The Gospel: A FIRE in the Heart

F-I-R-E

How do you create a FIRE in your heart? We don’t want our growth to just be mechanical but a change from the heart., So I came up with some words around F-I-R-E!

F2 –   Freedom: Do we live in the proper righteousness and freedom of the Gospel or do we  feel entangled with a yoke of bondage from sin and the expectations of people also living in a sinful, fallen world(Gal 5:1-9, Phil 3:9-10)?

– Feelings: Are you skilled at intimately expressing your Christian heart to those you care about the most? Do you care too much about your image to express yourself?

I2 – Idols: What Idols do you have in your life that keeps you from being who you truly are in Christ?   How do these idols work in your life to create Issues and problems in your life and feed your sin?

– Intimacy: What prevents you from having a vulnerable spiritual and emotional intimacy and connection with others that are important to you?

R5 – Righteousness: Do you have the right kind of righteousness that allows you to express who you really are in Christ (Phil 3:9, Rom 1:17). One kind of righteousness is said to be the power of God (Rom 1:16-17) for the believer.  The other kind of righteousness is bondage (see below).

– Replace: Have you expulsively replaced your man-made idols with the Gospel, the Good News of Jesus.  Christ.  Have you replaced old negative rituals with positive new rituals?

– Risks: Can you take risks emotionally with the people that are most important to you in your life.  What’s holding you back?

– Rejuvenate: Do you spend some time rejuvenating and taking care of your spiritual, physical,  and emotional needs so you can ultimately take better care of others?

– Rejoice: Have you rejoiced today in the Gospel (see below) and given Glory to God for his sovereign plan for you through the Cross and Jesus Christ.

E2 – Express: How can you express your true self better to those whom you care about the most?  At how intimate of a level do you express yourself?

– Embrace: Have you learned to embrace difficult, maybe painful situations, as opposed to medicating ourselves on fantasy, the internet, food, or just hopeful thinking. Do you  always take the path of least resistance of relationship avoidance and self-medication that many people do?  Have you learned to feel the real?

The Gospel: The Gospel, the good news of Jesus Christ and Jesus’ purpose on the cross, tells us …

  • We are more sinful and weak than we ever cared to admit and (Vs. antinomianism)…
  • We are more loved and accepted than we ever dared to hope(Vs. legalism).

Related Bible Verses to my thoughts

2 Corinthians 12:9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power [the power of the Gospel] may rest on me.

Rom 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.  For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith, as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.”

Phil 3:8 But no, rather, I also count all things to be loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them to be dung, so that I may win Christ and be found in Him; not having my own righteousness, which is of the Law, but through the faith of Christ, the righteousness of God by faith,  that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable to His death;

There are two kinds of righteousness discussed in Phil. One is a righteousness in Christ and other is a righteousnss that causes a man-made bondage and ultimately becomes self-righteousness. Martin Luther believed this second form of rigtheousness was mans default mode and only be embracing and re-embracing the Gospel can we even have a shot at not engaging in this bad form of righteousness.

Below I contrast the default mode of mans righteousness, based on mans misuse of Gods law,  with the Gospel righteousness “in Christ”. The Religion righteousness is very common and very bad. The Gospel view is Gods sovereign, righteouss plan of Jesus Christ

Two Forms of Righteousness

The Old Covenant

Religion  view (A righteousness from the law)

  1. “I obey-therefore I’m accepted.”
  2. Motivation is based on fear and insecurity.
  3. I obey God in order to get things from God
  4. When circumstances in my life go wrong, I am angry with God or my self, since I believe, like Job’s friends that anyone who is good deserves a comfortable life.
  5. When I am criticized I am furious or devastated because it is critical that I think of myself as a ‘good person’. Threats to that self-image must be destroyed at all costs.
  6. My prayer life consists largely of petition and it only heats up when I am in a time of need. My main purpose in prayer is control of the environment.
  7. My self-view swings between two poles. If and when I am living up to my standards, I feel confident, but then I am prone to be proud and unsympathetic to failing people. If and when I am not living up to standards, I feel humble, but not confident-I feel like a failure.
  8. My identity and self-worth are based mainly on how hard I work. Or how moral I am, and so I must look down on those I perceive as lazy or immoral. I disdain and feel superior to ‘the other.’  Identity in my behavior or beliefs
  9. Since I look to my own pedigree, discipline, or performance for my spiritual acceptability, my heart manufactures idols. It may be my talents, my moral record, my personal discipline, my social status, etc. I absolutely have to have them so they serve as my main hope, meaning, happiness, security, and significance, whatever I may say I believe about God.
  10. Outside-in Christianity (focusing on externals, Focuses on “the problem”)
  11. Forces you to conform to accepted practices
  12. Emphasis on rules, regulations.
  13. Points you to a cause, a group, or an organization (church)
  14. Majors on beliefs, doctrine.
  15. Seeks to control you
  16. Results in alienation, distrust and separation from other people due to mans complete depravity
  17. Emphasizes what you are doing wrong
  18. Comes across as superior, judgmental, and discouraging
  19. Forces sin into the closet. Forces submerged feelings
  20. Caricaturizes  people in sin and makes them one dimensional. Focus on morality and external behavior and beliefs and not the problems or person behind the sin.
  21. Trust in religiously created ideas and performance thereby distracting us from our need for a savior.  Focus on being a Christian.

