The Gospel Pattern of Life
John Telgren


Most of us know that the Gospel means "good news" and refers to the message of salvation that goes all the way back to promises of God in the Old Testament and is fulfilled in Christ, who began his ministry in Mark 1 with a call to repent and believe in the good news. Paul says that the heart of the good news is that Christ died for our sins, was buried, and raised the third day, and because of this, we will be eternally redeemed from the corruption of sin with new bodies. The great enemy, death, will be taunted because death has lost its sting and sin has lost its power.

However, the gospel is not merely about what we receive, as though it were some commodity for Christian consumers to consume. It is more than just news or benefits:

"Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who… emptied Himself, … humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, … So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyedwork out your salvation with fear and trembling" (Phil 2:5-12).

Jesus humbled himself, died, and was raised up. According to this passage, this is not just something he did for us, but is a pattern for us to follow. That is why he does not say, "accept your salvation," but "work out your salvation." In other words, we follow the pattern left by Christ in the Gospel. We die and are raised to walk in newness of life that is patterned after Christ himself. This is why Paul spells out the implication of the Gospel, saying, "I die daily. (1 Cor 15:31), or, "I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me" (Gal 2:20).

When we "obey" the Gospel, it is to pattern our entire life:

"Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. .. knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; … Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts, and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God" (Rom 6:4-13).

"But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly {places} in Christ Jesus, … For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them" (Eph 2:4-10).

So, not only is the Gospel a gift, it is also a life-changing commitment to the lifestyle demonstrated by Christ. Like Christ, we need to empty ourselves, we need to die daily, we need to walk in the new life exemplified by Christ himself.