One of the foundational truths of the Christian gospel is that salvation is by grace. But if that’s how we come into the family of God, then that matters for the way we relate to one another in the local church. To put it simply: if salvation is by grace, then church must be by grace. And that means we prioritise gracious relationships.
It’s often tempting for Christians to either reject the culture around them on account of its evil, or embrace it wholeheartedly on account of its goodness. The Bible’s account of culture is more nuanced: culture is a human calling, a good gift of a good God; but it’s been damaged by the effects of sin. So, how should we navigate life in a world where evil and goodness coexist?
If there’s one thing our society tells us about religion, it’s that it should be observed privately and in moderation. Extremism is out. And yet Jesus says that his followers must deny themselves, take up their cross, follow him, and even lose their lives for him. How are we to make sense of this outrageous demand? What is it about Jesus that makes this kind of full devotion to him possible — even desirable?
There are few things more sweet than a church community saturated in the gospel, soaked all the way through in God’s grace. As be begin this series on our gospel-shaped values as a church, we start we we need to start - with what the gospel itself is. And where better to go for that than to what is ‘of first importance’, from 1 Cor 15.