Centered in the Gospel
Sep 08, 2009 by Howard Baker | 0 Comments
Christian spiritual formation begins with the good news of grace. It is where Paul begins his letter to the Galatians because he needed to take them back to the starting line. The trajectory of their spiritual journey was skewed because they had deserted their gospel beginning. The simple, yet powerful, good news is that forgiveness, freedom, love, and joy in the kingdom of God can be had by faith alone. We rely upon the sufficiency of Christ’s death and resurrection to give us life with God now and for eternity. Having started in grace by the Spirit, the Galatians turned back to trying to perform for God (3:3). This is a common detour in spiritual formation. Having been forgiven, given the Spirit and baptized into Christ we think we are now capable to live this life by our own independent effort. We lose the center, deny the gospel, nullify the grace of God, and, as a result, spiritual formation is arrested. Paul energetically guides us back to experience afresh the gospel of grace. We regain the center with the realization that no matter how far we go on this journey, we never outgrow our need for the good news that got us started.
God of grace, keep us centered in the good news that this life in Christ is a gift from a loving Father, not a performance for a squinty-eyed critic. Amen.
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to set us free from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.
I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— not that there is another gospel, but there are some who are confusing you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should proclaim to you a gospel contrary to what we proclaimed to you, let that one be accursed!