I have tried to establish a link between behavior and the gospel in my earlier post “What is the gospel?”, which I realized might sound a bit abstract. So I want to try to illustrate this idea with the following simple example.
Imagine that you received a letter from a stranger who claims to be a dying millioner and says he wants to transfer his whole estate (hundreds of millions of dollars) to you. What a amazing gospel (Good news)! In his letter he states that there was no particular reason he has chosen you – it is not that you were better or worse than anybody else or that you did something special. His choice was precisely because you were nobody.
So what is the meaning of this gospel? On one level, it’s just a piece of excellent news through which you became rich. But you should also recognize that it is much more than that – from now on it will affect many parts of your life.
For example, if tomorrow a friend comes and asks you to lend him $100, it would be strange for you to refuse. I know you might, but it will be inconsistent with your new status as a rich person. I can imagine in response to your refusal, your friend might say that you do not behave in accordance with the gospel. Rich people usually do not feel as stingy about their money, do not think twice about eating in a expensive restaurant or staying in a nice hotels.
Now, what if somebody comes and asks you to give him $100, even though he has done nothing to earn it and is not planning to give it back. Again, you might refuse, but stop and think for a moment. How did you become rich? Is it because you deserved it? Clearly not. Then, why would you think it’s wrong to give people money when they did not deserve it? Again, you are not living in line with the gospel.
What does it mean to live in line with the Christian gospel? It’s to think out its implications to all possible aspects of your life. And, as should be clear from the above example, there are two Gospel aspects that will have the most influence:
1) Our new status as part of God’s family, after we accepted the Gospel. How does our status of being God’s sons (and daughters) affect the way we live now?
2) The way we received this status. What should our attitude to others be if we understand that we have done or deserved absolutely nothing to receive this status?