This is the final post in a four part series entitled Gospel Centered Life.
Appropriately it is the last post and speaks of the finality of Christ's accomplishment on behalf of sinners like me and like you. Because Christ has set captives free we can take this freedom, this gospel and this liberty into our relationships and into every aspect of our lives. It will change our responses. Knowing the love and forgiveness Jesus has already given us changes everything. It has immeasurable practical application. It is not a list of to dos; it is a declaration of "it is done". Over. Jesus said "It is finished!". You don’t have to do anything.
Listen to these gospel drenched words paraphrased from the pages of scripture:
Grace to you and peace from God your Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for your sins to deliver you from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners. You have been crucified with me. It is no longer you who live, but I who lives in you. And the life you now live in the flesh you live by faith in me. I have loved you and I gave myself for you. In me you have redemption through my blood, the forgiveness of your trespasses, according to the riches of my grace. Through me you have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which you stand, and you can rejoice in hope of the glory of God. My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace. My love for you controls you. I love you and have freed you from your sins by my blood.Mark 9:13, Galatians 2:20-21, Galatians 1:3-4, Romans 5:2, Romans 6:14, 2 Corinthians 12:9, Ephesians 1:7, Revelation 1:5, 2 Cor 5:14-15The love of Christ controls us. Not the law, not a list of moral obligations. Resting in all Christ has done on our behalf gives us freedom to live not for ourselves, but for others. It compels us to love, realizing how much Jesus loves us. It strengthens us to give up, give in and lose for the sake of others. It gives us fuel to admit wrongdoing, humble ourselves and extend grace to others.
Shortly after God saved me twelve years ago I began to search the bible and books and sermons for answers on how to live this Christian life. I knew I was now different and I wept knowing God in Christ had forgiven me and he loved me. Not in a human way but in an eternal, never giving up way. But, I never really understood it was not somehow because of something good in me. So I set out to discover how I could get "gooder".
What are the things I must do now that I am "in" to keep me in good standing with God? I quickly became submersed in the "christian culture". I attended Bible study, sunday services and church committee meetings. I volunteered in missions, youth, sunday school and women's events. And while all those things are good, I believed [wrongly] that I was climbing rungs on a ladder - the stairway to heaven.
It has just been in this last year or so that God has shown me these marvelous truths – the truths about his love, and the welcome and forgiveness I have in Christ. The stairway to heaven was never part of God's plan - Christ said it is finished - no more climbing!
It has changed everything - the way I view my marriage, my parenting, my employment, my church involvement. It's not that all things are perfect now, I am just quicker to remember that when I begin to feel frustrated, angry, disappointed, disrespected, unloved, guilty, self condemned or ashamed I remind myself that I am not the perfect one. Christ is the Only Perfect One. With all my wrinkles and imperfections and let's just say it - wicked, evil, rebellious and disobedient ways, God loves me as if I am perfect. Christ is my perfection.
What does being gospel-centered look like?