What difference does the gospel make as we face sin and respond to suffering? In addressing that question, biblical counselors often ponder a vitally important follow-up question:
“How do people change?”
However, theologically and practically, we must ask that question differently, like this:
“How does God change people?”
Evangelical theologians and biblical counselors typically answer that question with, “Justification!” That’s a biblical answer, but not comprehensively biblical.
We can summarize our complete salvation by which God changes us by:
Please do not let those big theological words intimidate you. These big words carry big meaning. These big meanings reveal to us the bigness of our God and the greatness of our salvation.[i]
To minister effectively to one another, we need a biblical imagination, a biblical vision, biblical lenses that perceive the big story God is writing and our role in it. We need to understand that we’ve been placed in the middle of the greatest story. We just need to go outside and play![ii] We need to hear and speak gospel truth relevantly to one another every day. We need to take these big salvation words and apply them to our daily lives together.
Consider these “tweet-sized summaries” of the grandest words in the world:
- Justification: “To your sin and condemnation, the gospel says, ‘You are forgiven and declared not guilty.’”
- Reconciliation: “To your lostness and aloneness, the gospel says, ‘You are accepted. You are family. You are pursued, wooed, won, and will never be let go. Welcome home.’”
- Regeneration: “To your fallenness and heart of stone, the gospel says, ‘You are born again, made new, re-created like Christ.” You were once dead, but now you are alive in Christ.’”
- Redemption: “To your enslavement to sin and defeat at the hands of the world, the flesh, and the devil, the gospel says, ‘You can do all things holy and loving through Christ.’”
- Salvation and Suffering: “To your pain, the gospel says, ‘You are heard, seen, and known by the God who loves you. Mourning does not have the final word. Joy does.’ To your disgrace, the gospel says, ‘Grace.’”
Join the Conversation
How can you apply these big salvation words to your life and ministry?
Note: The post originally ran at Dr. Kellemen’s RPM Ministries Changing Lives blog site. It is used with permission. You can read the original post at Tweeting the Gospel for Sin and Suffering.