What is “Gospel Convergence”? Part 2

The purpose of Gospel Convergence is to provide:

“Meditations on the Life of Jesus in the Mission of His Church for the Glory of God”

This encapsulates our Theological Vision which can be broken down into three complementary points:

  • Christ-Centred
  • Mission Orientated
  • Doxologically Driven

Christ-Centred

We believe that to be aligned with God in how he designed his universe to operate means being Christ-Centred, both in how we read and interpret the Scriptures and also in how we live our lives as individuals and within our various and varied communities.

This has profound implications for every area of our lives and we hope that we can help others, as well as ourselves, to see Christ clearer from the pages of Scripture to even the most mundane parts of our day and everything in-between.

We believe that being Christ-Centred has unambiguous Biblical warrant and tremendous practical application.

Practical Application (Part 1)

In considering the practical application of a Christ-Centred life we will turn to the Apostle Paul.

Two passages stand out as especially spectacular in addressing this: 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 and Colossians 1:24-2:5.

Paul writes to the church in Corinth,

Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.” (15:1-4 ESV)

Paul feels it is necessary to “remind” the church in Corinth “of the gospel”. Obviously the Corinthians knew the gospel, they were Christians so they had to have heard it before, otherwise they would not be a church. They could not have been justified (counted righteous) by God without having heard and responded to the gospel that Christ died for their sins, was buried and then raised on the third day.

What Paul is saying here is much deeper and more profound. Look at what he says about the gospel and how he is talking about it, it is “the gospel… in which you stand, and by which you are being saved”. Notice Paul’s use of present tense adverbs. Paul is reminding the Corinthian church that there is more to the gospel than simply justification. The gospel goes much, much deeper than justification alone. Paul wants the church in Corinth to remember the gospel is meant to pervade and permeate their whole life, that it is the means of their sanctification as well as their justification.

The gospel is so much bigger than we believe and this gospel is for all of life. It is the very centre of the Christian faith and as such everything else we believe and do must be the result of, must flow out of, our understanding that the gospel is far deeper and much broader than we can fully comprehend. Yet we can understand it in part (1 Corinthians 13:12), more than we deserve and enough for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3).

This is a vital truth, this is oxygen. We can’t live without this truth being real, being present and active, in our hearts along with our minds.

The gospel, says Paul, results in both justification and sanctification when it is applied to our hearts. Justification happens once, sanctification, on the other hand, is an on-going process of messaging, sometimes forcefully, the truths of the gospel into our hearts by the Holy Spirit’s empowering grace. In 1 Corinthians Paul speaks of Christ-Centred sanctification more generally than he does in Colossians, which is more specific:

“Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church, of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God that was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known, the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints. To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me. For I want you to know how great a struggle I have for you and for those at Laodicea and for all who have not seen me face to face, that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. I say this in order that no one may delude you with plausible arguments. For though I am absent in body, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good order and the firmness of your faith in Christ.” (Colossians 1:24-2:5 ESV)

In 1 Corinthians Paul reminds the church of the vastness of the gospel, that it is gloriously big, however, in Colossians he reminds the church that the gospel is unsearchably deep.

Paul first reminds the Colossians of the immense truth that Christ is in them which means that they are “in Christ” (cf. John 17:20-26), one of Paul’s favourite ways of speaking of being a Christian because it so succinctly communicates how God now considers us according to Christ’s perfect obedience, wrath-bearing death and victorious resurrection and not our own sinfulness. And, secondly, that in Christ are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

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