Friday Reflection - Where Is the Gospel?
Friday Reflections is a new series on the China Partnership blog. Twice a month, we will share a short reflection from a Chinese pastor on the nature of the gospel. Though we often post longer articles, there is a richness to short and concise thoughts.
Wang Jianguo is the collective pseudonym for a group of Chinese house church pastors thinking and writing about issues related to the spread of Christianity in their nation. They are committed to preaching a grace-centered gospel, developing resources for the church, and loving China’s urban centers.
“What is the gospel?” The gospel is the foundation, whether it concerns the mission of the church, the ministry of the church, gospel-centered sermons, cities, neighbors, etc. This enables me to focus on the gospel itself because I have personally encountered the power of the gospel, which is to save everyone who believes. The gospel does not merely save us from the penalty of sin; it saves us from the bondage of sin. Thus, this salvation will inevitably lead to a renewal of our lives, and this renewal is the momentum and hope of my ministry, because God is pleased to manifest his glory on those whom he has redeemed on this earth.
This has become the unchanging core and focus of my ministry. Whether it is personal or family counseling, or the operations of the church, they cannot depart from this core and focus and are all built from this foundation. With regard to my relationships with coworkers, I no longer view them legalistically. I will not complain about them just because they might have not done a good job. If you see that the gospel can transform you, then the gospel can transform anybody. If there is the mentality of enjoying God and enjoying the gospel, then this ministry is one that operates in an environment of safety.
When I serve, it is as though I am observing one of the most skillful and ingenious sculptors, who carves stone into the most beautiful works of art. I am but someone observing the sculptor from the side, asking “What can you do with such a rock?” But as the sculptor progressively carves out his art, I continue to adore him, worship him, and give him praise. In my relationships with my team members, I see the power of this gospel that renews them one by one.
Whether we are eating together or having a time of sharing, when all our actions naturally focus on the gospel the ministries of the church will be healthy. Team members will learn how to view issues through the lens of the gospel. We will begin to ask, “Why do we have this kind of emotional reaction? Why do we have relationships with each other?” Thus, in the power of the gospel, we don’t need to be afraid and we don’t need to be proud, because our sense of security is deeply rooted in the gospel of Jesus Christ. This will build a different culture of community, and this culture is something that the world does not have.
Even many unbelievers can feel this, because they are very cautious about how to adapt to this group of people; but when they realize that this group of people does not judge them based on whether they are good or bad, but instead they focus on the power of the gospel, this will then draw their attention to the gospel.
I think that this is a very valuable core.
Translation provided by the China Partnership translation team.