The Gospel

We believe in the gospel (or good news) of Jesus Christ

The Gospel has two main aspects:

      1. The Gospel of the Kingdom: The story of God redeeming His kingdom–buying back his special people to live in his special place so that they can experience his blessing through his presence with them and his rule over them and be a blessing to the world. It began with God’s perfect creation in the beginning which was then plunged into sin and chaos by the first man’s disobedience and continues with every generation. All of human history ultimately culminated in God stepping down to be with us in the form of Jesus Christ. His perfect life and sacrificial death made the payment for sin, His resurrection declared victory over sin, and His second coming will pronounce the end of all suffering, weeping, and the final restoration of God’s good creation for His children and ultimately His glory.
      2. The Gospel of the Cross: All of human history prior to Jesus only served to show us our need for Jesus. In the person of Jesus Christ, the life we were meant to live is achieved and the death we all deserve is paid by his innocent blood on the cross. Now, the free gift of salvation is offered to all who believe in him. It asks nothing, but requires everything. It’s about surrendering your will and accepting God’s will. It’s about dying to your old self and accepting new life in Christ.

 

The Christian Life:

Through a life truly surrendered to God, a Christian becomes a follower of Christ, not just a fan. A Christ follower experiences freedom from condemnation, guilt, and shame—no matter what has happened or happens in this life. A Christ follower experiences things like love, joy, and peace that come from the indwelling Spirit of God and cannot be experienced counseling, self-effort, the American Dream, or any other avenue the world would have us pursue. A Christ follower experiences an identity founded in Christ alone that is not based on anyone or anything in this world.

 

We can Cheapen the Gospel by:

        1. Making Converts, not Disciples
          • Heaven is full of people who love God with all of their heart, soul, and mind and wish to serve and obey Him out of the grace and mercy that He has shown. Simply repeating a prayer, raising a hand, or even having a strong emotional experience is not necessarily the mark of salvation. The Christian life is about a long obedience in the same direction.
        2. Cheap Grace
          • Defined as “grace without a price or cost. It means forgiveness of sins as a general truth; it means God’s love as merely a Christian idea of God. Cheap grace means justification of sin but not of the sinner. Because grace alone does everything, everything can stay in its old ways. Cheap grace is preaching forgiveness without repentance; it is baptism without the discipline of community; it is the Lord’s Supper without confession of sin; it is absolution without personal confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without the living, incarnate Jesus Christ.” ~ Dietrich Bonhouffer, The Cost of Discipleship
        3. Self-help & Self-made religion
          • Salvation is based on the work of Jesus Christ. We do nothing to earn it. We put our faith in Christ’s atonement through His shed blood and His victory over sin and death through His resurrection. That is the freedom that Jesus Christ died for (Gal.5:1). Freedom from the pressure of performance and needing to find a way to be our own functional savior.
          • Our obedience, works, and good deeds consequently flow naturally from the grace and love we have received and the Holy Spirit’s presence in our life working in us. But when our hearts’ intent is to use our works and good deeds to justify us before God, we will always fall woefully short.
        4. Prosperity in this life for those with stronger faith
          • God is a great healer, and He promises to prosper us in the end. While a life lived based on biblical principles can often thrive in many ways here on earth, there is no guarantee from God that life will be easy, prosperous, or without toil. In fact, most times the opposite is true for those who truly seek after His will. Our rich inheritance is waiting for us, and the prosperity will be for eternity beyond this life. When we try to leverage our faithful acts with rewards that God owes us, we turn God into a sort of cosmic vending machine to be used for our own advantage.