Essentials of Christianity

Essentials of Christianity: The Big 5, Part Two

Dr. Craig von BuseckBy Dr. Craig von BuseckDecember 29, 20228 Minutes


Craig von Buseck: Number 4 is Righteousness by Faith Alone. How does that connect to ‘Salvation is by Grace Alone’.

Dr. Daniel Gilbert: The Apostle Paul goes on in verse 8 and 9 saying you’re saved by grace, not by works. This is what is so important for people to understand. We try to do everything to please God, and we should do what we can to please Him. But we can’t please God until we come to know Him through Jesus Christ and that’s by grace through faith. And so grace is the doorway. Faith is the way to walk through grace into that relationship with Jesus Christ. And once we come to know Christ through grace and faith, then we become a new creation in Christ and we can do things that actually please Him because we’re doing it through His grace by the Holy Spirit.

God shows His love and His salvation plan through the people of Israel in the Old Testament, but the people continue to rebel and thought their salvation came by works. They thought they could follow the law and please God, but they couldn’t. As a matter of fact, James, in the New Testament says, if you break one law, you’ve broken all of them.

CVB: That’s right.

Dr. Gilbert: And so God knew that He had to show us a better way. And that’s where grace comes in.

CVB: Amen. So number five: For the Glory of God Alone. Tell me about this concept.

Dr. Gilbert: Every human being was created to glorify God. In the Westminster Shorter Catechism, a confession of faith, the first question asked to the new believer is, “What is the primary purpose of man?” And the answer is, “To glorify God and enjoy Him forever.” Now, I love that. We were created to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. Scripture says that all the glory should go to God. Paul writes to the Corinthians declaring, “everything you do, do it for the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31). He also writes to the Colossians, “whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord, Jesus Christ” (Colossians 3:17). In other words, do it for the glory of God.

Every human being is so creative. We are created to be creative. When we create or design things, when we build things, or write a book, it gives God pleasure, especially if it’s for His glory.

CVB: Yes.

Dr. Gilbert: Because we are created in his image, one of the things that sets us apart from all other living beings is the creativity that God gives each human being. But because of our sinful state, we have turned around and we create things for ourselves. We do things for ourselves, but we were originally created to glorify God in everything we do and to enjoy a relationship with him. And so the fifth point is to glorify God in all that we say and do.

When we do that, our whole perspective changes. We think before we speak. We think before we act or react. We allow the Holy Spirit to begin to produce in us the fruit of the Spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. People see a difference in us and God begins to get the glory because we begin to act out of love. We begin to act out of compassion. We begin to act out of concern, and care, and kindness for others.

When we do that, people see Jesus in us and begin to praise God. And we then turn around and say, “No, it’s Jesus. It’s all about Jesus. It’s all about God. I give all the glory to God for all that He’s done in my life, because I’m saved by grace. It’s God’s mercy. I’ve acted in faith because He gave me that gift of faith. And for that alone, I’m going to glorify Him with my life.”

CVB: Amen. Now in the book you say you’re calling for a new reformation based on the big five. Tell me, how does that look?

Dr. Gilbert: First foremost, it’s a new reformation of the individual Christian. We strengthen our faith in both and the Word of God and in Jesus Christ, knowing that He saves us and we don’t do it ourselves. We partner with Him in faith to do the work of the Kingdom of God. Then we have that personal reformation. Some would say it’s a personal renewal or a personal revival. We fall in love with Jesus. We fall in love with the Word of God. We fall in love with the things of God and with the Holy Spirit, and that reforms us to live for Him. Our worldview begins to change. We begin to change our opinion about politics, our opinion about culture, our opinion about other aspects of work and ethics, and line them up to the Word of God and that reforms us.

Then it begins to reform the Body of Christ, the Church. When multiple Christians are grabbing hold of the big five and allowing the Holy Spirit to solidify these foundations in our hearts and minds, then we begin to function as the Body of Christ the way God wants us to. Then we’re founded on sound doctrine, on the Word of God, on Jesus Christ alone. Then in everything we do we begin to give glory to God. People see Jesus in us. We start leading people to Jesus. We start doing things differently because our life is founded on the big five.

That’s personal reformation. It changes to a church reformation, which then reforms the culture. And boy do we need a great awakening. But it starts with Christians going back to the foundations of the Christian faith. These are not the only essentials, but they are five key foundations of the Christian faith.

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