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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 “P”.

P is for Passion

Passion comes from the Latin passio, meaning “suffering.” We celebrate each year the passion of our Lord when we attend to the historic remembrance of Holy Week. Likewise, whenever we partake of the Lord’s Supper together we “proclaim the Lord’s death till he comes.” It is given to us not only to believe in Christ the Suffering Servant but also to suffer for him ourselves (Phil. 1:29). Paul saw his own suffering for the Gospel and for the building up of the church as an active participation in the afflictions of Christ (Col. 1:24; Phil. 3:10-11). We must be forthright in teaching our congregants, by word and by example, that this is part of our calling as well.