Now brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel, you are saved if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believe in vain.
1st Corinthians 15:1-2
The Apostle went on to describe the gospel of God as the announcement of the death of Christ for our sins according to the Scripture, His burial, and resurrection according to the Scripture. As such, the gospel message declares what is easily the most incredible sequence of events in the history of mankind. How could anyone forget it?
Well, the Corinthians did. A casual walk through the letter gives us all sorts of evidences that they were muddling along with no recollection whatsoever of the gospel. Factions in their church, sexual deviance left to thrive without a hint of correction, believers taking each other to court, the careless exercise of "Christian freedom", a low view of the Lord's Supper/Communion, and the disbelief in the resurrection of the dead-- all point to the simple prognosis: if you had remembered the gospel, these things would not be going on.
But still, HOW could they forget, you ask? That's easy. Let's look at ourselves. How is it that we forget?
When we experience yet another nearly prayer-less day, it's proof positive that we have forgotten the gospel.
When we refuse to forgive people who hurt us we show forth how little we have remembered the gospel.
When sin becomes our reason to hide from worship and daily walk with God, it's only because the work of Jesus on the cross and the love of the Father has not crossed our minds-- not even a little bit.
At each occasion that we withhold the good that we could do-- especially to our brothers and sisters in Christ-- it is specifically because we have forgotten the ultimate good that was done on our behalf through the death, burial and resurrection of our Lord.
Gospel-consciousness means that I understand the intense desire of God to draw a people unto Himself in Christ and even make each one of them the abode of the Holy Spirit. How could I ignore praying to a God like that? A gospel-centered life means that I have embraced the forgiveness of God for my sins. How can I refuse to forgive others? The gospel-saturated heart will not hide from God for the sake of sin. In fact, we ought to draw all the closer to God because we know of His grace and closeness to the contrite. A life motivated by the gospel is marked by good works; not to earn God's favor, but because God's favor has so overtaken the heart of the believer that his/her mind, hands, and feet can't help but respond by doing good to all and especially those in the family of God.
In short, we forget the gospel because it proclaims and represents a righteousness that is foreign to us. In the broadest sense, law is something we all have. Law is built-in and we can't escape it. It is also our nature to earn our way. We desire the status of having "deserved" a good thing. That's why we all need the gospel preached to us. Day to day, we are so much more familiar with "Thou shalt" or "Thou shalt not" than we are of a passage like, "He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all-- how will He not also along with Him, graciously give us all things?" The life based on the one perspective is lived so differently from life driven by the other reality.
Without a doubt, the Law is good and shows us what is good. But more importantly, it shows us our need for the Gospel of God. Christ has given His life to win for us what we could not earn. And if this is true, then we ought to be of a mind to give freely to them, who in our poor estimation, have not deserved whatever we call "precious".