Being Christian Means Being Committed To The Gospel
Posted on 3 Nov 2020 by Bryan Lee
To be honest, the idea of “being Reformed” still seems foreign to me even though I’ve been in a reformed church for about three years – reformed theology is so rich, and I have only scratched the surface. However, being in a church that firmly upholds reformed teachings has taught me a great deal about the significance of the Reformation. Without the Reformation, all Christians across the world including myself would still be holding on to a faith influenced by teachings that have strayed away from what our Lord Jesus Christ Himself had taught, which we see in the Scriptures and are meant to affirm and teach today.
And so, being Reformed means a lot because it means being able to commit and submit to the biblical truths that Christ Jesus Himself espoused as our resurrected Messiah.
For myself, being able to commit towards these truths, proclaiming them and carrying out the great commission by our Lord Christ Jesus (Matt 28.16-20) is truly an undeserved grace. It is a privilege that has been gifted to myself and to His church who are all equally undeserving sinners (Rom 1:18-3:20, Eph 2:1-3). The apostle Paul also affirms this of himself (1 Cor 15:8-11).
To be committed to the gospel means a lot personally, especially for someone like me who once gave up on Christianity and left the faith. During my younger days, what I mainly understood of the gospel was being able to please God by doing and embodying “The 10 Commandments”, which led to a personal understanding of being capable of worshipping and pleasing Him all the days of my life in a very self-glorifying manner. This view soon crumbled as I grew older and realised just how sinful and evil mankind could be. I gave up on Christianity at the age of 17.
Yet, by the grace of God, everything changed during my campus years. I was exposed to a reformed and, most of all, biblical understanding of the gospel from various ministries of CERC such as Sunway SOLIDD and TGG MonSun. One very helpful Bible passage that greatly assisted in reforming my understanding of the gospel was Ezekiel 36:16-38. The passage provides not only the context of God’s salvation (Ezek 36:16-21), but also other important elements of the gospel including what God’s salvation is (Ezek 36:22-26), and the purpose for His salvation (Ezek 36:27-29, 31-36, 38). This passage really helped me to rightly understand the context of God’s salvation – that it is really not for our own sake (Ezek 36:32) but out of God’s concern for His holy name (Ezek 36:16-21). This hugely impacted my understanding of commitment to the gospel – the gospel was never for my own sake or the sake of the people around me (Ezek 36:36, 38), but for God’s name sake so that everyone may come to know Him.
Being rooted in a reformed conviction of the gospel led to my own regular and healthy attendance in church; I eventually committed to become a member of CERC and joined the church’s membership course at the end of last year. Earlier this year in March, I began serving in ministry and have taken up leadership roles within Sunway SOLIDD in hopes of growing the ministry and helping to make known His gospel on campus.
Since then, I’ve realised that being committed to this gospel is vital because it is part of who we are as Christians belonging to Christ’s church.
In Paul’s opening of his letter to the church of Ephesus, God revealed His grace towards His church – us whom He predestined beforehand, for His purpose. This purpose is for the church to be holy and blameless, and to praise the glorious grace with which God has blessed His church in Christ (Eph 1:3-7). In summary, the grace gifted by God to His church is for the praising of the grace gifted to His church. We the church are to dedicate and commit ourselves to this purpose!
In the following chapter, Paul mentioned that this gracious gift from God to the church is for good works, and that they are to walk in it (Eph 2:8-10). Part of how the church is to walk in this grace is to preach this gospel among all nations. Paul himself, who is a recipient of this same grace, is to preach this grace to bring about obedience of faith for His name’s sake so that the whole world may come to know it (Eph 3:8-10, Rom 1:1-6, Ezek 36:22-36, Matt 28:18-20).
If a person professes to be a Christian but is not dedicated and committed to the gospel, it is very alarming. This person may not actually be a Christian, or is a Christian who could possibly be very close to slipping away due to a long term lack of clarity of their own Christianity, or the hardening of their own heart in rebellion (Heb 3:7-19, Psa 95:7-11). These are things that many Christians will struggle with, particularly for young Christians or even the common Christian who has grown up their whole life without a proper understanding of the gospel – myself included.
I would personally think that the classical reformers were very inspiring or equally inspiring as those who had similar attitudes or displayed the same reformed and biblical faith. This doesn’t just include very significant characters in the church’s history of the reformation such as Martin Luther and John Calvin, but also characters within the biblical narrative such as our forefathers of the same faith. We can look to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob along with God’s own prophets and kings such as Moses, Joshua, Samuel, David, Josiah, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and so on.
What really drove these people to have such an attitude of commitment to God’s truths was having a genuine, deep conviction that defined the living reality within their own hearts, minds and souls. This not only drove them to commit to the gospel, but also to hunger, thirst, and desire for this gospel and God’s righteous rule to be spread throughout the whole earth for the sake of glorifying our LORD (Matt 5:6, Isa 55:1, Psa 42:1-2).
Given that we have had so many great examples of reformed and biblical faith that led to great commitment to the gospel, we of all people should be most encouraged and assured, adopting this stance without fear but with great confidence (Heb 12:1-2).
The best examples I’ve had of seeing how Christians today adopt it in their everyday life is by looking at my own Growth Group (GG) leaders and the pastor-teachers of the church. Despite receiving ongoing persecution for their attempts to commit, sustain and proclaim this reformed gospel faithfully, the GG leaders and pastor-teachers of CERC continue trying their hardest to preserve this ministry – reflected in the way they run GGs and campus ministry, and the faithful preaching of the Word to the congregation. I think the reason why they would continue to commit, sustain and persevere for this gospel is because ultimately their hope, which is also our hope and perseverance, lies in trust and dependence on God.
We trust that God would bring His salvation and judgment upon the earth, through the coming of His resurrected Son in putting all things in subjection to Him (Eph 1:9-10, 19-23; 1 Cor 15:20-28, Psa 8:4-6). And so, it is with this hope that we should all strive with full assurance and conviction in our own commitment towards the gospel of the Son.
To those who are not doing too well at being committed disciples, I strongly encourage you to do your very best to commit to attending both the weekly Sunday gatherings as well as your weekly GG gatherings. One major reason for why my first two years in CERC saw little growth in my understanding and maturity was my lack of commitment towards attending my own GG. This resulted in my own poor commitment to the gospel.
Thus, one way to equip ourselves is definitely taking up the commitment towards attending your own specific GG while also working towards making your own personal preparation before attending GG. Besides that, consider taking up membership within your respective churches. Other suggestions would include attending training programmes like School of Christian Ministry (SOCM), conferences, or ministries that teach or equip you with faithful biblical teaching – such as those organised by the Gospel Growth Fellowship including Fellow Workers Conference (FWC), Thinking Theologically Conference (TTC), and Creation to Consummation (CTC). Another simple way is to expose yourself to good articles that are rich in reformed and biblical understanding. All in all, they would greatly help to equip ourselves to better live out the God given task of gospel commitment.
Given the amount of gospel work that is left to be done before our Lord returns, I would like to humbly pray to our God that He may continue to sustain His church through His provision of the Spirit of wisdom and revelation of our Lord (Eph 1:16-23, 1 Cor 15:20-28). Without this wisdom of the salvation work of our Lord, the church cannot sustain itself and therefore loses it’s own identity as Christ’s church. And so, I would like to pray for all churches throughout Klang Valley to continually be sustained by this gospel and be committed towards it, such that all peoples will come to know this spiritual wisdom and revelation of our Lord!