Written by: Newton Chilingulo
Newton, his wife Vanessa, and their three children live in Lilongwe, Malawi. He leads Reformation Bible Church, a gospel-driven, Christ-centered church. Newton’s desire is to see biblical reformation across Malawi and beyond through church planting.
This following content was originally published on Acts 29’s website, linked HERE.
The good news of Jesus Christ should affect all aspects of our lives. This is gospel centrality—no longer living in our sinful desires but in light of Jesus and his sacrifice on our behalf. But we’re all impacted by sin. Paul writes about this in Romans 7:17 when he says, “sin dwells within me.”
But he also provides an anecdote for the sin that dwells within us in 2 Corinthians 5:15, “And he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.” Our salvation is a gift—there’s nothing we did or will ever do to earn it. We must keep this reality at the forefront of our minds.
Here are three examples of how gospel centrality affects the life of a Christian:
We all experience struggles in relationships. We may think someone is attacking us when they mean no harm. It’s difficult to receive correction from someone, especially loved ones because we often believe the worst about people before believing the best. But keeping the gospel central in our relationships corrects our motives and conforms us to be more like Christ.
In my context, it’s rare for parents to ask for forgiveness from their children. But this is a necessary part of parenting. The gospel encourages mothers and fathers to acknowledge their sins and seek forgiveness. Not only does this honor the gospel, but it teaches children the importance of repentance.Keeping the gospel central in our relationships corrects our motives and conforms us to be more like Christ.CLICK TO TWEET
Our security and hope are found in Christ alone—that truth should penetrate our hearts and affect the way we pursue the people in our lives. We’re called to love others, even when there are disagreements or misunderstandings. The Bible reminds us to be at peace with others (Rom. 12:18). When the gospel takes precedence in our lives—it also does so in our relationships.
Everyone desires to be valuable. This isn’t a bad notion, but the issue is the object of our value and how it contributes to our self-identity. Recently, a popular musician tried to impress a woman by showing her how much money he had. Instead of simply getting to know her, he tried showing her he was worthy because of his wealth. His identity is wrapped up in his possessions.
The good news for Christians is that our search for value is over. Colossians 2:10 reminds us we’ve been “filled in him,” meaning we have found our worth in Christ. Our identity and worth are wrapped up in the gospel. This should change the way we see and present ourselves to others. We didn’t earn our salvation, so we can’t create our identity based on the things we own, the clothes we wear, or the size of our congregation.
We’re all gifted differently, and those differences should be celebrated, not viewed as competition. Our worth is found in Christ. The gospel frees us from living by the world’s standards. Gospel centrality stops our identity crisis and reminds us that we’re beloved and adopted in the family of God.
Keeping the gospel central in my life frees me from a tendency to appease others. A few years ago, an elderly friend was living in sin, and I knew I had to confront him. This brought me a lot of anxiety and fear; this man was a friend and a financial supporter of my ministry. I knew if my correction wasn’t received well, I would likely lose a friend and a supporter.We’re to stand firm for the sake of the gospel—so that others may know the love of Jesus and that he may be glorified.CLICK TO TWEET
But the gospel guided me in this situation. If I truly loved this man, I would do the right thing in calling him to repentance. I graciously confronted him, and to my surprise, he received it well. He even thanked me for it.
Living in fear of what others may think denies the power of the gospel. Fearing man presents a lack of fear and reverence toward God. The Bible reminds us to “be strong and courageous” (Josh. 1:6), but for what purpose? We’re to stand firm for the sake of the gospel—so that others may know the love of Jesus and that he may be glorified.
It’s one thing to say you believe the gospel; it’s another to live a gospel-centric life. Paul Tripp summed it up well when he said, “The biggest problem Christians have is failure to connect the gospel to everyday life.” The gospel isn’t just something we believe; it shapes all aspects of our lives.