The Centrality of the Gospel

“The gospel is our number one value at Redeemer Christian Church.  The following Confession of Faith is a brief statement . . . which we believe expresses the distinctive doctrines of the Christian Gospel, as revealed in both the Old and New Testaments of Holy Scripture.  Likewise, the gospel forms our vision for ministry and individual progressive sanctification.” 

Over the next few weeks I will be publishing a series of articles on my church’s confession of faith. Each article will provide a brief commentary on a particular point of our confession, and the point is to help our people (and those interested) deeply understand what we confess together as a church. Please enjoy!

The purpose of theology is to equip the church to know, love, and live unto God through Jesus Christ.  When we think about the work of theology, it can be helpful to think about it under the following headings: 1) the Triune God; 2) Revelation; 3) Creation of Humanity; 4) the Fall; 5) the Plan of God; 6) the Gospel; 7) the Redemption of Christ; 8) the Justification of Sinners; 9) the Power of the Holy Spirit; 10) the Kingdom of God; 11) God’s New People; 12) Baptism and the Lord’s Supper; 13) the Restoration of All Things.  Before considering all of these topics, let’s first consider how the gospel is at the center of them all. 

As Christians who are a part of the universal and historic church, we have a particular confession of faith.  This simply means that we have particular beliefs about certain topics (like the ones listed above), we have a particular way of relating to God, and we have a particular set of practices which help us live faithful lives before God.  So when we talk about our confession of faith, what we’re really talking about is what we believe in our heads, what we feel in our hearts, and what we do with our hands.  When we think of it like this, we see that our confession of faith is important for our whole lives: heads, hearts, and hands.  Our confession shapes what we think, what we feel, and what we do.  In other words, it shapes who we are as the people of God.  So what’s contained in our confession is vital for our lives as Christians. 

The first thing that we confess as a church is that the gospel is our number one value.  We really mean it when we say that “It’s All about Jesus,” and we stand in a long line of churches who thought the same thing.  The truth that Jesus came into the world to save sinners by living a perfect life according to the law, dying a death on the cross in the place of sinners and for their sin, and rising on the third day so that they would be righteous before God is the most important value we hold.  This gospel shapes everything we say, everything we do, and everything we are. 

Every other thing that we confess has something to do with the gospel.  As we consider the rest of our confession, we should always keep in mind that we are not talking about things which are fundamentally different than the gospel.  In one way or another, every single doctrine that we confess upholds and safeguards the gospel.  This means that when we consider other doctrines, we should always consider them in light of how they relate to the gospel.  And these connections will be made in the coming weeks. 

Furthermore, we confess that both the Old and New Testaments point to the gospel.  Our final authority for faith and life is the Bible, which is made up of two parts: the Old Testament and the New Testament.  God has given us His Word in order to tell us who Jesus is and what Jesus has done to save us from our sin and bring us back to God (i.e., the gospel!).  When we read the Bible, we should do so with the gospel in mind.  The stories, commands, poetry, promises, prophecies, and prayers found in Scripture should all function to point us to the ultimate fact that God saves sinners. 

And finally, the gospel forms our vision for both ministry and individual Christian lives.  We aren’t trying to build our own kingdom or to be successful according to our own devices or goals; rather, we are trying to make Jesus known so that people repent of their sin and trust in him alone for both their salvation and their ultimate satisfaction. And the same is true for our individual lives as well.  Our ultimate goal is to glorify and enjoy God forever, and this goal should control everything we do.

So we have a particular confession of faith, meaning that we believe particular things in our heads, we feel particular things in our hearts, and we do particular things with our hands.  Fundamental to our confession is that the gospel is central to everything we know, feel, and do.  The gospel is central to who we are.  The Old and New Testaments of the Bible point this out, and so too do the rest of our confession.  The gospel controls what we do in ministry.  Perhaps we could think about the coming weeks like this: if the gospel is the beautiful diamond at the center of our faith, what we will be doing as we consider our confession is really nothing more than just looking at that beautiful diamond from a particular angle each week.  In the coming weeks let us always rejoice together, then, in the beauty of the gospel of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. 

Thanks for reading. Have a comment or question? Leave it below!

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