This Changes Everything

I used to get bored when I heard salvation messages preached. That's for the unsaved people, I would think. It doesn't apply to me now that I'm saved—as if the gospel were some kind of one-and-done thing. I got saved when I was four years old. That was in the past, and I wanted to move on to living my Christian life. Give me the sermons about knowing God's will and purity and loving my neighbor and marriage. I wanted to hear the stuff that applied to me in my current stage of life.

The gospel isn't an isolated event. It's the means by which we're saved, and it's the power by which we live for Christ.

And then I went to college, and by the grace of God, I fell on my knees before Christ. He moved so powerfully within my heart to bring me to the realization—the amazing, world-shattering realization—that the gospel is my life. Because of Christ, because of His work on the cross, I wasn't saved to move on from what He did for me there. I was saved to sit at the feet of His cross, worshiping Him, growing in Him, becoming more and more like Him.

I was wrecked. And it was amazing. What I thought I knew about the Christian life had just radically changed, and I couldn't get enough. His cross? It changes everything.

Before, I just didn't get it. I believed that Jesus Christ saved me, but I didn't grasp that the gospel became the foundation on which I was standing. The gospel isn't an isolated event. It's the means by which we're saved, and it's the power by which we live for Christ.

The Gospel Is the Basis for Our Living

The gospel makes us new creatures in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17). It sets us free from the slavery of sin (Gal. 5:1). It writes "forgiven" on our hearts (Eph. 1:7). You may know those things as facts in your head, but has that head knowledge impacted your heart? Have you ever thought about how your whole life has been transformed because of all that the gospel makes new?

When we behold what Christ did to save us, we have motivation to dedicate our lives to Him. There's a debt that's been paid for us. As we bask in that glorious reality, we begin to understand that we can't do anything but reflect the praises of God in thankfulness.

The Gospel is the Basis for Our Thanksgiving

Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving. . . . And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him (Col. 2:6-7;13-15, emphasis added).

In this passage we're told to abound in thanksgiving, and Paul tells us the reason why: because Christ has made us alive with Him, forgiving our sins and canceling our debt.

Do you want to have joy? Do you want to cultivate a thankful heart? Start with the gospel. Think often about your Savior. Camp in Scripture passages about the gospel.

Let gospel truth seep into your soul so deeply that you can't go a single day without praising the Lord for what He's done.

Gospel Gratitude at Thanksgiving

We're enjoying a season with a special emphasis on giving thanks. I don't know about you, but sometimes it feels like I'm squeezing my brain, telling it to just be thankful—because it's supposed to be thankful. Yet I've discovered that the thankful brain squeeze doesn't always work.

Let gospel truth seep into your soul so deeply that you can't go a single day without praising the Lord for what He's done.

The gospel changes that. It makes us genuinely thankful. No brain squeezing required. No forced "I'm thankful for" lists. Gospel focus cultivates gratitude in ways we'd never expect.

What if we spent this season focusing on, pondering, glorying in Christ's gospel? Pick a passage of Scripture and camp there. Wrestle with it, asking the Holy Spirit to guide your thoughts. Journal prayers of thankfulness to Christ.

Here are some Scripture passages and ideas to help you get started:

1. Dig into these passages:

2. Pick one of the four gospels, and read through the entire book this week. Thoughtfully consider Christ's life, crucifixion, burial, and victorious resurrection.

3. As you read, underline verses that stand out to you. Write them in a journal or on notecards. Make notes in the margins of your Bible.

4. Pray through Psalms of thanksgiving. Here are a few:

5. Pop in your earbuds, and listen to these Revive Our Hearts podcasts:

6. Pour a cup of coffee, find a quiet spot, grab a soft blanket, and watch this video, "Jesus, What a Wonderful Name!" It's all Scripture all about Christ. Pray that your heart would be moved to deep thankfulness for our Savior.

7. Dedicate an extended time of prayer to thanking God for His glorious gift of salvation. Thank Him for how He's changed your life, pray Scripture, pray for people who need the gospel.

How has Christ's glorious gospel changed your life? How has it made you thankful? Will you spend time worshiping and thanking Christ this week? 

About the Author

Samantha Keller

Samantha Keller loves lazy lake days, strong coffee, and writing about the ways Jesus transforms our everyday messes into beautiful stories. She digs the four seasons in northern Indiana, is probably wearing a Notre Dame crew neck.