The Gospel, as the saying goes, is more than a steak on your plate before it’s too late. It’s more than a clean conscience, a ticket to paradise or an escape clause for sinners. The gospel is an all-of-life faith that puts Jesus Christ at the centre of everything.
There are several ways we might describe the Christ-centred life of God’s people. It might be to have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16) or perhaps to bring every thought captive to the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5).
I like the hope expressed by Paul in Titus 2:10,
That in everything we might adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour.
To adorn is to make beautiful. And that’s what the gospel does. It makes things beautiful. The gospel regenerates, makes new, and recreates. It makes of us—and all creation—something beautiful, something good. It teaches us what beautiful is and how we are to beautify life.
The gospel does this because it is itself beautiful – and we are learning to wear it.
This beauty is tied to holiness (Psalm 96:9) and we are called to wear it; to adorn our life with it, from cradle to grave. From washing the dishes to building a bridge, we are called to put on Christ and wear the gospel on our rolled-up sleeves so that in everything Christ might be magnified and His holiness adorning the face of the earth.
That doctrine or teaching of the gospel of God includes the teaching of the Apostles, but it also includes the law and the prophets. The whole counsel of God. The whole doctrine of God our Saviour.
For some, mentioning the law and the prophets raises an objection, “Ah, but that’s the Old Testament.” To which I reply, “True,” and, “So?”
The Old Testament ceremonies along with its temple regulations, which were shadows, were fulfilled in Christ and so faded naturally from the scene, as did some of the penalties for sin which were laid upon Christ at His crucifixion.
But the precepts and principles of God’s law speak of God’s eternal nature and as such, they still stand. Not only do they stand but they give us a way to navigate life on God’s terms and so adorn our lives with the word of life in all of life.
Man loves methods, techniques. “How many times should my daughter’s boyfriend come to tea before I let them sit together at the table?” “What is the most godly amount to spend on a new car?” “Can I throw a Frisbee on the Lord’s day?”
These are the kinds of things people like to be able to list and answer in a tidy notebook.
But what we are after here are the principles we see in the word of God—Old and New—so that we can adorn our lives with those principles.
Principles, like, “Thou shall not steal”, look the same in the 21st century as they did in the 4th century BC. Others, such as, “Do not muzzle an Ox while it treads out the grain” may look different, but the principles remain the same. A labourer is still worthy of his wages.
The other objection you sometimes here is that the law came before Christ. Now that Jesus has come, we have no need of law. But the law is inescapable. Standards are unavoidable.
In every area of your life, you are applying a standard. We have standards for marriage, making yogurt, and building a fence. The question is not, “Shall we have a standard for this?”, but “What standard will it be?”
Will it be the Whole Counsel of God or will it only be the bits than conform to our personal tastes?
Our aim in this series is to understand those standards, see their superior beauty and apply them to all of life so that Christ and the gospel of God might adorn our lives and be visible in all that we do.