Today I want to recommend a simple and yet tremendously helpful book by Milton Vincent entitled The Gospel Primer. Vincent does a superb job at connecting gospel realities to the way we think and live day to day. The largest and most valuable part of the book is a section containing numerous self-contained paragraphs describing simple ways the gospel applies to daily life. It's a like a rich dessert- you don't need much to satisfy and you're left with the lingerings of a sweet taste in your mouth.
This would be a great book to have in the car, on the kitchen table, on your nightstand, in your bathroom or wherever else you find spare moments to read.
Here are a couple of quotes to whet your appetite.
“Preaching the gospel to myself each day mounts a powerful assault against my pride and serves to establish humility in its place. Nothing suffocates my pride more than daily reminders regarding the glory of my God, the gravity of my sins, and the crucifixion of God’s own Son in my place. Also, the gracious love of God, lavished on me because of Christ’s death, is always humbling to remember, especially when viewed against the backdrop of the Hell I deserve.”
- Milton Vincent, A Gospel Primer for Christians (2008), 27-28.
“When my mind is fixed on the gospel, I have ample stimulation to show God’s love to other people. For I am always willing to show love to others when I am freshly mindful of the love that God has shown me. Also, the gospel gives me the wherewithal to give forgiving grace to those who have wronged me, for it reminds me daily of the forgiving grace that God is showing me.
Doing good and showing love to those who have wronged me is always the opposite of what my sinful flesh wants me to do. Nonetheless, when I remind myself of my sins against God and of His forgiveness and generous grace toward me, I give the gospel an opportunity to reshape my perspective and to put me in a frame of mind wherein I actually desire to give this same grace to those who have wronged me.”
“On the most basic levels, I desire fullness, and fleshly lusts seduce me by attaching themselves to this basic desire. They exploit the empty spaces in me, and they promise that fulness will be mine if I give in to their demands. When my soul sits empty and is aching for something to fill it, such deceptive promises are extremely difficult to resist.
Consequently, the key to mortifying fleshly lusts is to eliminate the emptiness within me and replace it with fullness; and I accomplish this by feasting on the gospel. Indeed, it is in the gospel that I experience a God who glorifies Himself by filling me with His fullness. . . . This is the God of the gospel, a God who is satisfied with nothing less than my experience of fullness in Him! . . .
Indeed, as I perpetually feast on Christ and all His blessings found in the gospel, I find that my hunger for sin diminishes and the lies of lust simply lose their appeal. Hence, to the degree that I am full, I am free. Eyes do not rove, nor do fleshly lusts rule, when the heart is fat with the love of Jesus!”