Much has been written about living out the gospel. I’m not about to change anything, but maybe we can clarify what we mean by gospel-centered living.
The gospel (meaning “good news”) is defined in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4. Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures.
If we examine this definition of what Paul preached and by which we can be saved, the gospel includes three elements, all borne out in prophetic Scriptures:
- Christ died for our sins.
- He was buried.
- He rose from the dead on the third day.
This is the gospel! It’s all about Jesus substitutionary death on the cross—because of our sins—and His burial and resurrection. He paid the price for sin (the death penalty), and then rose from the dead. Jesus lives!
The Bible puts it this way: For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened (made alive) by the Spirit (1 Peter 3:18).
So, how do we live out the gospel?
The Bible tells us!
- Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God (1 Peter 4:1-2).
- Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace (Romans 6:2-14).
Biblically, we live out the gospel by:
- Turning our backs on sin and evil desires (lusts)
- Striving to do God’s will
- Living for God, being yielded to Him
- Doing right
How do we make this practical and personal?
Forsaking sin means that, when we recognize sin in our lives, we confess it and get rid of it. (1 John 1:9)
Doing God’s will implies that we know what it is. There are several biblical passages that tell us clearly what God’s will entails:
- For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication (1 Thessalonians 4:3).
- In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you (1 Thessalonians 5:18).
- For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men (1 Peter 2:15).
We also know that Jesus wants people to obey the Ten Commandments, God’s moral law. He mentioned the law of Moses in all four gospels: Matthew 19; Mark 10; Luke 18; John 7-8.
We become familiar with God’s law and the Bible, so that we can please the Lord.
Being yielded to God means being willing to be lead by Him, putting ourselves under His leadership.
Doing right is reflecting God’s righteousness in our own actions.
Gospel-centered living is clean, pure, obedient living. Its motivation is Jesus’ sacrifice for us.
May we live out the gospel every day!