The Gospel-Centered Life

The gospel is in everything. The gospel is the deep stuff. The gospel is constantly “bearing fruit and growing” (Col. 1:6).

If the gospel is in a constant state of growth, then everything has to do with it — God, humanity, salvation, worship, work, relationships, shopping, personality … everything. However, most of us have reduced the gospel to something much less than it is.

We’re currently in a series with our students talking about “The Gospel-Centered Life.” We’re using this awesome tool developed by World Harvest Mission. Specifically, Bob Thune and Will Walker — two pastors who partnered together to help their church grow in the gospel. We’re teaching on the lessons they wrote in our weekly meetings, our bible studies, and our discipleships.

The lessons I’m reading, teaching, and applying are not new to me. This is just one of the clearest tools I’ve ever used to communicate the gospel-centered life. Simple, deep, and transformative. The gospel is nothing less than the “power of God” (Rom. 1:16).

However, “the gospel” is a phrase that Christians often use without fully understanding its significance. We speak the language, but we rarely apply the gospel to every aspect of our lives.

How will you live out the gospel in your life so it is in a constant state of “bearing fruit and growing”?

This is an excerpt from the first lesson:

Many Christians live with a truncated view of the gospel. We see the gospel as the “door,” the way in, the entrance point into God’s kingdom. But the gospel is so much more! It is not just the door, but the path we are to walk every day of the Christian life. It is not just the means of our salvation, but the means of our transformation. It is not simply deliverance from sin’s penalty, but release from sin’s power. The gospel is what makes us right with God (justification) and it is also what frees us to delight in God (sanctification). The gospel changes everything!

The following model (see image above) has been helpful to many people in thinking about the gospel and its implications. This diagram does not say everything that could be said about the gospel, but it does serve as a helpful visual illustration of how the gospel works.

The starting point of the Christian life (conversion) comes when I first become aware of the gap between God’s holiness and my sinfulness. When I am converted, I trust and hope in Jesus, who has done what I could never do: He has bridged the gap between my sinfulness and God’s holiness. He has taken God’s holy wrath toward my sin upon himself.

At the point of conversion, however, I have a very limited view of God’s holiness and of my sin. The more I grow in my Christian life, the more I grow in my awareness of God’s holiness and of my flesh and sinfulness. As I read the Bible, experience the Holy Spirit’s conviction, and live in community with other people, the extent of God’s greatness and the extent of my sin become increasingly clear and vivid. It is not that God is becoming more holy or that I am becoming more sinful. But my awareness of both is growing. I am increasingly seeing God as He actually is (Isa. 55:8-9) and myself as I actually am (Jer. 17:9-10).

As my understanding of my sin and of God’s holiness grows, something else also grows: my appreciation and love for Jesus. His mediation, His sacrifice, His righteousness, and His gracious work on my behalf become increasingly sweet and powerful to me. The cross looms larger and more central in my life as I rejoice in the Savior who died upon it.

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