Keep Coming to the Living Stone
Pastor Eugene encourages us to continually draw near to Christ, and not take the gospel for granted.
What proportion of people who regard themselves as Christian have a right understanding of the gospel? A large majority, surely, we might think. I was, therefore, surprised to read of the results of a recent survey of American Christians conducted by the Cultural Research Centre at Arizona Christian University.
The survey discovered that a majority (52%) of professing Christians accept a “works-oriented” means to earning God’s acceptance. This reflects the larger cultural trend in the US, where almost half (48%) of American adults believe a person can earn a place in heaven by being good enough during their lifetime.
These findings underscore how important it is for us to not assume the gospel. We can easily take for granted the good news of Jesus Christ, especially those of us who have been Christians longer. Ask ourselves: Does the grace and mercy of Christ still move us to glad and grateful worship? For this reason, the New Testament constantly urges us to remember the death and resurrection of Christ, and to actively live out the implications of this in every aspect of our lives.
As we heard from 1 Peter 2:4-5 on Sunday, we must keep coming to Jesus, the Living Stone. Our identity as living stones depends on being connected to Christ, our Cornerstone. We are to continually depend on Him, regardless of whether we have been Christians for four weeks or four decades. Our salvation—from beginning to end—wholly relies on the grace of God.
And this truth isn’t just for non-Christians; Christians also need to consistently hear it. Paul urges Titus to remind believers of the gospel: “But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Saviour appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Saviour, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” (Tit 3:4-7)
Forgetting the gospel is not merely an intellectual problem; it is fundamentally a spiritual one. All of us wrestle with the sin of “self-ism”. Our hearts are given to pride, which commonly manifests itself in our self-sufficiency and self-righteousness. Seeking to make a name for ourselves, we subtly shift away from the gospel. We start relying on our works to gain a good standing before God and others.
The gospel is the remedy for our pride. Apart from Jesus, we are poor, needy and helpless sinners. We are powerless to save ourselves from the righteous judgment of our holy Creator. But God, in His amazing grace and love, sent His beloved Son for sinners like us. Jesus died to bear the judgment we deserved; He rose from the grave to give us the life we need but can never earn. When we live in light of this gospel, we will humbly affirm the words of the apostle: “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Eph 2:8-9)
Friends, Jesus is the gospel. He is our righteousness, hope, joy and salvation. Therefore, in order to grow and bear fruit, we must continually draw near to Christ in a relationship of love, trust and obedience. Don’t merely understand the gospel intellectually; allow it to move our hearts towards Jesus, with ever deepening affection and faith.
May God grant us such a posture of heart, as we prepare for corporate worship. This Sunday, we will be hearing from Luke 11:14-26. As we see Jesus’ power to save, may we trust in him with renewed confidence. He is the King whom we can depend on.
1. The elders have decided that during phase 2 of Singapore's reopening, we will begin to offer the Lord's Supper on site every Sunday at 9am. This gathering will be limited to 50 people. Participants will have to register online beforehand at https://gracebc.sg/register4worship. Places will be allocated to the first 50 registrants on a first-come-first-served basis. Please quote your registration number or present your email confirmation for admission into the church building.
2. Do also join us for our Elder-Led Prayer Meeting on Friday 28 Aug 2020 at 8pm over Zoom. You can access the prayer meeting through this link: https://tinyurl.com/prayermeeting-aug28. Let us come together to pray for one another and for the growth of the gospel!