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

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This is Not a Once For All Transition

The Spirit brings us to repentance by convincing us of sin by the law, the gospel leads us to faith in Christ, and this faith produces within us a hatred of our sin and a craving for righteousness.  Since our tendency even as believers is still to turn back toward ourselves and trust in our repentance, we must be driven again to despair of our righteousness as well as our sins by the law and cling to Christ.  Therefore, this is not a once and for all transition from legal repentance to faith in Christ to evangelical repentance, but a perpetual cycle that defines the Christian life.

Horton, Michael; The Gospel Driven Life: Being Good News People in a Bad News World; Baker Books; Grand Rapids, MI; Copyright 2009; page 119

“Asking Jesus Into Your Heart” Simply Does Not Answer the Problem

The gospel is that Christ has borne our guilt and has been raised for our justification and life, interceding now at the Father’s right hand.  It is this objective work of Christ outside of us, even now defending us in heaven from every accusation of Satan, that makes the gospel truly Good News even for us as we struggle in the Christian life.  “Asking Jesus into  your heart” simply does not answer the problem identified in the Scriptures.

Horton, Michael; The Gospel Driven Life: Being Good News People in a Bad News World; Baker Books; Grand Rapids, MI; Copyright 2009; page 91-92

Why Does the Bible Call Us “Holy Ones?”

The Bible calls us “holy ones.”  We are holy because we have been consecrated to God.  We have been set apart.  We have been called to a life that is different.  The Christian life is a life of nonconformity.  The idea of nonconformity is expressed in Romans 12:1-2.

– R.C. Sproul, The Holiness of God, Tyndale House Publishers, Carol Stream, Ill., Copyright 1985, Kindle Edition

UPDATE: We Never Find God…

We do not “find” God as a result of our search for him.  We are found by him.  The search for God does not end in conversion; it begins at conversion.  It is the converted person who genuinely and sincerely seeks after God.  Jonathan Edwards remarked that seeking after God is the main business of the Christian life.

Sproul, R.C.; Grace Unknown: The Heart of Reformed Theology; Baker Books; Grand Rapids, MI; copyright 1997; p. 125

Let Us Defend the Name from Slander and Insult

Everything bad they [the ungodly] can seize hold of in our life is twisted maliciously against Christ and His teaching.  The result is that by our fault God’s sacred name is exposed to insult.  The more closely we see ourselves being watched by our enemies, the more intent we should be to avoid their slanders, so that their ill-will strengthens us in the desire to do well.

– John Calvin

as quoted byBridges, Jerry; The Disciplined of Grace:God’s Role and Our Role in the Pursuit of Holiness; NavPress; Colorado Springs; copyright 1994; p. 87

Three Words That Describe Our Duties as Christians

The Apostle Paul summed up our three-directional duties of the Christian life in three words: self-controlled, upright, and godly.  The context of his moral description of God’s saving grace, however, is a whole series of moral exhortations from Titus 2:1-3:2

– Bridges, Jerry; The Disciplined of Grace:God’s Role and Our Role in the Pursuit of Holiness; NavPress; Colorado Springs; copyright 1994; p. 86