The gospel isn’t only good news for those who are far from God. The gospel is good news for those who are already close to God. We will never graduate from needing the grace of God.
We are saved by receiving the gospel and sanctified by applying the gospel. We will not be able to change hearts or behaviors in ways that honor God through human effort or motivation. It is only through applying the gospel that we grow, together, in Christ-likeness.
Gospel growth, while spiritual and personal, is not vague or individualistic. God has revealed in His Word the fruit that a gospel centered community will produce. Individually, in Christ, we have been given new life. We must now labor with all of the strength the Spirit provides to put to death the character traits which belong to our sinful nature and put on the traits which belong to our new nature. (Rom 12:2, Gal 5:16 – 26, Col 3:5 – 17). The remaining aspects of the transforming work of the Spirit through the personal application of the gospel can be best understood in the context of a series of relationships.
We are to live as one large family of families, the church. We are to be under the proper oversight and leadership of qualified men who serve churches in the roles described in Scripture as elders and pastors with each individual believer contributing generally and specifically through gifts the Holy Spirit has granted them to build up the body. (1 Tim 3:15, Titus 2, Rom 13, Col 1:3, Eph 4:11 – 16)
The gospel is to be personally and powerfully applied within the family. Every member of a family is to treat the rest under the confines of Christian love, living out the specific and complimentary roles that God has designed for men, women, and children. (Eph 5:22 – 33, Col 3:18 – 25).
We demonstrate our uncontainable joy in the gospel when we serve our neighbors. This must be done through words and conduct, providing credibility to the gospel we are to verbalize whenever possible. (Colossians 4:5, 1 Thess 4:11 – 12, 1 Pt 1:3, 15 – 16).
We believe that God has set a standard of relationship for every Christian under the government God has placed them. We are to demonstrate our faith in God through our obedience to our civil leaders (provided they do not attempt to require us to violate Scripture) praying for them continually that we may lead quiet, peaceful lives. (Rom 13:1 – 7, 1 Tim 2:2, 1 Pt 2:13 – 25).
Through believing the gospel we are set free to offer all of our lives to God. We are to contribute to the good of our community (family, church family, and beyond) through working honorable jobs that utilize the gifts God has given us, displaying His power to an unbelieving audience and providing financially for our families and the mission of our churches (1 Thes 3:6 – 12).
Maybe the best part about believing the gospel is the hope of eternal life we have. Regardless of how bad or good our lives are here, this isn’t the end of the story. We must relate to every person and circumstance in our lives with an understanding that Jesus’ return is imminent. (Mt 24:36 – 51, 1 Pt 4:7).