Yesterday we explored some glorious implications of the gospel for our lives.
But yet, we must take it a step further. This is where the rubber meets the road in a gospel-centered church. The gospel must translate into behavior and conduct in our everyday lives. We need to see the connections of how the gospel informs and influences how we live.
Read Philippians 1:27
Paul tells us that our lives must be lived in a way that holds up the gospel of Christ. So there is a connection between the message—THE GOSPEL—and our behavior or our walk. In essence, the gospel must affect how we live our lives as Christians.
We do not want to be moralistic or legalistic, but transformed by the gospel.
Let me give you three practical examples:
1 Corinthians 6:18-20 Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. 19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20 for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.
In dealing with sexual sin, we can set up a bunch of rules and become legalistic to motive purity in this area. We can tell ourselves that we must not engage in sexual immorality and try to conform out of fear or legalism or trying hard to be good. All those efforts fail.
What does Paul gives us the primary motivation for fleeing sexual immorality.
How do I see that? Because we were bought with the precious blood of Jesus at a costly price and because of His death, burial, and resurrection, we are not our own. We belong to Him. We are His property through the cross.
Therefore, because of the cross—because of mercy, forgiveness, and salvation–we have peace with God. Because we have been bought out of bondage to sin and been freed to have a relationship with our Father through Jesus—we are to glorify God with our bodies.
Do you see the connection? Being a gospel-centered church means that in practical areas of our lives, we obey Christ because of the gospel. The gospel informs our behavior.
What about in the area of forgiveness?
We could forgive each other begrudgingly because of duty or because it’s the right thing to do. We can forgive with hard hearts. We can try hard to forgive. But all of these fall short of the Bible’s answer for why we are to forgive each other. And again, it’s rooted in the gospel.
Ephesians 4:32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
Why are we to forgive one another? Because of the gospel. In the gospel, Jesus forgave us by shedding His blood. When we trust Him and are connected to Him in faith, then we see that the motivation for forgiving others comes from His act of love toward us. It’s not legalism or moralism, but informed by power of the gospel.
Or how about in our marital relationships?
How does a marriage function under the Lordship of Christ and in the power of the gospel. Does the gospel even show up in our marriages?
Ephesians 5:25 5 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her,
This is very explicit. I as a husband am to love my wife because of the gospel. That wording “for” is the preposition “huper” which means “in the place of” or “on behalf of.” It carries the idea of substitutionary atonement where Jesus died in our place absorbing God’s wrath that we should have endured because of His great love for us.
So husbands, the motivation for loving your wife is not to be good or because you’re supposed to, but because of the gospel—Christ’s death and love for you.
When you begin to see how the gospel influences and informs your actions and behavior and your walk with Christ, it will radically transform the way you live.
A gospel-centered church believes the gospel, embraces the gospel, sees the power of the gospel, proclaims and teaches the gospel, and then lives under the gospel as it influences our every day lives and daily choices.
Spend some time in prayer asking the Lord to empower you with His grace to live a life worthy of the gospel. In what particular areas do you need strength?