The Gospel-Changed Life: A Love For The Church
We’ve all heard that the Gospel will change lives. We’ve heard it shouted from pulpits, whispered in prayers, and spelled out in devotionals. While this is very true, tragically, we’re often left hanging right here. We know that the Gospel changes our lives, but how? The Bible is actually very clear on the evidence that stems from a Gospel-centered life and it’s extremely important that we study these things so that we can know and understand what is (and what is not) evidence of genuine salvation. When we don’t, study and learn these things, we’re left with a void that culture is all-too-eager to climb into and warp our views of what this evidence is.
So what does the Bible say about how the Gospel changes our lives?
One evidence of a Gospel-changed life is a desire to be with other Christians (the Church). In Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians, he conveys this desire. “But as for us, brothers and sisters, after we were forced to leave you for a short time (in person, not in heart), we greatly desired and made every effort to return and see you face to face.” (1 Thess 2:17 CSB). Paul wraps up this section of the letter in Chapter 3 with a prayer that God would lead him back to his fellow believers. “How can we thank God for you in return for all the joy we experience before our God because of you, as we pray very earnestly night and day to see you face to face and to complete what is lacking in your faith? Now may our God and Father himself, and our Lord Jesus, direct our way to you.” (1 Thess 3:9-13 CSB).
Here we see Paul expressing his desire to be with his fellow believers. He loves this church and loves these people, and this is to be our example. When the Gospel penetrates our lives, we will want to be around other believers. I can’t count how many times I’ve heard the quote “Just because I don’t go to church, doesn’t mean I don’t believe in God.” Scripture tells us that the opposite is actually true. 1 John 4:20-21 tells us “If anyone says, “I love God,” and yet hates his brother or sister, he is a liar. For the person who does not love his brother or sister whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And we have this command from him: The one who loves God must also love his brother and sister.”
A love for God ALWAYS produces a love for His people, and His church. This love is evidenced by a desire to be around each other. You cannot have one without the other. This flies in the face of a society, like ours, that idealizes individuality. Paul understood that Christianity is not an isolated, individual thing. It’s communal; It’s meant to be shared with each other, and with the world.
So how about it? Do you have that desire to be with fellow believers in God’s church?