I don’t have any resolutions but I do want to be more “clear” in 2014. I want to help those around me understand what I mean when I talk about being “gospel-centered.” Toward that end I am thankful for men and women that make it easier to do so.
Often I talk about the error in the modern Evangelical church is that we embrace the gospel (the truth of Christ’s work for us) for salvation. Theologians among us call this justification. But once we are justified we want to move on to our own abilities to boot strap change in our live – the second part being sanctification. We instead need the gospel for sanctification just as much as salvation.
Dane Ortlund has clearly shown the difference between the gospel as the ticket to the ride versus the whole ride itself. He shows the distinction of “gateway-gospel” and “pathway-gospel.”
“Reflecting on Jesus’ words “I am the way,” Martin Luther wrote:
- Christ is not only the way on which we must begin our journey, but He is also the right and the safe way we must walk to the end. We dare not be deflected from this. Here Christ wants to say: ‘When you have apprehended Me in faith, you are on the right way, which is reliable. But only see that you remain and continue on it.’ Christ wants to tear and turn our hearts from all trust in anything else and pin them to Himself alone.
“For Luther, and for Luther’s Lord, the gospel of grace—that startling announcement of legal perfection, because of the work of Another, that defies all our intuitions about what God is like—is not the gateway into the Christian life but the pathway of the Christian life.”
Ortlund goes on to unpack some of Galatians and the from that books shows the difference of the two ways of thinking. Most helpful though is his language making it clear for our day.
“The Gateway Gospel forgives our past sins and sets us on a new road of doing more and more for Jesus.
The Pathway Gospel forgives our past, present, and future sins and sets us on a new road of enjoying more and more what Jesus has done for us—igniting real doing on our part.
“The Gateway Gospel gains our doctrinal allegiance yesterday.
The Pathway Gospel feeds our hungry heart today.
“The Gateway Gospel gives us a burst of energy for a season.
The Pathway Gospel gives us a dear friend for the whole journey.
“The Gateway Gospel leaves us exhausted, frustrated, and bitter.
The Pathway Gospel leaves us relaxed, liberated, and gentle.
“The Gateway Gospel saves us from our sins.
The Pathway Gospel saves us not only from our sins but also from all our other saviors.
“The Gateway Gospel draws us to the idea of forgiveness.
The Pathway Gospel draws us to the person of Jesus.
“The Gateway Gospel is Jesus in black-and-white.
The Pathway Gospel is Jesus in 3D.
“The Gateway Gospel tells us to march.
The Pathway Gospel invites us to dance.
“The Gateway Gospel is, ultimately, a lecture.
The Pathway Gospel is a song.”
Are we singing the song?
Read his whole post here. Thanks to Seth Hanson for passing this along.