The God-Centered Gospel

To be God-centered is to know and experience the God of the Bible in the daily practice of our lives

“Whether it’s from the angle of the gospel, prayer, Bible-reading, community, or any other perspective that we might consider—our God is good, just, loving, merciful, kind, and holy. God is the Gospel.”

 

The Bible from beginning to end is the story of God. There is but one living and true God (Deuteronomy 6:4; Is. 45:5-7; 1 Cor. 8:4), an infinite, all-knowing Spirit (John 4:24), perfect in all His attributes, one in essence, eternally existing in three Persons–Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19; 2 Corinthians 13:14)–each equally deserving worship and obedience. To be God-centered is to know and experience the God of the Bible in the daily practice of our lives.

You and I live a world that is saturated with idols. From hobbies to entertainment, to workaholism to pornography and materialism, we are inundated with “gods” all around us. To be God-centered is to have a biblical view of God. Sound doctrine must match sound living in our lives. When we have right doctrine, but don’t live in accord with that doctrine, we may answer people’s questions, but we will never do so in a loving Christ-honoring way. Doctrine does not only transform–it must also adorn our lives. To this end, I want to consider four God-centered means and how they change our lives (Titus 2:10).

The Gospel

God is the Gospel, as John Piper has explained. Our view of God has consequences (for both good and ill). For example, people who grow up in broken and dysfunctional homes often view God the Father as a harsh god. Some place their experience of their earthly father on the God who reveals Himself as Father. Instead of viewing God as the Creator of everything and as good, loving, and just—they instead consider Him to be a harsh taskmaster.

The Gospel flips this perspective upside down and inside out. As Creator, God is the Father of all men (Ephesians 4:6), but He is the spiritual Father only to Christians (Romans 8:14; 2 Corinthians 6:18). He has decreed for His own glory all things that shall come to pass (Ephesians 1:11). He continually upholds, directs, and governs all creatures and events (1 Chronicles 29:11). In His sovereignty, He is neither the author nor approver of sin (Habakkuk 1:13) nor does He abridge the accountability of moral, intelligent creatures (1 Peter 1:17). He has graciously chosen from eternity past those whom He would have as His own (Ephesians 1:4-6). He saves from sin all those who come to Him, and He becomes, upon adoption, Father to His own (John 1:12; Romans 8:15; Gal. 4:5; Heb. 12:5-9).

Prayer

Understanding who God is enables believers to have a healthy God-honoring prayer life. Since Jesus has died in our place, for our sin, and has risen again—He now serves as High Priest and Intercessor over His people. Hebrews 4:16 invites God’s people, through Christ, to come boldly before His throne. Sometimes Christians think they have to clean themselves up before they can come to God. Yes, we must confess and repent of our sin (1 John 1:9), but we do so only because we have a right understanding and fear of Him (Proverbs 1:9; 9:10). Without a biblical fear of God, we would never desire God, grow in Christ, or long to call on Him in truth. When we understand that God’s ways are just, holy, and good, we will earnestly desire to come before the throne of God’s grace, knowing that He receives us warmly because of Christ, not because of our works.

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