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The Gospel Changes Everything

Blog: Gospel

By Scott Thomas, President of Acts 29 Network

The gospel is the power of God for salvation and sadly many churches are ashamed of proclaiming it (Rom. 1:16). As a result we may not be experiencing the fruit of transformation in our churches that is normally associated with the gospel (Col. 1:4-6; 2 Peter 1:3-9). Gospel transformation is most often found in the company of gospel proclamation.

The gospel can be (cautiously) summarized in the following manner: God sent His Son, Jesus Christ to live our life, die our death and rise again triumphantly to bring forgiven sinners together by the Holy Spirit to live as his Kingdom people under his gracious reign.

The focus of the gospel is not on the inadequacy of mankind (including the transformation), but rather on the glory of God. I am transformed when I live in line with the gospel (Gal. 2:14)—avoiding both legalism and licentiousness—and pursuing the joy found in complete and utter surrender of my unrighteous life in exchange for His righteous life expressed graciously through every aspect of my Christian walk (Gal. 2:20).

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!

How does the Gospel Change Everything?

It is found simply in the not so simple phrase by JI Packer, “God saves sinners.” [J.I. Packer, “Introductory Essage,” in The Death of Death in the Death of Christ, by John Owen (London: Banner of Truth, 1959) 4-5.]

God

“God – the Triune Jehovah, Father, Son and Spirit; three Persons working together in sovereign wisdom, power and love achieve the salvation of a chosen people, the Father electing, the Son fulfilling the Father’s will by redeeming, the Spirit executing the purpose of Father and Son by renewing.”

Saves

"Saves – does everything, first to last, that is involved in bringing man from death in sin to life in glory: plans, achieves and communicates redemption, calls and keeps, justifies, sanctifies, glorifies. Sinners do not save themselves in any sense at all. Salvation, first and last, whole and entire, past, present and future, is of the Lord, to whom be glory for ever; amen."

Sinners

"Sinners – When we are born, we are dead, condemned, depraved, corrupt, perverse, sinful and completely unable to save or even lift a finger to enable salvation (Rom. 2-3; 6:23). This vile sinner doesn’t even know he is dead. The law of God exposes the extent of our wickedness (Gal. 3:24).”

The grace of God extends down to us, not because we deserve it, but even as we do not deserve it (Rom 5:8). Our works, even attempts at good works are not adequate to contribute to our salvation or sanctification. Once the Spirit regenerates our dead souls, we by faith receive the completed work of Jesus who accomplishes our justification—a declaration of His righteousness on us. As His grace continues to work in our lives, the gospel comes to fruition (Col. 1:6; 2 Peter 1-3-9) in every aspect of our life.

 

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Scott Thomas has served as the President of Acts 29 Network and a Pastor at Mars Hill Church. Scott has been a pastor for 30 years—first as a youth pastor and then as a lead pastor and church planter/church replanter for 16 years.