I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. Galatians 1:6
I think too often in presenting the gospel, we forget the cross. We forget that the gospel is the cross and the cross is the gospel! We get a fair amount of people in our counseling center who think they are Christians, and call themselves Christians but are unconverted. They have never made that connection between Christ and the cross.
The cross of Jesus Christ is for the purpose of the gospel, and we Christians cannot ever forget we need that cross and that gospel every waking moment of our lives. Once you have been touched by the gospel you are changed inward and outward.
The inward application is you see yourself as God sees you- you are a sinner, unworthy of saving but for Christ who now has a position of honor and righteousness in the Kingdom of God and of Christ. Your perspective on people and on God and creation changes as well. You begin to see the world through the lens of the Lord, through the Word and the Holy Spirit.
The outward application is an increased love and concern for the lost. In this new kind of love, I am a “sent one” in the sense that I am a part of that Great Commission of Matt. 28:19. I am sent to serve others in a missional sense. My life becomes a mission to serve those who do not see the gospel in light of the cross, nor the cross in light of the gospel. This includes all mankind.
I am to spend the rest of my life living the gospel! Preparing others for works of service, helping, healing and binding up the wounds of the afflicted, being a part of the world as Jesus was on a day-by-day basis.
These are huge thoughts and even larger actions. They demand selfless hearts and uncluttered lives. In the midst of daily tasks live the gospel, put it on display in your life for others to see.
You may wonder about this line of conversation I am having with you, and why I am making such a big deal out of all this gospel stuff. I have learned over the past several years that even as a Biblical Counselor I was for years misguided in my thinking about the centrality of the gospel and the preeminence of the cross in discipleship.
The Bible is the Gospel! All things in the Bible point us to Christ our Sacrifice, Christ our Redeemer, Christ our Justification, Propitiation, and Lord. It is the story of our salvation and the cross of Christ plays THE central role in it.
Too often I think we tend to use the Gospel in one dimension, as a set of biblical principles for living rather than our means to growth. It is time for us to realize that there is nothing deeper than this. The Gospel is it. All we believe and teach rises and falls on it as our foundation and everything we say and do in our private lives as well as our ministries must, must, must be based upon it, and immersed in it.
The problems we have must be viewed in the context of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Often my counselee’s struggle with guilt and shame and are locked into Performance Based Christianity; the kind that says: “As long as I am obeying, I am accepted.” Thus setting up a foundation of “Religion” for themselves, and omitting the need for the cross and the gospel. They view their struggles with the flesh as something God is not in the midst of and cannot understand that their struggles exist at all is because of that relationship with Christ, because they already are accepted!
When the proper Gospel-centered thinking is in place, those we disciple will begin to understand that, “I am accepted because of Christ and that is why I desire to obey, and why I do obey.”
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