Part 2 of 2: Guarding the Gospel at Bible Study
When you open God’s word with others there is one sure way to find freedom and joy: guard the gospel.
Here’s what it looks like: you sit down with friends, pray, and read a passage of the Bible together. Next, after a few minutes, a command of God becomes clear (such as: you shall not lie, or love one another). So far so good. But what comes next?
If you want the truth to set you free, and if you want to rejoice in the Lord, consider how you yourself honestly measure up to God’s standard here. You might ponder together how God cares about the hidden thoughts and even hates sin on a heart-level. You can grieve over the sins of others and their effect on society, but make sure you own your part: be honest about your own sin.
Then comes the crucial step: remember the cross. Remember that Jesus died to save sinners. Remember that those who are well have no need for a physician–but only those who are sick. Own your sickness before God. Confess your sins–even to one another if you can. Acknowledge your need before God; let it ring in your prayers (“have mercy on me…”) Remember that Jesus fulfilled the law that you couldn’t keep. He obeyed all of God’s commandments on behalf of sinners who trust in Him. It is His Spirit that works in believers to act the way God wants us to act. Remember these things and talk about them. Remind each other of these things in your Bible study. When you close in prayer you’ll spill over with thanks and depend deeply on God.
You’ll know you have succeeded because you will feel smaller in a good way. You will have a deep satisfaction and happiness. You will be rejoicing in the Lord. You will be able to relax with one another. You will drop the posturing and posing for one another because God sees you for who you really are and accepts you because of Christ. The smiles will remind you of someone who just received as a gift something she could never earn.
There will be freedom and joy.