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 “B”.
B is for Belief
We must continually teach and learn the Gospel because even Christians struggle to believe God’s Good News. The message of the cross is both countercultural and counterintuitive. To the world it is foolishness and weakness. To our flesh it is simply too good to be true. And Satan, the devil–that accuser of the brethren–continually speaks a contradictory word to our hearts. He accuses us before God as surely as he accused Joshua the high priest (Zech. 3:1). Hearing all this we, with full knowledge of our failings, struggle to believe the truth of the Gospel. To believe it at an appropriately deep level, with an appropriate appreciation of all that it presupposes and implies, is a lifelong task. We must hear it again and again and ask God to seal its truth in our hearts. “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24)