I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. Philippians 1:6
Do you believe that Jesus Christ will finish what He started in you? Do you believe he will finish his work in others? I mean truly finish it.
Salvation is not simply a rescue from eternal perishing – although it is that. Salvation is the reality that we are “new creations.” We know the Bible teaches that the “old is gone and the new has come.”
But, if we as followers of Christ are not careful, we actually give up on the Gospel. We give up on the reality that the Gospel works. We give up on Jesus actually changing us (and others).
I teach our church to “keep it real.” This means to be authentic with one another. If we are not careful though, being authentic can become an excuse to feel comfortable sharing one’s sin struggles not being challenged to seek victory over it in Christ. “Keeping it real” is just as much about having people and a place that you can share with others the sin struggles in your life, as it is about being told by those same people that Jesus changes things. Being authentic and real does not lower the standard of the Gospel, it empowers it.
David in Psalm 51 cries out to God to blot out his transgressions. He begs God to renew in him a right spirit. Does repentance look like this in your life? Are you actually expecting God to change you? Are you actually expecting the Gospel to have power in your life today?
What about others? Have you begun excusing sin instead of expecting change? We live in a culture where Christians are completely abandoning the moral teachings of the Bible when it comes to marriage, sexuality, gluttony, and other behaviors. Christians often would rather celebrate someone’s happiness in their sin than proclaim the real changing power of Christ.
The Gospel does not change situations or standards…the Gospel changes sinners to saints.
We sell the Gospel short by saying grace means that God loves you like you and that you do not have to change. When in all actuality it is the Gospel that changes you. It is the power of God unto salvation. I have grieved watching once faithful followers of Christ absolutely abandon the Gospel itself by choosing to placate to sin in their lives or the lives of others instead of holding to the finishing power of Christ.
I challenge you to read Psalm 51 and really dive into what repentance looks like. Not only what it sounds like, but what it looks like after the act of repentance. What should the penitent person expect to happen in their life and the lives of others? David asked for the joy of his salvation to be returned. He asked God to create a pure heart in him. David came broken by his son but asking to be built again. He expected God to build something better and different. He expected to change.
Do you believe that Jesus changes people or that he leaves people like they are? Do you believe the Gospel means that no matter what sin pattern and behavior your life is currently trapped in, that if you confess Jesus Christ as Lord you can and will find deliverance and freedom?
I challenge you to stop giving up on the Gospel in your life and expect to change. Stop quitting on your friends and loved ones by accepting their sin as a good thing and proclaim to them that God’s grace means Jesus changes people. Quit pretending that you have somehow progressed in your thinking to understand the Gospel means God does not care about sin.
If you are celebrating sin instead of proclaiming the power of Christ…If you are backing down on Biblical standards instead of speaking salvation in the Savior…If you have come to grips with your weakness instead taken hold of his power to change you…you have given up on the Gospel. You have bought into a sad Gospel substitute where grace is cheap, powerless, and empty.
The Gospel means God cared about sin so much he sent his son to die for it. He raised him from the dead for it. And he has sent the Spirit to now convict us of sin and righteousness in our lives.
Don’t give up on the Gospel. Expect God to do what he said he would do and he said he would finish what he started in you and in others.
God has not given up…neither should we.