A Place to Belong and Become
Everyone wants to change and grow, but we all too frequently miss the biblical context for growth—the church. In Gospel-Centered Counseling: How Christ Changes Lives, I address the truth that:
Our Growth in Grace Is a Community Journey
Do you want to grow in grace? The Bible teaches that it happens in the Body of Christ. Let’s see how and why…
Together with All the Saints
Ephesians 4 is perhaps the classic passage that weaves together gospel-centered ministry (Ephesians 4:1-10), biblical counseling (Ephesians 4:15-16), sanctification (Ephesians 4:17-32), and the local church (Ephesians 4:11-14). What’s fascinating about that chapter is the chapter that precedes it.
In Ephesians 3:1-13, Paul marvels over the gospel of Christ’s grace—calling it “the unsearchable riches of Christ” (Ephesians 3:8). Then Paul reminds us of God’s eternal intent—that His infinite, multifaceted wisdom and grace should be made known to the on-looking universe—through the church (Ephesians 3:10-11). That bears repeating: God has chosen to do His work—through the church.
How does the church witness to the world? First, by rejoicing in and living out the gospel indicatives of what Christ has done for us: “In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence” (Ephesians 3:12). This is the amazing “Welcome home!” that we celebrated in Christ.
Secondly, the church bears witness to the world about Christ’s great grace by grasping together with all the saints (Ephesians 3:18) the infinite power and love of God in Christ. Here’s how Paul prays it, and don’t neglect his phrase—power together with all the saints to grasp…
“I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through the Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power together with all the saints to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:16-19).
This is, in one prayer, gospel-centered ministry, biblical counseling, sanctification, and the local church. This is the gospel indicatives making a home in our heart as they produce gospel identify that leads (in Ephesians 4-6) to gospel imperatives.
And how does this happen? Never in isolation.
Always in community.
Always together with all the saints.
Together with all the saints we grasp the four-dimensional, infinite love of Christ—its width, length, height, and depth. “Grasp” is a fascinating word meaning both “to seize” and to “light upon, understand, and hold fast to intensely with surprise.” It’s the soul-shocking, life-rocking, mind-boggling “Aha!” experience of “getting it,” of experiencing Christ’s grace in our whole being—relationally, rationally, volitionally, and emotionally.
And it happens only together with all the saints.
Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 3 and his exclamation mark statement about grasping together with all the saints is the pivot point of Ephesians. It explains how everything that goes before and everything that comes after is made real.
Everything you’ve ever read in any book about gospel-centered ministry, biblical counseling, sanctification, and the local church is impossible to grasp and apply unless you do so together with all the saints.
That’s why, when we talk about biblical counseling and the local church, we are not talking simply about a church with a biblical counseling ministry. We are talking about a church of biblical counseling. That is, a church saturated with people who live and speak gospel truth to one another before church, at church, after church, away from church, in the car, at the restaurant, at work, in the neighborhood, at the sporting event, in the midst of conflict…
Join the Conversation
How would our churches be different if we applied the truth that we can only grow in grace together with all the saints?
How would our Christian lives be different if we applied the truth that we can only grasp the infinite love of God together with all the saints?
How would our daily lives be different if we applied the truth that our growth in grace is a community project?
RPM Ministries: Equipping You to Change Lives with Christ’s Changeless Truth