Living out of the Gospel

As people come to understand the gospel, I often hear the question: How can I know that I am on the right track?  Once you have discovered grace (or better, once God has captured you with his gospel of grace), how can you know you are living out of a gospel perspective? I like the three points made by Scotty Smith (pastor of sister church in greater Nashville area).  The first indication is:

Gospel astonishment rather than theological cockiness.  Do we feel superior to others because of our understanding and application of grace?  Or, do we continue to experience astonishment over what Christ has done for us, that he has loved us?  Do we find ourselves continually astonished by his love for us?  Or, do we grow more in pride over our theological correctness?

Christmas season is always a time of gospel astonishment for me.  Seeing God’s purposes unfold at the birth of Jesus and realizing that what Jesus has done for us bursts the old wineskins of legalism in me. This is a source of joy and constant surprise.  God is constantly moving me from pride toward gratitude for his grace. He pushes me from my self-satisfied awareness of the truth to marvel at how he has accomplished his purposes, and that he has done this for me.

Chief repenter rather than former sinner.  Pastors are supposed to look good.  Be the model case, a picture of the “after” not the “before” picture.  But, gospel health is seeing our sin.  Not seeing what we used to be but being honest about who we are right now. God is constantly revealing to me my anger and pride.  Yes, I have his grace, and yes, I need it every day.  He shocks me by showing me my selfishness and superficiality.  He reminds me that it is not all about me. Everything is for him and his glory.  How can I know I am living out of the gospel?  Am I the chief of sinners?  Or, do I have to look good and together, even though I know it is not true?  Paul, the Apostle of Jesus, called himself the chief of sinners.  Do I see myself in this way?  Am I the chief repenter, acknowledging my struggle with sin?

This leads naturally to the third indication: Am I preaching Christ to myself or preaching myself? When we understand the gospel, rather than putting ourselves forward, we are constantly preaching the gospel to ourselves…reminding ourselves that we need grace, and and that God has provided it to us. Healthy gospel living requires living in the gospel, and reminding ourselves of Christ’s love for us.  It works like this.  We acknowledge every day that our sins are far worse than we ever thought, but God’s love is greater than we ever hoped for.  It leads us to say, “Look at Christ,” not “Look at me.”

Are you seeing these characteristics in your life?  I thought Scotty Smith’s points were spot on. You can check out his article from Tabletalk at:

One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Sandy on January 8, 2017 at 2:34 am

    Thank you!


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