Before Jesus’ crucifixion, He told His disciples they should love each other in such a way the world would know they belonged with Him. Those instructions still apply to us. We are called to live in a way which testifies of Christ and God’s everlasting love for humanity. But this idea of gospel living is one many of us struggle with. How do we make the gospel so much a part of our lives that people will see Christ in us?
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Before we can start living the gospel we have to know what it is. The word “gospel” appears 101 times in the New King James version of the Bible. All references are in the New Testament. From that, we get our first clue that the gospel is tied with the mission of Jesus Christ.
The Greek word for gospel is euangélion which literally means a good message. In the Bible it has been translated to mean:
The gospel, in a nutshell, is the good news of salvation and all that God has done for humanity through the life and death of His Son Jesus.
Understanding the gospel and the price Jesus paid for our sins is the key to gospel living. When we recognize that the only thing we deserve is death but God chose to give us life instead, it affects the way we live. At least it should.
That’s one of the reasons the gospel is so important, it should change our lives.
But how do we start a habit of gospel-centered living? I could just tell you to read your Bible and leave it there, but that wouldn’t help you much, would it? Gospel living has been part of humanity since the beginning of time. Adam and Eve were created to commune with God. They were to have intimate contact with the kingdom of God, experiencing His grace daily.
But with sin came a new way of interacting with God. Man was now separated from God by a barrier that could not be breached except by a Perfect Person. The plan of salvation was first expressed to mankind shortly after the Fall.
“I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel” (Genesis 3:15 ESV).
The idea that humanity should live a consecrated life has been part of humanity ever since. Oh, it has been called many things, like keeping God’s commandments, living holy lives or separating oneself from idolatry and heathen worship, but the concept is the same. God’s people are called to gospel living.
Related: Genesis 3:15
But what’s the secret to living gospel-centered lives? I believe there are three keys to gospel-living: faith, Bible study, and service.
So, how does faith impact your daily life? How does it affect your ability to live the gospel? It’s about how you embody the gospel of Christ while you’re in the midst of living what can sometimes feel like a difficult life.
Each of us has been given a measure of faith (Romans 12:3), a way to strive in spite of our circumstances. We have to use our faith in God to push through those times and in doing so become a witness to those around us. We have enough faith to thrive in our challenges, but we have to activate it. It starts with what we believe.
When we accept that God pursued us with an everlasting love and gave us the gift of His righteousness, we start to think of ourselves differently. The time we spend with God becomes less about checking something off a to-do list and more with spending time with Someone we love. It becomes a quest to know God better.
We start to see how the Bible becomes applicable to our everyday life. Our conversations contain snippets of biblical truth. Oh, we may not quote chapter and verse, but we find ways to work God’s Word into the advice we give others and ourselves. We become people who live these words:
“You shall therefore lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates, (Deuteronomy 11:18-20 ESV).
As we learn more about the Word of God, our thoughts turn to service: how can we live our lives so the people around us are blessed? We do that when we start using our spiritual gifts to serve others. Just as God gave each of us a measure of faith, He gave all of us spiritual gifts to be used to build up the church.
If you don’t know what your spiritual gift is, check out this series of posts:
If we are going to be people who live the gospel, we have to know what the Bible says. God’s Word contains biblical keys to success but first, we have to learn how to access them; that means we need to spend time reading and studying it.
One resource I’ve been using recently is the ESV Gospel Transformation Study Bible.
The message of the Gospel Transformation Study Bible is that the gospel of God permeates every book of Scripture. Since the Bible is about God’s grace, we need to learn how to apply its truth in ways which transform our hearts.
The notes illustrate the evidence of God’s grace and include examples of faith in action which highlight the importance of the Bible in our daily life. What I love about the notes are that they first connect the Bible passage to the culture and then shows how it reveals the character of God and His love for humanity. The gospel comes alive and you realize God’s grace has always been lavished upon humanity.
I received a review copy of the ESV Gospel Transformation Study Bible from Crossway; a positive review was not required.
The way we treat others is the true test of us living out the gospel of Christ. How will you use your gifts to benefit your local church and the people you come in contact with? My prayer for us is that each day as we activate the keys to gospel living, we will develop the mind of Christ.