Wednesday, October 10, 2012

A lot of life has happened since the last time this blog was active.  Things have changed, I've grown a considerable amount, roughly five years have passed and now I'm looking to start writing again.  

Thanks to the recent prodding of a wonderful brother in Christ I have been thinking a great deal about the idea of what my perception of the gospel actually is.  At first this thought might seem slightly absurd, the gospel is the gospel is the gospel right?  As I listened to this man’s thoughts and really began to mull through them myself I found that my practical perception of the gospel actually had a rather significant mis-emphasis.  

The good Calvinist in me knows and even passionately proclaims that I am totally and completely depraved.  I have been since birth.  This is the nature of man due to man’s original sin, there is no way around it, we are helpless in our sin and deserving of eternal punishment.  Thankfully God in His infinite mercy made for us a way to be cleansed of all our unrighteousness!  Jesus Christ is that way, he died for our sins and was resurrected.  Now that we have accepted this we have to stop sinning.  In many ways that was my perception of the gospel and that unfortunately in many negative ways has effected my discipleship.

Whats wrong with that you might ask?  At first glance that description seems pretty much right doesn't it?  Those are all things that I learned all the way back to even before AWANA.  However, upon closer inspection I realized that my perception of the gospel was largely centered around the issue of sin and sin management.  As I continued to consider this perception of mine the more I began to see the central focus was sin, sin, sin, stop sinning, sin, I’m a sinner, sin, sin, stop sinning, etc, etc.  Although it is a very real fact that we are all sinners, this should by no means be the axel upon which the wheel of our Christian discipleship spins!  

There are numerous false-emphases of the gospel that we can all too easily allow our perception to fall into and be shaped by.  We can easily emphasize a gospel of good works, a gospel of spiritual encounters, a gospel of self-fulfillment.  The list honestly could go on endlessly.  Again, while each of these do have a place in our Christian discipleship: yes good works are very much part of our walk, yes we can truly be blessed by experiences of the Holy Spirit, and yes God does have a perfect plan for your life; none of these should ever take a role of central focus in our perception of the gospel!   

Again and again we see throughout Paul’s writings that the gospel he so passionately proclaimed was to stop sinning... NO!  When we look at Scripture we see very clearly that the central focus, the very essence of the gospel is the person of Jesus Christ! The gospel that is proclaimed is about a person and His Lordship, that person is Jesus!!!  In Romans 1:1-5 Paul concisely lays out exactly what the gospel is: Jesus Christ, He is King, He is resurrected, and because of Him we have grace and it is because of all of these things that we are delighted to obey Jesus in faith!!!

So yes, it is true that we are sinners desperately in need of a savior, but let us not allow the reality of our sin to become the central focus of the gospel we proclaim!  Let us focus on and proclaim the true gospel, that is the person of Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.  

I hope that we can continue to draw nearer and nearer to our Savior Jesus Christ, always allowing Him to show us where our hearts and minds might need to be refocused or sharpened in terms of our discipleship.  As you continue to seek to live a gospel-centered life, continually ask yourself before the Lord: where is the gospel I proclaim centered? 

by Matt Gould