Home > Discipleship, Theology > What the Gospel Means for You.

What the Gospel Means for You.

There are at least two types of Bible passages related to the Christian life. One type are called “indicatives” and the other type “imperatives.” Indicative Bible passages are those that indicate a benefit Christians have received by virtue of their faith in Christ. This is what Ephesians 1:3 refers to when it mentions “every spiritual blessing” given to those who believe. In other words, the indicative passages communicate that which is true for believers in Christ.

Imperative Bible passages are those that command Christians to live in a particular way. These passages inform Christians on what it looks like to live for God. The idea is that if you want to live for Christ you must first believe that which is true for you in Christ.

Identity in Christ

When Jesus died on the cross he not only secured our salvation, he also secured our identity. The truth of the gospel is not simply a change in where you will go, it is fundamentally a change in who you are. (1 John 3:1; 2 Corinthians 5:17) This essentially means whatever is true of Christ is now true for those in Christ.

When you turn to the Lord none of your sins or wrong-doings are counted against you anymore, while all of Christ’s perfection, accomplishments and obedience are credited to your name. Jesus takes your sin and he gives you his righteousness. (2 Corinthians 5:21; Psalm 103) God not only sees you as though you have never sinned, he now sees you as though you have always obeyed.

This is the good news! Jesus has eternally secured our right standing and acceptance before God through what he has accomplished on the cross. God no longer sees you as an ill-deserving sinner, but as his dearly loved son or daughter. (Galatians 4:4-7)  He will never condemn you, never shame you, never guilt you and never forsake you. He will always love you, always accept you and always welcome you into his presence; not because of what you do for him, but because of what he has done for you in Christ. (1 Peter 3:18; Ephesians 2:8-9; Romans 3:23-25; Romans 8:1-4) These are the indicative truths of the gospel.

Image via thecenterforgospelculture.org

Image via thecenterforgospelculture.org

Living for Christ

The result of believing the gospel’s indicative truths is power to live Scripture’s imperative commands. When we believe what Jesus has done for us it empowers us to live in obedience to God. For example, the most basic command in all of Scripture is to love God and to love people (the imperative). (Mark 12:30-31) The power to love God and people comes from understanding and believing that you are loved by God in Christ (the indicative). (Romans 5:1-5; 1 John 4:9-10)

The New Testament is filled with indicative truths for us to believe and imperative commands for us to obey. It’s critical that we obey God, but it’s only possible when we believe Jesus.  Faith in Jesus empowers obedience to Jesus.

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