Here’s an analogy, though it has its limits, which attempts to shed light on a stunted perspective on the Gospel.
We can function (think/act) as if the Gospel (Cross-work of Christ) were:
a) just a car’s *battery*, or
b) as both *battery/alternator*.
Psychologically, we can operate as believers under the assumption that the Gospel, like a car battery, merely gets us started (justified) and once up and running…we function on our own somehow (striving in obedience toward “holiness”). Or, we can come to the place where the Gospel is understood to function as *both* the battery & alternator. The battery generates a start-up AND then the alternator generates power to the rest of the electrical system, keeping the vehicle running.
In other words, we begin to see that the Gospel is for both justification and sanctification (unto glorification). It not only gets us “started” but keeps us “running” unto the “finish”!!!
It’s difficult for some folks to understand why we would continue excited about the Gospel, particularly if we don’t communicate well the distinction between an *assumed* & *active* Gospel. Folks might wonder, “Did they just get saved or something? All this talk about THE GOSPEL! What’s the big deal?”
I fear, that, until the difference is grasped an indifference remains. Until we come to see that the Gospel is essential for an entire life of faith (and repentance), there will be a trend toward moving onto so-called “bigger and better” things, like “working out our own salvation” (as if that had nothing to do with the Gospel-proper). How unfortunate.
The Gospel (‘good news’ (proclamation/promise) concerning the person & work of Christ) is the sole effectual word of God that bears both a new life and a preserved fruit.
When our boast is anything other than “Christ crucified” we’ve got issues. As we substitute this Truth with other “truths” we’ve got issues. Subtly… faith, hope and love are propped up by a fabrication of truth; something less than Christ’s righteousness and love upholds, that “something” having more to do with us and our faithfulness. In time, as the Truth and Grace in Christ are eroded, another foundation, a foundation of sand takes the place of Christ our Cornerstone.
To carry the analogy a step further, many folks are affronted by those who seek to “look under the hood” in order to “see how things tick.” Not that there’s anything wrong with being confident in God’s vehicle (Christ-crucified) and being thankful to be aboard. Yet, it befuddles me a bit as to how one could not be interested in knowing (thru Scripture) the mechanics of Christ’s redemptive work and its driving everything. It’s like unto our not unwrapping a most precious gift and “just being thankful.”
Honestly, I have great doubts that one who holds such a posture can easily continue thankful of such a thing as Redemption, when they live within the context of the Fall/Curse, the kingdom of this age, that is a drain upon genuine spiritual vitality. With all due respect…it smacks of arrogance.
Ignorance of the Grace and Truth of God in Christ, that eternal Gospel, in all it’s manifold wisdom and power, is a very unfortunate thing. It’s of particular concern when things are unraveling, sin is abounding, in the lives of those who cry “Lord!, Lord!”, and little or no connection is made to the root, that, somehow, somewhere the Gospel is/was usurped.