Christians Are Driven by God’s Promises and Directed By God’s Purposes

The gospel saves us, giving us a reason to walk through the wilderness to the promised land, and the law guides us, giving us directions for that journey.  Christians are driven by God’s promises, and directed by God’s purposes.  Two passages – Genesis 15 and Romans 4 – bring this point home powerfully.

Horton, Michael; The Gospel Driven Life: Being Good News People in a Bad News World; Baker Books; Grand Rapids, MI; Copyright 2009; page 133

Sanctification, Not Just Justification, Requires the Gospel

Yet we are on the wrong track if we think that the gospel was only necessary for “getting saved” and not for staying saved – even for growing in holiness.  It is always “in view of God’s mercies” that we can offer ourselves as “a living sacrifice” (Romans 12:1-2).  Our sanctification, no less than our justification depends on Christ’s absolution, so that we live out of gratitude rather than guilt and out of faith rather than self-trust.  No longer trying to make God indebted to us, we receive his gift and share it with others.  The gospel makes us extroverts: looking outside of ourselves to Christ in faith and to our neighbor in love.

Horton, Michael; The Gospel Driven Life: Being Good News People in a Bad News World; Baker Books; Grand Rapids, MI; Copyright 2009; page 132

We Need Good News, Not Good Advice

Even the ordinary wisdom of the world can be useful.  The problem comes when we forget that we are fallen children of Adam and that we cannot fix our deepest moral crisis.  For that, we need Good News, not good advice.  We need God’s unfailing promises, not more purposes and programs.  Suzie Ormand’s financial advice and Jake’s home gym can help me improve my life, but nothing they say can transfer me from death to life.

Horton, Michael; The Gospel Driven Life: Being Good News People in a Bad News World; Baker Books; Grand Rapids, MI; Copyright 2009; page 131-132

And What He Finds There is Hell

The characteristic of lost souls is “their rejection of everything that is not simply themselves.”  Our imaginary egoist has tried to turn everything he meets into a province or appendage of the self.  The taste for the other, that is, the very capacity for enjoying  good, is quenched in him except in so far as his body still draws him into some rudimentary contact with an outer world.  Death removes this last contact.  He has his wish – to lie wholly in the self and to make the best of what he finds there.  And what he finds there is Hell.

C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain

as quoted by Horton, Michael; The Gospel Driven Life: Being Good News People in a Bad News World; Baker Books; Grand Rapids, MI; Copyright 2009; page

The Church Today Must Stop Writing Its Own Press Releases

The church today must get out of the business of writing up its own press releases and rediscover the power of God in the gospel.  We are not the Good News, but its recepients and heralds; not the newsmakers, just the reporters.

Horton, Michael; The Gospel Driven Life: Being Good News People in a Bad News World; Baker Books; Grand Rapids, MI; Copyright 2009; page 127

The Gospel Is Not About Us or Even Our Changed Lives

The gospel changes lives precisely because it is not about us – even our changed lives – but about Christ.  The life of every Christian is filled with enough inconsistencies to disprove the Christian faith every day if it were based on our changed lives.  The history of the church is littered not only with heresies and schisms but with crusades, inquisitions and the justification of atrocities in the name of Christ.  Yet in all of this we can point away from ourselves, individually and collectively, to the “Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).  In fact, it is only by repenting of our spiritual pride and casting ourselves ever anew on God’s mercy in his Son that we can become servants rather than masters of our neighbors.

Horton, Michael; The Gospel Driven Life: Being Good News People in a Bad News World; Baker Books; Grand Rapids, MI; Copyright 2009; page 126-127

It Is So We Can Accept the News, Both the Good and the Bad

To receive the Light, we must have our darkness exposed; to be clothed in Christ’s righteousness, we must acknowledge our righteousness as filthy rags; to live in Christ, we must die to our former identity.  Only the Spirit can raise those who are “dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1), so that we can accept the news, both the bad and the good of it.

Horton, Michael; The Gospel Driven Life: Being Good News People in a Bad News World; Baker Books; Grand Rapids, MI; Copyright 2009; page 125