We’ve discussed preaching to yourself here on the blog before. But since the topic was an emphasis on Sunday morning at Capitol City, I wanted to circle back to the idea. If, as Luther says, we need to beat the gospel into our own heads continually, what are some specific truths we can cling to, believe, meditate upon, and preach to ourselves?
This isn’t an exhaustive list, but its a start. Remember, believing that “a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ” (Gal 2:16) means believing that through faith alone in Christ alone, we are both innocent (because our sin is credited to Christ) and favored (because Christ’s righteousness is credited to us) in the mind and heart of God. I’ve broken these texts into these two categories, to help focus our minds on the specific truths of justification by faith.
These are Scriptures that promise complete and total forgiveness of our sins – or, our innocence in the eyes of God through justification by faith:
As far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us. (Psalm 103:12)
“Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.(Isaiah 1:18)
“I, I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins.” (Isaiah 43:25)
All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. (Isaiah 53:6)
“Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.” (Romans 4:7-8)
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:1)
These are Scriptures that encourage complete reliance on the righteousness of Christ – or, how fully favored we are because of justification by faith:
For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous. (Romans 5:19)
For, being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes. (Romans 10:3-4)
And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption… (1 Corinthians 1:30)
For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:21)
And be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith… (Philippians 3:9)
It seems like every time we really drill down on justification by faith, I hear people – mature, established Christians – responding as if it is brand new information. That’s confirmation that we need to beat these truths into our own heads continually! Unless we are constantly reforming our minds and hearts with gospel truths, we’ll drift into a system of performance-driven, self-justification. Let’s fight that inclination by preaching these gospel truths to ourselves and to each other.