The Gospel Should Daily Affect How You Live
It was not too long ago that I was talking with a Christian who was shocked at my suggestion that the Gospel was vital for Christians. Their basic premise was the Gospel was for non-Christians, and once a person embraced Jesus we needed to get on with telling them what to do and how to live, otherwise they’d fall into sin and leave the church.
If that was true, Moses would have been enough.
If that was true, Paul would have left off Ephesians 1-3 and simply begun in chapter 4.
Thankfully, there appears to be an increase, in the blogosphere especially, of reminders that the Gospel is for Christians too. Even as I consider this past week, several blog posts crossed my path reiterating this point.
Zach Nielsen asks how often do the words, “I’m sorry, will you please forgive me” come out of your mouth?” For the Christian who lives each day in light of the good news of the Gospel, those words should be frequently uttered to one another.
Tim Chester reflected several years ago, that a church that has a “culture of grace” (read: where Christians are daily living in light of the goods news of the Gospel) will lead to church being “messy”. The alternative is a “pretending church”.
The Gospel should daily affect how you live…
This week my wife told me a story about my oldest daughter (4). After making something as a craft activity my daughter received a lot of praise. However, later that day she returned to my wife rather upset that someone had made a not so positive comment about her craft. All the positive affirmation was drowned out by one less than affirming comment. To be honest, this one comment wasn’t even intended to be negative but was perceived to be by her.
But it’s not just four-year olds though is it? We can be like that too.
Just as humans can remember one harsh word but forget one-hundred compliments, so Christians can remember the demands of Sinai whilst forgetting Jesus said, “it is finished!”
After posting that someone asked:
How do we fix both of these problems?
Although the essence of my reply to them is by no means original to me, I pray it will serve as a further illustration as to how the Gospel should daily affect how you live. Below is an adaption from my reply to them.
Answer: The Gospel.
Easy, yet so hard to believe.
Harsh words can fall of our backs if we truly do find our identity and acceptance in Jesus Christ.
Compliments can roll off our back and not puff us up with pride because the Gospel tells us the truth about who we are (sinful to the core), and therefore we can direct any compliments to God.
The legalist stops trying to find acceptance with God by obeying Sinai as the Gospel directs them to the finished work of Christ.
The despairing Christian, trapped by guilt and shame from the bellows of judgement coming from Sinai are liberated to serve Jesus and love Jesus as the Gospel enables him or her to do so.
Easy, yet so hard to believe.
I know the Gospel doesn’t daily affect how I live in the way it should; but the Gospel tells me I’ll wake tomorrow and fail to practice and believe the Gospel a little less than I did today.
Do you see the Gospel affecting your daily life? In what ways has the Lord changed you over the past year in light of the Gospel? Have you been a legalist or despairing Christian in the past? Leave a comment, discuss it on Facebook, or send me on a tweet on Twitter.