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Spiritual Health and Gospel Urgency

by Rev. Frank Liu
Cornerstone Reformed Church in St. Paul, MN
the Missions Banner, April 2024:  Print Edition

What do you consider to be a good gauge or litmus test of spiritual health?

There are some gauges that simply miss the mark in correctly assessing your spiritual health. Before his conversion, Saul of Tarsus was a stickler for adherence to true doctrine, so much so that he persecuted those who did not hold to it (Acts 9:1-12). Granted, Saul’s doctrine was necessarily lacking since Christ was absent from it, let alone at the center of it. But even right doctrine misses the mark if it is not coupled with a love and fervency for Christ (1 Cor. 13:2). Due to the strong political climate of our culture today, it would be quite easy for Christians to be distracted by it and to use one’s political stances as a gauge of spiritual health. This also misses the mark. We as Presbyterians have such a rich resource in our Westminster standards, for they are the best man-made summary of the truths taught in the Bible. But, is it possible to hold to these standards without exception, but yet be spiritually stone cold?  Yes, indeed, I’ve met many. In fact, I was one!

A good gauge of your spiritual health is to assess your own need for and delight in the gospel of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. It would be very concerning to say the least if God’s people were saying, “We are tired of hearing the gospel preached to us each Sunday!” Instead God’s people should be saying, “We so need to hear the gospel each week, tell it to us again!” Whether it be in the Christian life, the sciences, humanities, or golf, the rules are similar—the mature are not those who have moved above and beyond the basics, but rather they are those who have come to understand and appreciate more fully the basics and come to realize how fundamental everything is to those basics. For the Christian life, the basics are the gospel of Jesus Christ, and no Christian can move beyond it.

We see in the Scriptures the Apostle Paul demonstrating this gauge of spiritual health on several instances. Here are two such instances. In Philippians 3, while others may boast of their spiritual pedigree or credentials, Paul summarily rejects them as even hindrances to Christ: “Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith,”—Philippians 3:8-9. The second instance: “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.”—1 Timothy 1:15. Despite Paul’s faithful service and bold witness for our Lord, he saw himself as the chief of sinners and his need for Christ only increasing. So rather than graduating and moving beyond the gospel, the Christian in his spiritual growth only thirsts and hungers for Christ all the more!

As we come to a greater sense of our need for the gospel of Jesus Christ, we will delight in Him all the more. The evidence of this will be seen in the urgency and importance we assign for others to hear this good news. This is true whether it be our support for foreign missions, regional church planting, or witnessing to our neighbor next door.

Thank you for your prayers, encouragement, and support for Cornerstone. May the Lord continue to bless you, your family, and your local congregation as you seek to be faithful in taking and pursing opportunities to serve our risen King!

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