Written by Stephen Cox
Bringing Honour to God and Salvation to Others
It’s a great thing to know God’s salvation in Jesus. As we think of our own experience we are reminded of the grandeur of what happens when we put our trust in Jesus Christ. We were prisoners of sin. We used to walk in the ways of the world. We were dead and enslaved, but God freed us. In Christ we have become a new person. We have become part of God’s family. The Holy Spirit himself lives within us.
We therefore put on a new lifestyle and new standards of behaviour which are appropriate to our new status. It’s important to see that putting on the new lifestyle does not make us one of God’s people. Simply taking off a prison uniform will not make a prisoner free from gaol. God first frees us, through Jesus, and then in response the appropriate thing to do is to walk differently – to live a new lifestyle.
That is what God asks of his people. To grow in our affection for him and to be like Jesus. The Apostle Paul states it like this in 1 Corinthians:
‘So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God — even as I try to please everyone in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved. Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.’
1 Corinthians 10:31 – 11:1
Just as Paul followed Jesus in seeking the salvation of others, so we should follow him in the same task. Jesus’ friendship with sinners gave people a tangible sign of the welcoming grace of God. It reveals a loving God who reaches out for the lost, who sends his servants, particularly his beloved Son, to achieve his gracious purposes of salvation. In response to his great salvation, our lives – our words, our actions, our social lives – should demonstrate the Lord’s desire to have fellowship with sinners.
It’s wonderful to be assured of his love, and it’s the greatest privilege in the world to bring this message of new life to others. As Christians we are people who stand between God and the rest of the world, showing them what God is like, and speaking God’s words to them. The apostle Paul in his letters called this reality being Christ’s ambassadors (2 Cor 5:20).
All of us are wired differently and have different opportunities to convey God’s grace to others. God is not asking us to become superstar evangelists who preach the gospel to everyone we meet (though, if you are wired that way, go for it!). What counts is that our entire existence be informed by the quest to bring honour to God and salvation to others. It is not an optional extra for us in the Christian life.
And acting in line with the gospel has enormous implications for healthy evangelism. Living out the gospel forms our approach to the world as we witness:
- The gospel shapes our view of the world for we know there is one Lord to whom all people belong and owe their allegiance.
- The gospel shapes our view of people, since we know God’s love for all people and his plan for bringing salvation to the nations.
- We share our faith with joy, since our hearts are filled with gratitude about Christ’s work in us.
- We can be generous with our faith since we know God’s generous love.
- We do not fear the rejection of others since we know we have been accepted by God.
- We share our trust in Jesus with humility since salvation is by grace alone.
- We share our trust in Jesus without manipulation because true faith is from God alone and cannot be manipulated.
- We share freely with everyone because we know he redeemed us and as result there can’t be anybody beyond the grace of God.
Jesus said to go and make disciples of all nations. We believe every Christian is to live a missional life where God has put them or where God calls them to go. There are about 22 million Aussies – most don’t know Jesus, and 60% of them don’t have a friend who is a Christian. This means we need to expand our circle of friends and to have gospel intentionality in all our relationships. As a church, we will focus on reaching more than
70, 000 people living in our region, and we will equip our members to promote the gospel amongst their friends, co-workers, families, neighbours and enemies.
When our lives are in line with the gospel and our witness to Christ is consistent, we find that our grace-filled lives have appeal. Don’t be surprised at the opportunities God will bring your way to share your faith. And as you share your faith, you become the instrument that God uses to move people from death to life. What a joy and privilege!