Most of us have an internal compass that directs us in conversation. We move toward or away from topics that make the other person uncomfortable or irritated. But as Christians grow, the Holy Spirit begins to override this compass, helping us to honor God instead of making relational peace our only aim.
The gospel of Jesus Christ brings to us an abundance of gifts. When we believe, we have new life; we have the forgiveness of our sins; we are new people, made part of the body of Christ, the church.
But the blessings of the gospel keep on coming, some of which we may not realize until months or years later.
In particular, the gospel gives us courage.
Courage to Approach God
Believing the gospel involves confessing our sin, and once we begin to glimpse our sin, we realize a portion of its horror. In the presence of our holy God, and without a mediator, this sin would electroshock our hearts, leaving us quivering on the ground. We would only fear God’s judgment, knowing we don’t belong anywhere near him.
But the gospel tells us that we now “have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (1 John 2:1). He is “the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 2:2), meaning that he absorbed God’s wrath that we deserved.
This changes everything!
We now have confidence to go to God. We can “with confidence draw near to the throne of grace” for “help in time of need” (Heb 4:16). Paul tells us that in Christ “we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him” (Eph 3:12) We have assurance that God hears us when we pray: “And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us” (1 John 5:14).
While we must not approach God with irreverence or presume upon him, we no longer come into his presence as one only flinching before a disciplinarian. We come to a holy God, but this holy God is our Father.
Courage to Admit Our Sin
If we understand that a fundamental part of us (our sin) is known fully by God, and if we grasp that he is devoted to us despite this knowledge, then our attitude toward our sin can change.