If the gospel—even when you are orthodox—becomes something which you primarily assume, but what you are excited about is what you are doing in some sort of social reconstruction, you will be teaching the people that you influence that the gospel really isn’t all that important. You won’t be saying that—you won’t even mean that—but that’s what you will be teaching. And then you are only half a generation away from losing the gospel.
Make sure that in your own practice and excitement, what you talk about, what you think about, what you pray over, what you exude confidence over, joy over, what you are enthusiastic about is Jesus, the gospel, the cross. And out of that framework, by all means, let the transformed life flow.
I find it extremely challenging to know that when I try teach others, it may not be my presentation or teaching skill that really makes an impact on others. It is my enthusiasm and excitement along with repetition. What I find most interesting about this is that second paragraph where Carson says we can inadvertently teach others that the gospel isn't really that important. We do that by assuming they already know the gospel and so we focus our excitement on other areas. Typically these other areas are areas of gospel application. What we inadvertently communicate is that actually knowing and understanding the gospel is less important than doing good things because of the gospel. Unfortunately what happens when people skip learning the gospel to move straight to the application that should result from the gospel is that application becomes the focal point of their devotion to God. By assuming the most important part of our faith, we make it less important to those who learn from us.
So here is the question: What are you teaching? What are you excited about? What can you just not stop talking about? Is it Jesus? Is it the cross?
What are you teaching?