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 “V”.
V is for Vision
Keeping our minds focused on the Gospel can help us align our hearts to God’s own heart. We so easily fall into pettiness and needless division when we are not prizing the things God prizes. Jesus endured the cross and its shame because of the joy set before him (Heb. 12:2), a joy which we take to refer to the fact that through suffering and death he would bring many children to glory (Heb. 2:10-18). Paul likewise endured all manner of things for the sake of the Gospel and in the furtherance of its saving ministry (1 Cor. 9:23; Phil. 1:12-13; 2 Tim. 1:11-12). A clear vision of the gospel imparts great fortitude in struggling toward it and great forbearance in the face of distractions from it.