The gospel breathes life into a man’s weary spirit primarily in three ways:
- It provides freedom from the past
- It provides power for the present
- It provides hope for the future
1. Freedom from the Past
I think every man carries around some sort of wound, baggage, things that they’ve done, mistakes that they’ve made, sins that they’ve committed. Even if they’ve repented of these things, sometimes they don’t feel forgiven or they feel like they can’t escape from under that shadow.
The gospel comes in and says that what you were does not define you. You are what God says you are in Christ. Understanding the rich truth of justification gives us great freedom from the past.
2. Power for the Present
In the gospel comes the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit. We really do have the Spirit working according to the Father’s will to make us more like Christ . We do have the power to obey.
But when we fall short—as we often do—we know that we have the grace to forgive us so that we’re not defined by our worst deeds. We really do have the Spirit’s empowering presence for our present work and effort.
3. Hope for the Future
Most men worry about providing for their families and making sure the bottom doesn’t fall out from underneath them. The harsh truth of living in a broken and sinful world is that we have no guarantee of security; Jesus said, “In this world you will have tribulation” (John 16:33). We don’t know what tomorrow will bring.
But we do have the guarantee that our hope is secure in the gospel. The hope that we have in Christ is not the same hope that we often refer to in everyday language (e.g., “I hope something good will happen.). Our hope in Christ is a sure hope—a secure hope.
Every man can wake up in the morning with fresh mercies and with the understanding that whatever happens to his bank account or with his family or whatever else, he is united to Christ and therefore he is as secure as Christ himself is.
Jared C. Wilson is the director of content strategy at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Missouri, and a contributor to the ESV Men’s Devotional Bible.