Wednesday, May 12, 2010
The Gospel's Effects: An Example
The body of believers among whom I pastor are currently enjoying a series entitled “The Gospel-Centered Life,” and we are using the study guide of the same title (by World Harvest Mission) as a companion tool for our small groups. The numerous effects of the Gospel (i.e., what it does in us and for us) are our focus for a few weeks, and to help us see the effects more succinctly, I, along with some help from the GCL workbook, have grouped the Gospel’s effects into three larger categories:
1. The Gospel empowers us to obey joyfully. Not dutifully (legalism) or discriminately (liberalism).
2. The Gospel enables us to repent regularly. Not sporadically (resolution) or selfishly (remorse).
3. The Gospel encourages us to believe boldly. Not reluctantly (fear/control) or presumptuously (foolishness/carelessness).
You'll find that the Gospel’s effects can always be biblically understood from one of these vantage points. We are either enjoying them (obedience), denying them (and need to repent of that), or increasing in them (believe).
In light of this, someone kindly asked me this week, “How about an example?” Here’s what I shared with them.
Consider giving. When we give cheerfully because of the Gospel's work in us, that's obedience. When we hoard and refuse to share, living neglectfully of the needs of others and God's Kingdom, that’s disobedience, and we need to confess and forsake that, trusting that Jesus through the Gospel is sufficiently able to forgive us and empower us for change. That's repentance. Then as we increase in giving and living sacrificially, even though we don’t understand how all the numbers add up, we are believing boldly and showing that the Gospel is able to not only save our souls but pay our bills.
That’s how the Gospel’s effects show up in our life even after salvation, which is really the point of our study – learning to living every day in light of the power of the cross. That’s the Gospel-centered life!