The new self Paul speaks of will emerge more and more as we allow the gospel to remove idolatry’s shackles. Suddenly, stepping out into the gospel’s freedom, we can see ourselves as we really are and not be panic-stricken. We’re released from the pressure of having to do and be everything in order to meet our vast unmet inner needs. We finally sense how Jesus is the everything who meets those needs.
The gospel liberates us to be okay with not being okay. We know we’re not – though we try very hard to convince other people we are. But the gospel tells us, “Relax, it is finished.”
Because of the gospel, we have nothing to prove or protect. We can stop pretending. The gospel frees us from trying to impress people, to prove ourselves to people, to make people think we’re something that we’re not. The gospel frees us from what one writer calls “the law of capability” – the law, he says, “that judges us wanting if we are not capable, if we cannot handle it all, if we are not competent to balance our diverse commitments without a slip.” The gospel grants us the strength to admit we’re weak and needy and restless – knowing that Christ’s finished work has proven to be all the strength and fulfillment and peace we could ever want, and more.
– Tullian Tchividjian, 2011
Leave out the holy character of God, the holy excellence of his law, the holy condemnation to which transgressors are doomed, the holy loveliness of the Saviour’s character, the holy nature of redemption, the holy tendency of Christ’s doctrine, and the holy tempers and conduct of all true believers: then dress up a scheme of religion of the unholy sort: represent mankind in a pitiable condition, rather through misfortune than crime: speak much of Christ’s bleeding love to them, of his agonies in the garden and on the cross; without showing the need of the nature of satisfaction for sin; of the freeness with which he dispenses pardons; of the privileges which believers enjoy here, and of the happiness and glory reserved for them hereafter: clog this with nothing about regeneration and sanctification, or represent holiness as somewhat else than conformity to the holy character and law of God: and you make up a plausible gospel, calculated to humour the pride, soothe the consciences, engage the hearts, and raise the affections of natural men, who love nobody but themselves.
– Thomas Scott, 1824