Gospel in all our livesA key lesson for me in 2014 came while I was studying the letter to the Colossians as I prepared to preach it. It was an old lesson but one that just did not register with me before. It was that Christ's goal of saving sinful Man is to present every person "holy and blameless and above reproach" before God (1:22). At the same time, the church's goal of ministry is to present every person "mature in Christ" (1:28). The goals are the same but in different words.
This lesson struck me hard. A goal requires focus and intentiona-lity as we do our work. It means that all church activities must work towards the spiritual maturity of Christians or we waste our time and resources.
The question that follows is: what does Colossians say about how we are to achieve this goal? Colossians is very big on the gospel of Jesus Christ. Being saved means that we are to "set our minds on things that are above" (3:2). This means, as the rest of the letter explains, that our personal conduct, bearing and handling of relationships with other Christians as well as non-Christians must reflect the grace of the gospel. The gospel is relevant not only for salvation but also for sanctification. It strikes me that a Christian who enters the faith by the gospel must also continue fruitfully in the faith by the same gospel.
However, for many of us, gospel means the gospel message. Even so, few of us are confident in communi-cating the gospel to non-Christians. We may not know how to do so because we have not either been taught or gone to find out—both of them being equally bad reasons. If the gospel is to be a mark of the Christian, then we must at the minimum get this right.
As I had men-tioned, many of us do not see the rele-vance of the gospel beyond salvation. Christ who did everything to save us from our sins had also done everything to en-able us to forsake ungodliness and align with him. But many of us get this wrong: we see sanctification merely as behavioural conformity to the norms of a church culture. We don't realise that it is in fact our response to Christ as a debt that we owe to him. Our sanctification is always conditioned upon our sal-vation by the gospel of Christ (3:1), and not upon what we think is good behaviour. This is why we should be overflowing with grace in our relationships.
This year, let us learn the gospel message well, not only to share it but also to live it.
Ps Shin Hoe
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