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 “J”.
J is for Jealousy
We learn and teach the Gospel because we are called to be jealous for those we serve. The apostle Paul declared to the Corinthian believers, “I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy. I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him” (2 Cor. 11:2). If we think jealousy is unbecoming in the apostle, we should remember that God himself is a jealous God (Exod. 20:5). True love that is covenant based is properly jealous concerning the parties in that covenant. We must keep the true Gospel before the eyes of those whom we teach and serve so that they will avoid what Paul feared for the Corinthians–that is, that they should “be deceived by the serpent’s cunning” and “somehow be led astray from [a] sincere and pure devotion to Christ” (2 Cor. 11:3). Deeper acquaintance with the true Gospel will help believers recognize and reject the preaching of “another Jesus” and “a different Gospel” (2 Cor. 11:4).