Having attended church most of my life, I have heard this mantra countless times...
Admit you're a sinner. Believe in what Jesus did on the cross, Commit your life to him.
It's as easy as ABC!
Now those may not be the first ABC's you had ever learned, but for those of us in the church, this was a learned formula to acquiring salvation. As I have grown as a man as well as a Christian, I realize that the ABC's of the faith only partially reveal the fulness of the cross.
New York City Pastor Tim Keller states, "The Gospel of Jesus Christ is not the ABC's of Christianity, it is the A-Z of Christianity."
Everything in this life points to the accomplished work of Jesus Christ on the cross. When we believe the Gospel, the "good news" of his victory over sin and death, we ought to be stirred to action. But instead what happens?
I hear it time and again... "I am saved by Jesus, but what's the point of trying to live a good life? I'm already going to heaven when I die." Oh how I often believe that narrow view of the Gospel, and resultantly, fail to live with much purpose or passion!
Friends, the Gospel brings us to a place where we are free of the burden of trying to "work our way to righteousness." For many who do not believe the Gospel, recognizing that Jesus did it all through the gift of grace as Ephesians 2:8-9 states, "not as a result of works, so that no one can boast," is a huge relief.
However, we often stop at verse 9 and don't read Ephesians 2:10 which draws out the entire Gospel when it states, "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them."
The good news of Christianity is not simply that you are saved from hell. That is good news but that is a very limiting view of the Gospel. Instead, we are called as believers in Christ Jesus to "good works," for the glory of God and to fulfill our purpose on this earth. When we truncate the Gospel to being about saving us from punishment, we lose focus on God's big story. Every day, God is using people, broken, messy, sinful people, like you and me to do good works in order that we might find our purpose and passion in him.
Can't think of any good works to do? Contact me, I'm a children's ministry director and I know a generation of children you can serve who are in the process of learning the A - Z's of the Gospel.