to enter into such blessings. This is also what seems to happen to the apostle Paul while writing the book of Romans.
In Romans 5 Paul exults in his righteous standing before God.44 In chapter 6 he speaks of the freedom of sin which Christ has accomplished in believers,45 a freedom from which Paul confesses had not yet become fully realized in his own daily practice (chapter 7).46 Nonetheless, coming into chapter 8, he recounts the fact that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.47 With increasing flourish, he rehearses numerous gospel themes throughout the length of chapter 8, and he climaxes the chapter with a triumphant exclamation to conquer overwhelmingly in all things.48
What effect do such gospel meditations have upon Paul? What emotions so they produce in him besides the obvious joy he feels while reciting them? Paul bares his soul at the very beginning of chapter 9: “I have great sorrow,” he says, “and unceasing grief in my heart. For I could which that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ, for the sake of my brethren, my kinsman according to the flesh.”49
Coming down from the heights of gospel meditation, Paul’s heart is devastated by a burden for his fellow-Jews to experience the saving power of the gospel. His burden existed long before he started writing, but it is undoubtedly intensified by his rehearsal of gospel truths in Romans 5-8, a rehearsal which inevitably leads his thoughts toward the plight of those outside Christ.
Hence, if I wish to have a ‘Romans 9″ kind of burden for non-Christians, I should become practiced at celebrating the gospel as Paul does in Romans 5-8. Over time, my joy in the gospel will become increasingly tinged with grief, and this grief-stained joy will lend a God-inspired passion to my ministry of evangelizing the lost.
44-Romans 5. “(1) Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,…(2)…and we exult…(3)…we …exult…(11)…we exult…”
45-Romans 6. “(1) What shall we say then? Are we to continue to live in sin so that grace may increase? (2) May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it? 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,”
46-Romans 7:19. “For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want.”
47-Romans 8:1. “(35) “Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?…(37) But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. (38) For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, (39) nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
48-Romans 9. “(1) I am telling the truth in Christ…(2) that I have great sorrow and unceasing grief in my heart. (3) For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh. (4) who are Israelites…”