The gospel is a very simple message: “God saves sinners” (as J.I. Packer puts it). And in one sense, our response to the gospel is also a very simple thing: confess your sins and your need for a Savior and embrace Jesus as your sufficient Savior.

This isn’t complicated. It doesn’t take a theologian or even an educated person to get it.

But at the same time, responding to the gospel is not easy or natural. While all that’s required is to trust in Jesus, our sinful hearts will constantly put their trust in anything but Jesus. We will look for any and every way to live for self and not submit to God. We will find a million ways to drift into legalism or mere religion, where we only have to give God “this much,” and don’t have to give him our whole lives.

The gospel is not complicated; but your heart is.

Which means that we must constantly be assessing where we are placing our hope and trust. Within our hearts there is a never-ending game of “King of the Hill,” with Jesus, the only rightful king, constantly being pushed off the throne by substitute gods. And we have to keep repenting of these idols, pushing them off the hill, and putting God back in His rightful spot.

So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin. Romans 7:21-25