Because we have been focusing on Gospel conversations all this month, I have spent a lot of time truly contemplating what the Gospel is and what it means. When I was listening to an interview with John Piper, he used an analogy that really hit home to me:
Too many people see the Gospel as a vaccine when it is more like dialysis.
And before you say, “Yeah! Those other people need to get a better perspective.” Let’s dig a little deeper to make sure you’re not on the wrong side.
How do vaccines work?
You get a shot that keeps your body from getting sick. You get injected, and it hurts a little at first, so that you can go about your daily life and not have to worry about Diphtheria or Polio. You don’t see many people walking around the mall worrying about if they are going to catch Rubella…because they’ve been vaccinated.
Too often that is the Gospel in our lives. We get that “prick” that hurts a little (of course the younger you get it, the less you remember how much it hurts) and then we walk around not having to think about it…ever. We think that our dose of Jesus has us covered and we can live our lives however we want. Every once and a while we step on a “rusty nail” of major sin and get a “booster” shot of Jesus, but beyond that, we are just thinking that Jesus has made a way for us to live our lives however we want.
Now let’s look at Dialysis…
Anyone who is, or has a loved one on dialysis, knows that it is life-changing. Your body is unable to filter out the toxins in your system. These toxins are not from drugs or anything drastic like that. These toxins are present because you are alive! They are the normal result of a functioning human body. The process of dialysis removes the toxins from your system so that you can live. But unlike a vaccine, where you live your daily life unaware of any internal change, your life on dialysis is different.
Being on dialysis changes everything. Your diet. Your schedule. You can’t skip it and say, “I’ll get to it when I’m ready.” Your life revolves around this life-saving (and life-giving) procedure.
THAT is how the Gospel should be: the center of our lives.
Though there certainly is a moment when your salvation is sealed, we are in need of the cleansing work of the Gospel every day. Your life should change. Your life should revolve around The Gospel and the work of the Holy Spirit:
Your mind should be renewed daily (Romans 12), replacing the wisdom of this world with the wisdom of God’s Word.
You should daily “lay aside every sin which clings so closely” (Hebrews 12).
Daily dress yourself with the full armor of God (Ephesians 6).
“Pray continually” (1 Thessalonians 5). (No, this isn’t a suggestion or poetic language…)
If people took the process of being conformed into the image of the Son (Romans 8:29) as seriously as a person with kidney failure takes dialysis, the church would be a different place. And when the church starts to look different than the world, the Gospel will spread.
Until then, too many will continue to get their Gospel vaccine, then go about their lives not thinking about the shot they got decades ago…their lives looking no different than the world around them.
By: Pastor Trevor Collazo