Community Thrives in a Gospel Culture

In his excellent book, The Gospel: How the Church Portrays the Beauty of Christ, Ray Ortlund wrote:

A gospel culture is harder to lay hold of than gospel doctrine. It requires more relational wisdom and finesse. It involves stepping into a kind of community unlike anything we’ve experienced, where we happily live together on a love we can’t create. A gospel culture requires us not to bank on our own importance or virtues, but to forsake self-assurance and exult in Christ alone. (pg. 82, emphasis mine)

He continued:

The primary barrier to displaying the beauty of Jesus in our churches comes from the way we re-insert ourselves into that sacred center that belongs to him alone. Exalting ourselves always diminishes his visibility. That is why cultivating a gospel culture requires a profound, moment by moment “unselfing” by every one of us. It is personally costly, even painful…the triumph of the gospel in our churches is still possible, as we look to Christ alone. He will help us. (pg. 83, emphasis mine)

In the forward to Ortlund’s book, J.I. Packer stated:

A church’s culture should be orthopraxy (right practice) expressing orthodoxy (right doctrine). It should look like self-giving love for others that in turn reflects the sacrificial love for us of Jesus Christ our Savior and our Lord…Christian belief minus Christian culture is real hypocrisy… (pg. 14)

We need both and hopefully we desire both—let’s “look to Christ.”

About Pastor Matt

Matt Baker is the Pastor of Redeemer Fellowship Church.
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