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).
This week, we come to the letter “D”.
D is for Depth
As we noted earlier, we do not move from the milk of the Gospel to the meat of something else, but from the milk of the Gospel to the meat of the Gospel. Even Paul, concluding his exposition of the Gospel and preparing to move on to its implications for life, closes his argument in awe and wonder: “Oh, the depths of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments and his paths beyond tracing out!” (Rom. 11:33).
The wonder of how deep and powerful the Gospel is–especially as it works its way into believing hearts–is well articulated in this Puritan prayer:
Blessed Lord Jesus,
No human mind could conceive or invent the Gospel.
Acting in eternal grace, thou art both its messenger and its message,
lived out on earth through infinite compassion,
applying thy life to insult, injury, death,
that I might be redeemed, ransomed, freed.
Blessed be thou, O Father, for contriving this way,
Eternal thanks to thee, O Lamb of God, for opening this way,
Praise to thee, O Holy Spirit,
for applying this way to my heart.
Glorious Trinity, impress the Gospel on my soul,
until its virtue diffuses through every faculty;
Let it be heard, acknowledged, professed, felt.