March 4, 2023 | by: Justin Schroeder | 0 comments
We are hard-wired by God to talk about that which we love. Whatever consumes our affections will come out of our mouths. Jesus said, out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks (Luke 6:45b). Whether we love earthly things or heavenly things will be evident by what comes out of our mouths.
Jesus told a story in Luke 7 about a woman who had been forgiven of much sin. Her actions towards Christ were so lavish that those around the table thought her to be odd. But Jesus knew that her actions were from a deep well of gospel-motivated love. For this woman knew what she deserved and just how much she had been forgiven (Luke 7:47). And so Jesus used this woman’s actions as an example of gospel-rich love that His disciples both then and now should emulate.
If we are honest, the longer we walk with Jesus, the more we tend to forget just how much we have been forgiven. It is easy to have gospel-amnesia. This is why Paul rehearses gospel memories in 1 Timothy 1:13– though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. Decades after his conversion, Paul is rehearsing specific instances and specific actions from before his conversion. As he remembers what he once was, he explodes with gospel joy – but I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief!
Decades after coming to Christ, the gospel was still precious to Paul. The gospel still stoked Paul’s passion for Christ. You can almost hear it in his voice, but I received mercy! As if it is hard to believe. The shock, the wonder, the amazement, the love of those who know what they deserve but who also know that they have been given mercy!
Upon mentioning the simple but glorious reality of receiving mercy, Paul declares– and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus…that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. It is abundantly clear that Paul never forgot just how much he had been forgiven. Just like the woman in Luke 7:47, Paul loved much because Paul had been forgiven much (and he never let himself forget it).
And so it just makes sense that the very next words out of Paul’s mouth are – But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. For when the gospel is remembered and rehearsed, we are eager to see more and more come to know this mercy! For when we remember all that we have been given by God in Christ, we are compelled all the more to tell others of this great mercy of God that we have received.
If we use Jesus and Paul as our guides (not a bad line up), remembering just how much you have been forgiven stokes the flame of love for Christ in the soul.
And as Christ is loved more and more, Christ will be proclaimed all the more. For we were hardwired by God to talk about that which we love.
If Christ is your supreme and ever increasing love, then Christ will be that One that you delight to speak of.
And so brothers & sisters, let’s be a people that regularly rehearse the glorious gospel of grace (for we are always in need of the gospel), and then we will be a people that eagerly declares this glorious gospel of grace so that more might come to know Him!
Justin Schroeder is Pastor of Redeemer Bible Church in Elk Grove, California.
Justin was our speaker at our Body Life Conference held January 27-29, 2023
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