To be a Christian woman means to be on a path of increasing holiness. How do we live this out? God has granted us certain means by which we can attain the goal of being more like Jesus. All of this is accomplished through the power of the Spirit within us, but there are certain disciplines (intentional life habits) that we should be engaging in as we train ourselves for godliness (see 1 Tim. 4:6-16 and last week’s blog). Before we dive into the other disciplines we need to first understand the source of all godliness. That source is the gospel of Jesus Christ.
We are using the framework of Barbara Hughes’ book, Disciplines of a Godly Woman, going chapter by chapter to train ourselves up in godliness. Today is chapter 2, “Discipline of the Gospel”.
If I asked you to tell me what the gospel is, would you be able to do it clearly and concisely? Many professing Christians struggle with this. They may have spent years in church and they may read the Bible daily yet still find it difficult to put into words what the gospel is. This should not be. Why? Because it is the foundation to our belief in Jesus Christ and the means by which we have been saved. Without properly understanding the gospel we are ineffective Christians floundering around and often finding ourselves miserable as we try to be obedient to God.
It is the gospel that will lead us to holiness. In the words of Barbara Hughes, “The Gospel of Jesus Christ is unrelenting in seeking to convert every area of our hearts and lives. The Gospel is all-encompassing. It is in fact the only source of godliness. Search anywhere else, and you have nothing more than self-reform at best and idolatry at its worst.” (page 21).
As Christians, we need to understand that the gospel is everything to us. It shapes who we are and directs our daily lives. The gospel, broadly speaking, is the whole message of all of Scripture. Specifically, it is the way of salvation through Jesus Christ. A good summary is found in 1 Corinthians 15:3-4, “ For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures,”.
Our God is a perfect and holy God who created everything, including us (Gen. 1:1, 27). He rightly demands a perfect and holy people to be his (Lev. 11:44). He gave us rules and commandments to live by, but humanity failed because we are sinners and unable to live up to his perfect standards. Every single one of us sins and rebels against God’s Lordship over us (Rom. 3:23). The penalty for this sin is death and separation from God forever (Rom. 6:23). We seem to be without hope, except God sent his only Son, Jesus, to save us (John 3:16). Jesus came to earth and lived the perfect life we could not live (2 Cor. 5:21). He then took the wrath of God for our sins upon himself and died on the cross, paying the price we could not pay (Rom. 4:25). After being dead and buried three days, Jesus rose again and ascended to Heaven to be with God (Luke 24:6, 50). Victorious over death and sin forever. If we have been called by God’s grace and in faith believe in what he has done for us, we are saved. “He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” Colossians 1:16.
In light of what our Savior Jesus Christ has done for us, our lives should be transformed! Through Christ we are no longer slaves to unimportant, meaningless ways of living. We have been saved through the gospel of Jesus and our lives have been redeemed for his good purposes. And this gospel message is, as Paul tells us, “of first importance” and is to be shared.
We are blessed recipients of the gospel but it belongs to God, it is his gospel. We need to be sure we have a right theology about who God is. We must live for and serve the Jesus of the Scriptures. When we do so, we find our lives transforming. “The Gospel shapes everything about you. The discipline of the Gospel is coming to God on his terms… As women who understand and embrace the Gospel, we find God’s Word so dynamic that it at once defines us, satisfies us, and motivates us.” (Barbara Hughes, page 25).
Women, know and understand the gospel. Allow it to not only redeem and transform your heart but also every day that you live.