Gospel and the Poor

The apostle Paul reminded the Corinthian Christians of their status when Christ called them to Himself.

Brothers, consider your calling: Not many are wise from a human perspective, not many powerful, not many of noble birth. Instead, God has chosen what is foolish in the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen what is weak in the world to shame the strong. God has chosen what is insignificant and despised in the world— what is viewed as nothing—to bring to nothing what is viewed as something, so that no one can boast in His presence. (1 Cor. 1:26–29)

Before a holy God, all of us were poor. No one was worthy, yet God in His great love pursued us. He did not pursue us as a coach pursues “A-level players” for a team or an executive recruits “tens” for his organization. He pursued us when we were spiritually ruined. We were poor and desolate of soul. In fact, the gospel is only for the poor—those who realize they are spiritually poor and absolutely bankrupt before God. 

We rejoice for those believers and churches impacting cities, serving the poor, and defending those accosted by injustice. Churches who view discipleship through the lens of the gospel understand that ministry to the underresourced and hurting flows from a commitment to the mission of God. The embrace of the gospel will cause us to embrace more deeply its ministry of reconciliation. Thus, we will not fall prey to the dangers of a bland “social gospel” that merely feeds the body. Rather, churches will embrace the gospel that cares for the soul in need of redemption and the city in need of restoration. Leaders who see through the gospel lens remind people how God rescued them in their spiritual poverty and connect the beauty of that reality to serving the underresourced.

Adapted from Transformational Discipleship (B&H Publishing Group, 2012)

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