The Gospel Gap (cont.)

After identifying some of the external replacements that we often use to fill the place that the Gospel ought to occupy Timothy Lane and Paul Tripp point out “Five Gospel Perspectives” that give shape to the rest of their book How People Change.

1. The Extent and Gravity of our Sin
“It has been said that the doctrine of sin is the one doctrine you can prove empirically, yet we all tend to minimize it…The struggle to accept our exceeding sinfulness is everywhere in the church of Christ. We accept the doctrine of total depravity, but when we are approached about our own sin, we wrap our robes of self-righteousness around us and rise to our own defense…

“Why is this perspective so essential? Only when you accept the bad news of the gospel does the good news make any sense. The grace, restoration, reconciliation, forgiveness, mercy, patience, power, healing, and hope of the gospel are for sinners. They are only meaningful to you if you admit that you have the disease and realize that it is terminal.”

2. The Centrality of the Heart.
“The average Christian defines sin by talking about behavior.” But, the authors write, “beneath the battle for behavior is another, more fundamental battle – the battle for the thoughts and motives of the heart…Lasting change always comes through the heart. This is one of Scripture’s most thoroughly developed themes, but many of us have missed its profound implications. We need a deeper understanding of Proverbs 4:23, ‘Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.’”

3. The Present Benefits of Christ
“The Christian hope is more than a redemptive system with practical principles that can change your life. The hope of every Christian is a person, the Redeemer, Jesus Christ. He is the wisdom behind every biblical principle and the power we need to live them out. Because Christ lives inside us today, because he rules all things for our sakes (Eph. 2:22-23), and because he is presently putting all his enemies under his feet (I Cor. 15:25-28), we can live with courage and hope.”

4. God’s call to Growth and Change
“It is so easy to coast! We have been accepted into God’s family, and someday will be with him in eternity. But what goes on in between? From the time we come to Christ until the time we go home to be with him, God calls us to change. We have been changed by his grace, are being changed by his grace, and will be changed by his grace.”

5. Lifestyle of Repentance and Faith
“God has blessed you with his grace, gifted you with his presence, strengthened you with his power, and made you the object of his eternal love. Because we belong to him, we live for his agenda. And if change is his agenda, then repentance and faith is the lifestyle to which we have been called.”

With the emphasis that Metro East is placing on being a “Gospel-Driven Church” I recommend “How People Change”. It is not a self-help book. It is a book about real change based upon the objective and glorious truth of the Gospel.