What does this mean?Timothy Keller helpfully describes personal gospel renewal this way: “Personal gospel renewal means the gospel doctrines of sin and grace are actually experienced, not just known intellectually. This personal renewal includes an awareness and conviction of one’s own sin and alienation from God and comes from seeing in ourselves deeper layers of self-justification, unbelief, and self-righteousness than we have ever seen before. There is a new, commensurate grasp of the wonder of forgiveness and grace as we shed these attitudes and practices and rest in Christ alone for salvation. Perhaps we have previously said that we were “resting in Christ’s work, not our own work” for salvation, but when we experience gospel renewal, we have a new clarity about what this means in our mind and a new experience of actually doing it with our heart.”
This type of being renewed personally is the wellspring out of which all of the other changes will flow, both personally (greater growth in holiness, a greater hunger for God’s word, growth in hospitality and witness) and on a corporate & social level (the church loving one another well, being unified, working for justice in the world and defending the powerless).
One Minute Intro
ExploreThese resources will help you explore what it would look like to develop this characteristic in your life as a disciple:
- READ “The Need For Gospel Renewal” by Tim Keller (5 mins).
- READ a testimony of gospel renewal from John Bunyan, in “Grace Abounding To The Chief of Sinners” (1 min)
- MEDITATE on the “Orphans vs. Children of God” comparison. When we experience gospel renewal, we begin embracing our identity as children of God.
Pray and Reflect
- When we experience gospel renewal, we become aware of deeper levels of our own sin and our own tendency towards self-justification. Is there any area of your life, recently, where you have become aware of deeper levels of your own sin and your own tendency towards self-justification? What have been the effects of this awareness?
- When we experience gospel renewal, we also become more aware of the depth of God’s grace for us, in our sin. Is there any area of your life, recently, where you have become more aware and more appreciative of the depths of God’s grace for you personally?
- 1 Corinthians 2:12 says that Christians have received, “not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God.” Pray that the Holy Spirit would help you understand more deeply “the things God has freely given you”—that He would help you to personally grasp your own justification and adoption.
Dive DeeperCheck out these books and videos for a “deep dive” into the theology and practice of how to intentionally lead others to live as gospel-centered disciples.
- Renewal as a Way of Life by Richard Lovelace Based on a study of times of significant gospel renewal throughout history, this book distills primary beliefs that catalyze gospel renewal in the church, as well as the practices that help sustain gospel renewal.
- Keep in Step With The Spirit by J.I. Packer This book is an in-depth study of the Holy Spirit’s role in the renewal and growth of a Christian.
- “Kingdom Centered Prayer” by Tim Keller This article helps motivate and instruct Christians in praying for gospel renewal.
Get ConnectedGrowing as a disciple is a group project. Here’s how you can grow in this characteristic with others:
- I’d like to join a small group where I can discover with others how to lead others to live as gospel-centered disciples.
- I’d like to get coffee with a staff member and consider how I can either begin or continue to lead others to live as gospel-centered disciples. Email Ben to set this up.
- I’d like to attend a Friday AM prayer gathering for gospel renewal in the church. Our current gathering meets on Fridays from 6:30-7:30 AM at the church (Lower Level). Contact us if you have further questions.