Welcome to the Second Half of the Gospel


Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you. 

Jesus, I belong to you.

I lift up my heart to you.
I set my mind on you.
I fix my eyes on you.
I offer my body as a holy and living sacrifice to you. 

Jesus, We belong to you. 

Praying in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, amen. 

Romans 8:1–11 (NIV)

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.

You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness. And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.


Romans 8 introduces us to what I like to call the second half of the gospel. This is the territory of great awakening. Why do I say this? Because most self-identifying Christians are not really pressing into Romans 8 so much. They are still back in Romans 5–6 territory as it relates to their faith and living more in a Romans 7-esque experience of anemic growth and arrested development. And if you don’t believe me take a look at this five-minute video we made on day one of Seedbed (now more than ten years ago). 

Here’s why I call Romans 8 the territory of great awakening. When the church wakes up to the second half of the gospel, the world will wake up to the first half of the gospel. See what I mean? The world is simply not going to wake up as a result of the witness of a lot of half-baked Christians. So what about this movement from the first half of the gospel to the second half of the gospel? Here’s a sketch: 

The second half of the gospel is the big shift from:

  • Romans 5–6 to Romans 8.
  • Jesus is my Savior to Jesus is my Lord.
  • The Holy Spirit is an interesting idea to the Holy Spirit is an infused reality.
  • Deliverance from the penalty of sin to deliverance from the power of sin.
  • Forgiveness for sins to freedom from sin.
  • Justification by grace through faith to sanctification by grace through faith.
  • Lord, you took me out of Egypt too—now take Egypt out of me.
  • God as King and Judge to God as Abba Father.
  • True in principle to true in fact.
  • Christian in name to Christian in game.
  • A life of commitment to a life of consecration.
  • I’m not perfect, just forgiven to I’m not just forgiven I’m being made perfect.

Again—the big idea—when the church wakes up to the second half of the gospel, the world will wake up to the first half of the gospel. And then we will be ready to lead them into the fullness of the second half. It makes sense, doesn’t it? When a person who says they are a Christian actually begins to live the Christian life, people take note.

And if you didn’t take time to watch the five-minute video, now would be a good time. And no comments on how much I’ve aged. ;0) 


Father, I’m ready for the second half of the gospel. I am ready for the life-giving law of the Spirit to be the governing dynamic of my life. I am ready to leave behind the country of a compromised life. Thank you Jesus for this life, which is your life in my life. Thank you for sending the Holy Spirit who makes this life real. I’m ready. Praying in Jesus’s name, amen.


Does the first half—second half framework help you make sense of how the gospel works? Are you ready? What holds you back?


This week we will be singing one of the all-time greatest hits of Charles Wesley, “Love Divine All Love’s Excelling.” It is hymn 88 in our Seedbed hymnal, Our Great Redeemer’s Praise. We will take our time as it could fairly be called the theme song of the second half of the gospel. It is dense with theology and we need to digest the depths of what we are singing. 

For the Awakening,
J. D. Walt

P.S. I made it back from England . . .

And I’ll be giving a brief update on the podcast recording of today’s episode in case you are interested. Thank you for praying for me. 

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WHAT IS THIS? Wake-Up Call is a daily encouragement to shake off the slumber of our busy lives and turn our eyes toward Jesus. Each morning our community gathers around a Scripture, a reflection, a prayer, and a few short questions, inviting us to reorient our lives around the love of Jesus that transforms our hearts, homes, churches, and cities.

Comments and Discussion

3 Responses

  1. Romans eight begins like a breath of fresh air, like a cool breeze into a hot and stale environment. “Spirit of the Living God, fall afresh on me. Melt me, mold me, fill me, use me. Spirit of the Living God, fall afresh on me!” Amen

  2. John 8:32-36
    32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
    33 They answered him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?”
    34 Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. 35 Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

    This is Romans 5 to 8, per Jesus’ words.
    From slaves to sin to being alive in Him!
    A new creature in Christ! (2 Corinthians 5:17)
    When we live as if we believe, we live free. Sin’s presence is still alive but its power is dead unless we give it back.
    When a child of God is stuck in vertigo, sin’s power is in resurrection mode.
    Jesus calls saved but stuck Christians lukewarm because our minds play pinball between the desires of the flesh and spirit. How do we stay out of the quicksand of vertigo?

    Isaiah 26:3
    You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.
    James 1:22
    But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.

    Staying 💪’n Christ

  3. Let’s be 2nd half playmakers!

    Too often as modern Christians we pick and choose what we want from the Bible. Then we celebrate our choices like a Super Bowl Sunday half time show. Afterwards we declare ourselves winners while we walk away and ignore the second half (the parts of the Bible that we don’t like) altogether by living according to our own desires rather than according to what God desires. There’s nothing super (or spiritual) about that. If you call yourself a Christian, it’s time to stay in the game and be a grace-filled and Christ-filled spiritual playmaker throughout the week, not just a spectator for a Sunday morning religious half time show and a no-show for Jesus during the rest of the week.

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