The Gospel + All Things

"The gospel is all that I have" has limitations when it comes to training the minds and hearts of our faith

Through the gospel, I have the past, where Jesus lived and died on my behalf; I have the present, in which I am kept for eternal life by God’s grace; and I have the future, which holds no fear for those who are treasured in the hand of the Almighty.  Through the gospel I have heaven, where my name is enrolled forever, and I have earth, over which my Savior exercises all power and authority. 


I recently attended a college ministry event in which a number of students gave testimonies about how their lives have been impacted.  As is so often the case, it was enormously encouraging and spoke of great saving fruit arising from that campus labor.  I was struck, however, by a statement made by one of the students that we hear increasingly today.  Telling about how God’s grace has impacted her, she stated, “The gospel is all that I have.”

In the sense in which the student made that statement, it was a blessing to the ears and the heart.  I gather that she meant, “The only thing I can rely upon in my relationship with God and in my life is the good news of Jesus Christ.”  Amen.  But the statement itself, especially as it has become a stock in trade of young Reformed Christians, is a bit concerning.  It seems that every generation has its motto, expressing the attitude of that cultural moment among believers.  A generation ago we often heard, “God is my co-pilot.”  The sentiment of this expression was that God is right there beside me as I make my decisions and face life’s challenges.  The problem with that motto was that God is considerably more than a co-pilot in the journey of salvation!  Today, the motto seems to be “the gospel is all that I have.”  And while it too expresses a godly sentiment, it has limitations when it comes to training the minds and hearts of our faith.

If I was in a pastoral or parental relationship with the student I mentioned, I would have liked to have said to her afterwards, “It is so great that you are relying on the gospel for all things.  But, you know, that the truth is that with the gospel you actually have all things.”  This was Paul’s point in the great statement of Romans 8:32, where he asks, “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?”  The glorious truth is that while the gospel is all we have to stand on before God, with the gospel God provides us with all things!

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