In his book, Grounded in the Gospel: Building Believers the Old-Fashioned Way, J.I. Packer has a chapter entitled “The Gospel as of First Importance.” In that chapter, Packer discusses the pastoral and formational applications of the Gospel. Many are familiar with the quote from Tim Keller that “the Gospel is not the ABC’s of the Christian life; it is the A through Z of the Christian life.” Packer writes,
“In that spirit we offer the following ‘Gospel Alphabet’–twenty-six pastoral and formative reasons why the Gospel must retain primacy as the content of Christian education” (108).
Beginning this week, I will take one letter of the Gospel Alphabet and excerpt it here for your weekly encouragement (similar to the “Signs You Are Growing in Grace” series). This week, we begin with the letter “A”.
A is for Alignment
We must continually teach and learn the Gospel because it is to be the “plumb line” for our doctrine and our living. We are to measure all our teaching to ensure that it is in line with–that is, conformed to–the glorious Gospel of God (1 Tim. 1:11). If our teaching about God, humanity, sin, salvation, the church, last things, and whatever other doctrines we may teach do not accord with the Gospel then they must be rejected. Likewise, our way of living must conform to the sound doctrines that flow from the Gospel. If, like Peter and Barnabas, we begin to act in ways that are “not in keeping with the truth of the Gospel” (Gal. 2:14), may God raise up for us a Paul-like brother or sister to confront us and correct us.