The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the ultimate hand-up! It is the power of God for forgiveness, salvation, and eternal life. It lifts people from:
- Death to Life
- Darkness to Light
- Chains to Freedom
- Hopelessness to Life Purpose
But it is also the beginning of the abundant life Jesus came to give all who will believe. In the previous post I said:
The Gospel is a lighted sign to a dark world and it says: Help Is Available!
And we began to unpack the privileges that are ours as living examples of the life Jesus came to give. I trust that knowing more about Jesus’ intent for us will challenge and encourage you!
Gospel: Privilege of Grace
To appreciate the privileges that are ours we must take note of a thing called grace. And that is the next point in our look at I Peter 2:9-10. We already have a glimpse of our privileges due to the Gospel:
- Known to Him from before the foundation of the world
- A Priesthood
That is connected to I Peter 2:9. Then verse 10 shows us how those privileges came to us. Notice what it says:
…for you once were NOT A PEOPLE, but now you are THE PEOPLE OF GOD; you had NOT RECEIVED MERCY, but now you HAVE RECEIVED MERCY.
These things are ours due to God’s mercy and grace. None of us deserves what has been given. So knowing this means we should exercise our God-given privileges with sincere humility. So what are these Gospel privileges?
Gospel: Privileges As Taught By Paul
It is always amazing to me how the Scripture can say the same thing using different words by different human writers. That’s one way we know the Scriptures are the inspired Word of God! Peter gave us a picture of purpose and Paul did the same thing in II Corinthians.
We have been set free. As a well-known worship song says: My chains are gone, I’ve been set free... But this idea of divine freedom is a huge subject! And Paul addressed it more than once. His second letter to the Corinthians is where I’ll focus, particularly in chapter 4.
The Privilege of Liberty – as seen in II Corinthians 4:1-7
Paul began with, Therefore… And that means we have to go back and ‘grab’ what he said in chapter 3. In verse 17 we see liberty:
- From sin
- To serve
- To Become
And we know from Paul’s words in Galatians 5:1, 13 that the liberty God gives us is meant for HIS purposes, not our selfish ones. And one of His purposes is to conform us to the image of Christ (see II Corinthians 3:18). Just think about that…we have the privilege of being made again/made over. Why? So that God is honored and glorified by what we become. That’s awesome. And here is why:
- Christ was the image of the Father – see Hebrews 1: 1-3 & Colossians 1:13-15
- We are to be the image of Christ to the world
But bearing the image of Christ isn’t just about us. It is also about purpose. We get to help others become image bearers. That is the ministry we have been given: We have this ministry... That is the ministry the Spirit has extended to us. It’s part of the abundant life Jesus came to give us.
The good news of the Gospel is that we have freedom in Christ and that freedom has additional purposes. I can’t comment on all of them in this post. But just note and study the following list for yourself:
- Christ is being formed in us (Galatians 4:19)
- Mercy – We come to Him by mercy
- Ministry – Again, His mercy allows us a ministry of extending mercy to others
- Courage – We do not lose heart (chapter 4, verse 1)
- Honesty – We set aside all falsehood – Boldly declaring Truth
Gospel: Truth Essentials
The last item in the section above also has many associated points. First, Jesus said He would build His Church upon the declaration of truth that came from Peter’s lips: You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.
If we traffic in truth then we do not deal in things that are false. Paul’s comments to the Corinthians says we do not do things deceitfully. This word is unique to this passage. And it carries the following thoughts:
- It means ‘to dilute or adulterate’.
- Diluting or adulterating truth allows error into Christ’s body
Those things are vital. Here’s my illustrative question: If you are baking a cake or loaf of bread, how much arsenic is too much for the recipe?
Gospel: Privilege of Integrity
Integrity goes hand in hand with all of the above. But here is how Paul’s letter to the Corinthians denotes the integrity that should mark our lives:
- Commending ourselves to everyone’s conscience
- Christians should be a Godly example to others
- Words should match deeds: A bold message should be matched by bold living
- We should live and act in light of the who we actually are
That is list is why our Helping Hands volunteer mission teams work like they do. We declare the Gospel as we teach, preach and train. Be we also demonstrate the Gospel through construction, medical missions, water projects and so much more. I John 3:18 tells us to love with our deeds, our actions. I love the way that verse in rendered in Contemporary English version:
Children, you show love for others by truly helping them, and not merely by talking about it.
As members of the body of Christ, we do indeed have many privileges. And this post has only dealt with the implications of our Christian liberty. We have many other privileges. But those are for another post.
Soli Deo Gloria
Got an insight or word of encouragement? Use the Comments section below!