Christians — those who claim to be saved by the grace of Christ through the Cross — should be known for their humility. As you realize from the narrative of the Gospel that a sinner’s salvation is never earned, you would think that Christians would easily imbibe a lifestyle of humility. We all know that this is not the case, though.
So we ask the question: How does humility actually happen in real life?
As simply as I can put it, we need to apply Gospel theology into our daily lives. This is something that I like saying to the folks at our church these days, that we should “put our theology to work.” It is one thing to believe in the Gospel, and totally another thing to live it out.
Foundationally, we understand from the Gospel that all of us are sinners and are all undeserving of God’s love and mercy. We all are unfaithful and have made a mockery of God’s authority and sovereignty over all existence. None of us are righteous, says Paul (Romans 3:10-12)– and you only have to look around your environment to confirm this. Because of this, we have no rights at all to even ask anything of value from a holy and righteous God whose anger and wrath burns at sin and anything against his will and perfection. We deserve nothing.
Seeing and knowing this, we then understand that it is only through God’s abounding grace that we are now enjoying the status of being “children of God,” something that he gives out of his mercy to those who believed in his name (John 1:12). This is all because of Christ. This is all because of what he did on the cross.
So if you process this correctly, all that we enjoy in our lives as Christians to this day, all the good things and all the blessings you can care to name that have come at this point in your life after you have been saved from your sins — all of these flow from the fountain of his grace and mercy.
This might be a contentious statement to make for some, but I believe this with all my heart, that any good thing that a Christian has in his/her life right now, anything he/she is able to do for the Lord that is acceptable as worship, is ultimately from God. The good things you experience in your life right now are ultimately products of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. None of this is from anything we’ve done.
So when we begin to think that somehow we’ve “earned” these blessings — if we even dare think that we have rights to speak of to these things we enjoy — this is the beginning of pride in our hearts. When we subtly lift up our skills and abilities before people, you can be sure that we’ve began to miss the point of the Gospel. These skills and abilities — which God himself gave us out of his mercies — should not be used to further our selfish goals of earning the praise of the people around us.
This is one of the easiest ways you begin to diminish Christ’s work on the cross. Jesus being put to death was to the exaltation of the Father, and not at all to elevate the position of humanity. We are sinners. What can we contribute to this process?
So this is the Gospel that I preach to myself every day — I DESERVE NOTHING. But because of Christ’s saving work on the cross, I was saved from an eternity of torment and separation from God. And to put some pretty big exclamation points to an already amazing thought, I am now experiencing God’s grace every day that I live and breathe.
A correct understanding of the Gospel should make a Christian humble. These blessings we receive every day are a thousand and one reasons to worship and be grateful. God’s graces to us are not to be used to pad our self-esteem. In the Gospel, there is no reason to boast in ourselves — but there is great reason to boast in Christ!
John serves as Lead Pastor at Redeemer Christian Church Manila, a new church plant in the city of Manila that grew out of the desire to preach the Gospel clearly to the city. RCCM ministers mostly to college students, a growing group of young professionals, and young adults with new families.
John is married to Kali, and they have been together for over 10 years now. They are both passionate about disciple-making and Gospel-centered ministry, and they both serve in the iDISCIPLE Philippines directional team together. John is currently on leave from seminary, but he plans to eventually finish his program of Master in Divinity in Pastoral Studies.
John also does part-time freelance work writing content for websites, marketing materials, and various online writing jobs.