What Does It Mean to Be Gospel-Centered?

In the coming days, I am going to post some thoughts on the subject of living gospel-centered lives.  This past Sunday, I began teaching the nine-week study “The Gospel Centered Life” by Thune and Walker at Grace.  My co-teacher and I had a great discussion in our preparations about what it means to be gospel-centered.  We don’t want to throw words or phrases out there and assume people automatically understand what we are talking about.  If we are not careful, those phrases can become so commonplace and cliche that we reference them with little tangible reality and substance.

Last Saturday, I asked my Twitter followers the question, “If you were to explain to a new Christian what it means to be gospel-centered, what what would you tell them?” Below are some (not all) of the responses I received:

erikraymond: The truth of what Christ did in history for me (gospel) calibrates everything I do in my life now for his glory (worship) Col.3

jaredcwilson: My standard operating procedure for life comes from knowing I’m a sinner but that Jesus died and rose again out of love for me

JonMcIntosh: Change or transformation of any kind, especially authentic heart-transformation, cannot happen apart from the gospel of grace.

JoshCousineau: You never move beyond the Cross & what Jesus did, the gospel is not the ABC but the A-Z of your new found Christian walk.

pastorjamie: seeing, in all things, what’s beautiful, what’s broken, and how the Gospel (D,B,R) redeems, restores, and renews everything.

timothywashere: In all I do, drawing all goodness and my very life not from self but from the sacrifice and new life that is in Christ alone.

ggrobinson: Cross informed thoughts, attitudes & actions that make us intentionally missional instruments of grace 2 the glory of Christ.

MichaelLeeAdams: 2 live intentionally, purposefully 2 share and show the love, forgivnes, redeption, goodns, & glory of Jesus 2 da world, daily

adamchristensen: I think it should mean that in every situation and setting the gospel is the lens/filter through which we view; i.e…
adamchristensen: …we don’t about anything without a gospel-flavor to it.

t_reck: GC means recognizing practically the implications of the Gospel in everything. Theologizing actually lived out.

mheerema: “You have been shown mercy (not getting what you deserve) and grace (getting what you don’t deserve), go give mercy and grace”

ecpoe: 1 Cor. 2:2 comes to mind–“For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. ”

ChristBookNotes: Daily reminding myself of the sinless life, the gruesome death, and glorious resurrection of Jesus Christ

I really appreciate the thoughtful and stimulating responses from Twitter, but I want to extend the conversation here as well. I would love to hear from you. In a concise and simple way, how would you explain what it means to be gospel-centered? Notice, I am not asking what is the gospel, but what it means to center your entire life on the gospel of Jesus Christ.

I will post my thoughts on this soon, but till then, I look forward to hearing from you.

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7 Comments on “What Does It Mean to Be Gospel-Centered?”

  1. Joe Thorn Says:

    Here is something I recently said on my blog, something that I unpack for our people going through membership classes at Redeemer.

    To be gospel-centered means that that the gospel – and Jesus himself – is our greatest hope and boast, our deepest longing and joy, and our most passionate song and message. It means that the gospel is what defines us as Christians, unites us as brothers and sisters, changes us as sinner/saints and sends us as God’s people on mission. When we are gospel-centered the gospel is exalted above every other good thing in our lives and triumphs over every bad thing set against it.

  2. “Jesus himself is our greatest hope and boast, our deepest longing and joy, and our most passionate song and message.”

    That will preach.

  3. Patric Knaak Says:

    When I think of being gospel-centered I think of two related ideas: 1) the same grace and faith that gets you saved, is the same grace and faith that causes you to grow; 2) we never outgrow our need for Jesus, and therefore–as Christians we continue to need Jesus the same way we need air.

  4. Romans 5:8 “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (ESV)

    John 15:13 “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” (ESV)

    John 6:38 “For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me.” (ESV)

    The love that is God’s internal cohesiveness is an interpersonal deference the absolute pervasiveness of which is manifested in the penal substitution of the atonement. Inasmuch as we are daily sanctified to a life bearing our own burdens as well as sacrificially bearing the burdens of others, we must view others in light of God’s intent to cooperate with his sanctification of them as our possible fellow servants. Only with this attitude are we lifted up, “For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.” (Luke 9:24 ESV)

  5. Johnbickle @ OASIS Says:

    Being GOSPEL CENTERED is “the” transformation you experience(d) when you excepted Christ Jesus, & through your walk in Christ. What does this mean “walked out”? I lay claim to Christ! Jesus is “MY” Jesus! I am also (always was) Jesus’ johnny! I forget not what/that the blood of Christ was shed for me & (ALL) but I’m brought back to the cross when I: sin, hurt with a loss, helping a brother/sister in their walk by taking/washing them in the word, lifting them up in prayer & love in both my God & I… This is only a fragment of what GOSPEL CENTERED is to me! Yay us in Christ Jesus! In 1 sentence; people! Through Christ OUR LORD & SAVIOUR, GOSPEL CENTERED IS INFINITE…. WE JUST DO EVERYTHING “JESUS”!!!!

  6. “Do you know, my dear unsaved hearer, what God’s estimate of the gospel is? Do you not know that it has been the chief subject of his thoughts and acts from all eternity? He looks on it as the grandest of all his works. You cannot imagine that he has sent his gospel into the world to be a football for you to play with–that you may give it a kick, as Felix did when he said to Paul, “Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee” (Acts 24:25). You surely cannot believe that God sent his gospel into the world for you to make a toy of it, and to say, as Agrippa said to Paul, “Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian” (Acts 26:28), and then put away all thought of it out of your souls. You cannot even speak of it irreverently without committing a great sin.”

    (quote from Rev Charles Haddon Spurgeon)

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