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 “W”.
W is for Worship
We must continually teach and learn the Gospel because there is simply nothing else that evokes worship and adoration as the Gospel does. A quick survey of the hymnody of the church through the past twenty centuries makes this clear. The best hymns–ancient and contemporary–which have shown themselves to have staying power have always been Gospel-obsessed. God is glorified, Christ is exalted, and the cross and Christ’s atoning work are central. The same is true of other key elements of Christian worship–our preaching, our confessions, our prayers, our sacraments. Take away the Gospel and Christian worship simply ceases. The Gospel moves us endlessly to wonder and adore.