Salvation is not an end but a beginning. The Gospel not only gives us new life but teaches us how to live as new people in Christ. Quite simply, the Gospel must change every aspect of our lives. Salvation necessarily brings wholistic life change. The fruit of the Gospel must be evidenced following a person’s salvation (Galatians 5:22-24). Internal heart change must produce external fruit (Matthew 7:18-20). The Bible makes this clear by repeatedly using a simple phrase – “one another”.
Used more than sixty times in the New Testament, the phrase “one another” describes numerous aspects of Christian interaction. Christians are called to love one another (John 13:34-35), serve one another (Galatians 5:13), be united with one another (Romans 12:16), bear one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:1-2), encourage one another (1 Thessalonians 5:11), seek the good for one another (1 Thessalonians 5:15), and gently, patiently tolerate one another (Ephesians 4:2) to only name a few. Christians don’t have the luxury of picking and choosing which commands to follow. Christ commands complete obedience in caring more for one another than ourselves.
The widespread effects of Christians displaying Christ to one another apply to every area of life. How we speak to one another sends a message to a watching world and bears evidence of our spiritual condition. When Christians speak and act like the world, we’re functionally showing a Gospel lacking transformative power. Churches miss the full Gospel when we normalize salvation apart from changed thinking and responding. The biblical Gospel emphasizes Christ’s transformative power over the enslavement of sin to every temptation of life. Instead of speaking behind other’s backs, Christians ought to model speaking in edifying ways. Rather than manipulating for personal preferences, Christians should normalize caring for others before themselves.
Is it possible we’re guilty of proclaiming the Gospel without essential Gospel implications? Have we so focused on getting people saved that we’ve neglected to teach what a life of salvation means? Are we so individualistic that we’ve failed to care about another’s physical and spiritual condition? A small Gospel produces small Gospel fruit. The full biblical Gospel produces robust biblical fruit. Salvation always changes the heart, renews the mind, and transforms all of life.
The answer to biblical apathy is biblical accuracy. Gospel proclamation must always include Gospel application. When God creates believers as tools for the kingdom, the tools are expected to build the kingdom. Building Christ’s kingdom means always speaking truth in love. It means responding with grace, not impatience. It means assuming the best rather than presuming motives of others. It means caring more for another’s spiritual growth than getting your way. It means living and speaking according to the example of Christ, who “while being reviled, he did not revile in return; while suffering, he uttered no threats, but kept entrusting himself to him who judges righteously” (1 Peter 2:23).
As Christians, we must model Christ to one another. We must guard against hurting one another with our words. We would be wise to pursue the needs of others before serving our own preferences. The church will be successful in the Gospel when we prioritize building up others through biblical grace and truth. Christian, always remember that Christ saved you to serve him by caring for one another.