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Is Your Jesus Gospel-Centred? (Part 3: Tying It Together)

July 9, 2013

Ephesians 4:1 “As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received”

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A few years back, after being mesmerised by the battle-weary guitars of John Mayer and Rory Gallagher, I embarked on a small project to emulate my heroes and craft an instrument befitting a true guitarist. With just a ruler, some sandpaper and a miniature scriber, I spent several summer evenings trying to perfect my, frankly amateur, calligraphy. I had been reading through Ephesians at the time, and this verse kept on coming back to me. I etched it into my wooden canvas in the hope that, whenever I was playing, if I felt the weight of how little my life reflected Jesus, I would be spurred on into zealous discipleship and that my guilt would propel my obedience.

But I missed the whole point.

Our calling as Christians is to accept the good news that, as Tim Keller fantastically puts it, “we are more flawed and sinful than we ever dared believe, yet we are more loved and accepted than we ever dared hope at the same time”. Thus, to live a life worthy of that is to relish in the gloriously beautiful truth that “while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom 5:8). That my justification, my right-standing before God, rests wholly in hands that were allowed to be pierced, so that they could be used to welcome morally repugnant rebels like me.

Therefore, as the verse says, we must live our lives to this effect. So whilst everyone else around us is constantly railing against the inept boss who doesn’t deserve his position, or the teacher who fails to inspire or engage, we don’t. We obey biblical principles that say we must be subject to relevant authority, however seemingly ill-suited. Or we do not boil up inside when our input into family life is taken for granted. Or even we do not look down our noses with smothering self-righteousness at our friends whose weekend antics have made their way onto our Facebook newsfeed.

And why? Because we know that if God looked at us the same way we looked at others, we’d be without a shred of hope. Isaiah would say even the things we would consider putting on our CV to gain favour with God are actually just filthy rags. Like it’s not as if God’s apathetic towards our perceived devoutness, but it actually repulses Him! When we have a realistic, sober picture of the mess that was (and to some extent still is) our life, we are unable to look down on others, but are stirred to stand alongside them and point them to the One who is on high, in every sense. The gospel restructures the paradigm of our relationship to God to pre-Fall beauty; He is our God and we are the creatures that bear His craftsmanship.

I’ll finish up this series with what is perhaps my favourite quote from Charles Spurgeon. Enjoy.

Soli Deo Gloria

Jack

“You are not mature if you have a high esteem of yourself. He who boasts in himself is but a babe in Christ, if indeed he be in Christ at all. Young Christians may think much of themselves. Growing Christians think themselves nothing. Mature Christians know that they are less than nothing. The more holy we are, the more we mourn our infirmities, and the humbler is our estimate of ourselves”

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