The New Covenant

Gospel View (A righteousness in Christ)

  1. “I’m accepted-therefore I obey.”
  2. Motivation is based on grateful joy.
  3. I obey God to get to God-to delight and resemble Him.
  4. When circumstances in my life go wrong, I struggle but I know all my punishment fell on Jesus and that while he may allow this for my training, he will exercise his Fatherly love within my trial.
  5. When I am criticized I struggle, but it is not critical for me to think of myself as a ‘good person.’ My identity is not built on my record or my performance but on God’s love for me in Christ. I can take criticism. That’s how I became a Christian.
  6. My prayer life consists of generous stretches of praise and adoration. My main purpose is fellowship with Him.
  7. My self-view is not based on a view of my self as a moral achiever. In Christ I am simul iustus et peccator—simultaneously sinful and lost yet accepted in Christ. I am so bad he had to die for me and I am so loved he was glad to die for me. This leads me to deeper and deeper humility and confidence at the same time. Neither swaggering nor sniveling.
  8. My identity and self-worth are centered on Jesus … the one who died for His enemies, who was excluded from the city for me. I am saved by sheer grace. So I can’t look down on those who believe or practice something different from me. Only by grace I am what I am. I’ve no inner need to win arguments.
  9. I have many good things in my life—family, work, spiritual disciplines, etc. But none of these good things are ultimate things to me. None of them are things I absolutely have to have, so there is a limit to how much anxiety, bitterness, and despondency they can inflict on me when they are threatened and lost.
  10. Inside-Out Christianity (focusing on internals, focuses on the heart).
  11. Exhorts you to believe God & His Word
  12. Emphasizes open, intimate, vulnerable relationships.
  13. Points you to Christ and the Cross
  14. Majors on the Cross and ministering to people and their needs
  15. Seeks freedom in Christ.
  16. Results in love, intimacy, and trust … often even in the face of  great sin and injustices. Living in understanding of mans sin but simultaneously wanting to overcome it. Walking on this path together.
  17. Emphasizes Intimacy with Jesus Christ and each other
  18. Comes across as accepting and encouraging
  19. Can discuss bad behavior without repressing it or spinning it in our favor.  Allows honest, intimate discussion of  feelings.
  20. Allows understanding of other peoples sin.  Searches to accurately understand their environment so they can remove sin.
  21. Trust in Gods plan for us through his Son and the cross. Focuses on the savior and being “in Christ”.
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3 thoughts on “The Gospel: A FIRE in the Heart

  1. theoldadam

    FIRE in the heart is good…very good.

    But we are engaged in trying to put out the fire that God has started.

    So we ought help to keep that fire going by praying, bible study, worship, evangelizing, doing good (not for salvation).

    These are the fireplace tools to help that flame to keep burning hot and bright.

  2. centralityofthegospel Post author

    Good Steve!

    I like that way you said it one time. Our sanctification is just getting used to our justification.

    Thats why we need to take the Gospel to heart, how we can not please God by our own efforts, take to heart the Gospel, and how God works in our hearts and through that we become willing through what God has done for us.

    This is why I proclaim the Gospel and taking the Gospel to heart. We will disobey, but I dont want a mechainical based performance.

    When I see Jesus I see hope for me a sinner.

  3. theoldadam

    “I like that way you said it one time. Our sanctification is just getting used to our justification.”

    I can’t take credit for that one. That was the late Gerhard Forde (Lutheran theologian and seminary professor)

    “When I see Jesus I see hope for me a sinner.”

    That is the bottom line, Jon! Nice one!

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