Thursday, May 23, 2024
Thursday, May 23, 2024
HomeAll The NewsHEALTHY CHURCH: Changed By The Gospel

HEALTHY CHURCH: Changed By The Gospel

In his book, Gospel, J.D. Greear stated, “Gospel change is the Spirit of God using the story of God to make the beauty of God come alive in our hearts.” The beauty of the gospel of Jesus Christ is that it declares us righteous. It is not an invitation to make ourselves righteous through a number of steps or religious practices. In other words, we do not live for God in order to be righteous but instead we live for God because He has declared us righteous (Rom. 1:17). Greear emphasized that the reality of this truth reveals why religion will make you proud and self-centered, but the gospel will make you humble and generous.

Religion produces a people who are trying to be good and trying to live a good enough life in order to be loved and one day accepted by God. The gospel is accepting what Christ has already done for you and receiving it by placing your faith and trust in the accomplished work of Christ on the cross. Romans 1:16 states clearly, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” Everyone means everyone who believes the power of God transforms their life. Do you remember the day the Lord saved you?

The same gospel a believer begins this journey with is the same gospel that enables growth in the Christian walk. The word gospel here simply means good news. It was the declaration that a general would make when they had been victorious on the battlefield. He was not asking the people to join him in the battle, but was announcing to them to live their lives out of the reality that they had already been victorious. Jesus made the exclusivity of the gospel very clear in John 14:6, “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” Jesus is not an option; He is the only option.

The gospel is not only exclusive, it is also inclusive because it is for everyone and anyone that believes. The scandalous element of the gospel in the first century was not who it excluded but rather who it included — Gentiles, anyone who repented and believed by placing their faith and trust in Jesus Christ and His finished work on the cross. The gospel justifies everyone the same way — through the blood of Jesus Christ. There is no room for pride or boasting because we are not accepted by Christ because of our morality, good works, education, race, political position or anything else. It is only by God’s grace.

There is actually only one race of people, and they are the descendants of Adam and Eve, which means we all have the same identity — sinners. There is no place here for us to think we are any better than anyone else because all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. Paul tells us clearly, “There are none righteous no not one” (Rom. 3:10). Jen Wilkes stated, “The law drives us to grace, but grace drives us back to the law.” Greear put it like this, “The law drives us in desperation to grace, but an experience of grace drives us in devotion back to the law so we can more closely resemble the God it reveals.”

The gospel is the power of God. This explosive power changes hearts and transforms lives. Therefore, we need to understand that we must dig deeper into its truths and allow it to do the work in us and through us. Paul did not say the gospel contains the power of God or connects us to the power of God but rather it is itself the power of God. We must remind ourselves, over and over again, of this truth because you, nor I, can save anyone, but anyone can be saved who turns to the gospel. The gospel is God’s explosive power to resurrect the spiritually dead. The gospel is not good advice to follow, it is God’s only advice.

What does this mean for us? It demands that we remain faithful to the truth of His gospel and that we remain steadfast in believing the gospel’s power to change anyone and everyone’s life that believes. We must be very careful to avoid being religious and the path that leads to becoming like the Pharisees, where we begin to believe we are better than other sinners. That path will cause us to be proud and self-centered. That path will make us miserable, without joy and be driven to compete with others to justify why we do what we do. Our joy then is not in Christ but instead in the pleasure of thinking we are better and above others.

Through the years, the term “alien” righteousness has been used. It means we receive righteousness outside of ourselves. Jesus lived the life I was required to live to obtain God’s favor but could not. Jesus then took His name off that life and wrote my name on it. Jesus also died the death I was condemned to die because of my sin. He then took my name off that death sentence and wrote His name on it. “God presented Him to demonstrate His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be righteous and declare righteous the one who has faith in Jesus” (Rom. 3:26 HCSB).