(I'm currently reading through Jerry Bridges' book The Discipline of Grace, along with others at Challies.com)
This week's chapter is entitled "Preach the Gospel to Yourselves," and opens with the observation that many Christians cannot articulate the gospel. It is not that they do not believe, or not converted, but they cannot fully express what the gospel contains. Bridges points out that we may know enough of it to direct a person to make a "decision," but there is much more to the gospel than that.
Bridges then takes the reader what he believes is one of the best passages of Scripture to articulate the gospel, Romans 3:16-26. From this passage, he gives seven truths that we need to understand if we are going to preach the gospel to ourselves, which is what we want to do. We learn that 1) no one is declared righteous through the law; 2) righteousness from God is apart from the law; 3) righteousness is received through faith in Christ; 4) this righteousness is available to everyone, because everyone sinned; 5) all who put their faith in Christ are justified by God's grace; 6) justification comes through the redemption of Christ; and 7) Jesus is a sacrifice of atonement through faith in his blood.
Through understanding these truths, we begin to see the truth of grace. The same grace that bought us our deliverance from sin is the same grace that we rely upon day in and day out as we live our lives. Bridges says:
To preach the gospel to yourself, then, means that you continually face up to your own sinfulness and then flee to Jesus through faith in His shed blood and righteous life. It means that you apprpriate, again by faith, the fact that Jesus fully satisfied the law of God, that He is your propitiation, and that God's holy wrath is no longer directed toward you.
This grace ought to remind us that we did not buy our own salvation, and it reminds us that we need not live with guilt, but in freedom.
Bridges closes the chapter with this:
When you set yourself seriously to pursue holiness, you will begin to realize what an awful sinner you are. And if you are not firmly rooted in the gospel and have not learned to preach it to yourself every day, you will soon become discouraged and will slack off in your pursuit of holiness.
I can see from personal experience that Bridges is correct about become discouraged. It was a good ten years after my conversion before I really understood what the day to day consequences of my salvation was, and even then, it's been baby steps to understand completely.