Gospel Transformation

A great guy of the Christian faith came up with the term, “gospel transformation.”   The power of the Gospel is to change human life into its full potential, into the life designed by our Creator. 

How does gospel transformation happen?  How does it relate to life on earth? How does the gospel change us?

Jack Miller, the man who coined the term gospel transformation came up with some sayings that help me retain what happens in gospel transformation.   The first is “Cheer up!  The gospel is far greater than you can imagine!”  The gospel of Jesus Christ has His power to transform life and relationships.  It touches and creates communities and even impacts nations.  The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the best news we will ever hear!  This gospel gives us a new identity that is not based on race, social class, gender, theology, or a system of rules.  Our identity is based on faith in Jesus.  The gospel gives us an identity that invades every aspect of life.  Because of this, we no longer have to hide from our sin and pretend that we have it all together.  We admit our own brokenness.  We have a new way to live and relate to God and others.  The good news continues to work in us as we continue to believe and visibly expresses itself in love.

“Cheer up! You are worse than you think!”  A great hindrance to Christian growth, healthy relationships, and strong communities is a life of pretense.  We pretend that we don’t struggle with self-righteous attitudes, foul tempers, nagging anxieties, lustful looks, controlling and critical hearts, and a multitude of other sins. We generally believe that we are better than other people.  Part of the good news is that  God knows all this.  He knows us intimately.  He wants to be the one who changes us.  Because sin blocks intimacy with God and others, we need God’s Spirit to show us our many fears and prideful and offensive ways.  We need the insights of others to encourage us and speak into our lives.

These two points work together in a cyclical fashion.  On the one hand, none of us wants to look at our sin without knowing the good news of forgiveness and deliverance from it.  On the other hand, our view of the gospel is severely limited if we do not *continually* see the depths of our sin.  The g o s p e l cannot s o a k deeply into us unless we allow it to address our ongoing need for it. 

“Cheer up!  God’s Spirit works in your weakness!”  We not only have a new identity, but we have been given the Spirit who is more than sufficient to lead, guide, and most importantly empower us in our new life.  The power that raised Jesus from the dead is at work in our new lives as well (Eph. 1:19-20).  Nevertheless, the power of the Spirit does not work automatically, but through repentance and faith.  Also, this power is made evident through our weakness (II Cor. 12:9; 13:4).  Along with the Apostle Paul, we delight in our weakness, for then we are strong, and God is glorified.  The result is a wonderful freedom to forget about ourselves and stop wondering whether we have enough ability–we don’t.  But we can rejoice in the knowledge that God uses and empowers the weak.  Because we are weak and we admit our weakness, we have hope!

“Cheer up! God’s kingdom is more wonderful than you can imagine!”   The kingdom of God is the new and final age that began with Jesus’ coming.  It is the age of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit (Rom. 14:17,18).  The kingdom of God is about the renewing of all things, and about the reconciliation of relationships, about the restoration of justice and equality, about freedom from every lord except Jesus, about forgiveness, and about the defeat of Satan.   It is about compassion for the poor and powerless, about helping those who are marginalized and rejected by society, and about using our gifts and resources for the advancement of others.  It is about new communities and the transformation of society and culture.  For Paul, to preach the gospel is to preach the kingdom, and therefore to preach the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:24-27).

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