One Anothering Well - The Essence of Life

Some News You Can Use from Shelby Center

If I were to ask you what is the essence of the Christian life, what would be your answer? What is the essence of our life together as followers of Christ?

When the “disciple whom Jesus loved” took up pen and parchment to write about what it means to be “Christian” he did not write about what the gospel says, he wrote about what it does.

If the gospel does anything, it profoundly changes one’s life and approach to relational health, because it turns on the light, reveals the problem, and rescues us from what hinders our life and relationships: Sin!

John tells us that the essence of the gospel is evidential, experiential deliverance from the consequences of sinfulness and selfishness - death, indifference, and darkness – and delivery into the life, love, and light of Jesus Christ - the consequence of salvation.

To live in the light of Christ is to enjoy life as God intended.

So, what is the essence of the Christian life? John argues for fellowship: Close partnership, positive involvement, and commitment to Jesus Christ and one another by being honest about our own sin and true to our mutual cause: The ministry of reconciliation because of what Christ has done. (From 1 John 1:3-7):

•We all sin. So, for fellowship to mature sin must be forsaken. Having experienced God’s forgiveness at the deepest level we desire to stay clean and never leave fellowship by going back into darkness.

•Additionally, our fellowship is possible because we’re forgiven on the merits of Christ not performance.

How we react to the sin of others reveals the true nature of our gospel and commitment to each other.

•Living in unity, fervent charity, and growing in maturity requires circumspection about sin - ours and others - in the light of Jesus’ response to it. He died to reconcile so we do likewise (2 Cor. 5:17-21).  

•Our faith is demonstrated by our fellowship with Jesus and other believers. Sometimes that’s hard.

But fellowship is not a matter of more faith; it’s a matter of more faithfulness to God’s word (Lk. 17:1-10).
•Fellowship requires honesty about our own sin and what Christ has done about it (1 John 1:6-2:2). When we prioritize life together according to what the gospel does relationally, we one-another well.

•The gospel turns the light onto the true cost of your sin and mine: Christ’s blood. But it also turns the light on to helping each other confess, seek forgiveness, be reconciled and cleansed – not condemned.

•How sin is addressed matters deeply. The goal of God’s word is reconciliation that magnifies God’s grace toward the sinner and seeking to draw them out of darkness and into God’s light (Acts 26:16-23).

•When we walk in true fellowship – sinner saved by grace with other sinners saved by grace – we turn the light on so that the gospel of grace is never hid to them that are living in darkness (2 Cor. 4:1-6).

•We live godly, graciously, forgive others, and remain in fellowship because that is the essence of the gospel: Sinners made clean, forgiven, and placed in committed partnership by the blood of Jesus Christ.

If how you treated others you deem sinners and your level of commitment to living in unity, fervent charity, and growing in maturity - in close partnership with other believers - was your gospel, what would it do?

Would it leave others condemned and in darkness or drawn to the light and love of true life in Christ?

Forgiven and in fellowship with others who are forgiven is what the gospel does. It is the essence of the Christian life and the priority of our testimony as true followers of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Sin affects us all. Christ knows and did something about it. Our joy is not to be found in our performance or in our perfection.

It is found in partnership with other believers who’ve experienced what the gospel does because they’ve believed what the gospel says. Does your manner of fellowship turn the light on? It must.

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