Selfie-Centered Gospel

2017-08-08 12.41.46.pngYears ago, I asked a student minister to share his testimony with me. He was sitting across from me in local coffee shop. We were just getting to know each other. He told me how he read the right Bible in the right way. How he was baptized with right understanding, in the right mode. How he worshipped in the right church, with the right hierarchy, with the right acts of worship. I said, “That’s great. Could you say that again this time mentioning Jesus and his grace?” I am certain this is how many in my Christian tribe would tell their testimony today. Why? Because it was once how I told mine.

…all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. – Romans 3:24

Martin Luther believed that Romans 3:21-26 was “the chief point, and the very central place of the Epistle, and of the whole Bible.” I once thought that my salvation and the assurance of my salvation was in doing right and not being made right by Christ. My new friend in the coffee shop would not have considered Romans 3:21-26 to be the center of the Bible. But after comparing my friend’s testimony with this section of Paul’s Epistle, I find the latter a much better option. Maybe you agree? If not, why not?

It’s not all that important that you agree with Martin Luther, but that you agree with Paul. If you don’t agree that Romans 3:21-26 is the center of the Bible would you agree to the subject (Jesus) of this passage being the center? If you do how does your testimony, your security, your holiness, sanctification, spirituality, and transformation reflect this belief? Can grace stand alone in your testimony? Does Jesus stand alone and supreme in your gospel?

When you talk about the grace and justification that comes through Christ is it told through the filter of all the things you have done? I am guilty of doing this. I try to make Christ good by highlighting how I am good. Jesus is the right decision because I made the right decision. I can present a self-centered gospel instead of a Jesus centered gospel.

Jesus is good. Jesus is right. Jesus saves.

Is your gospel a picture of your goodness or a picture of Jesus? Do you stand in the way or does Jesus stand alone?

Are you willing to embrace a Jesus centered gospel? Step out of the way. Change the way you tell your testimony. In relation to how you talk about your salvation and how you live in faith, what is the center of your Bible? Do you need a new center? If you don’t choose Romans 3:21-26 what do you choose?

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Jovan preaches for the Littleton Church of Christ near Denver, Colorado. Visit here to listen to sermons preached at the Littleton Church. 

Posted by jovanbarrington



As a chaplain I have had many instances where people have told me they are Christian, they go to this church, they have always believed, but can’t point to a faith moment. Often times their story is one of self-effort. They might know Jesus, they might not. So, when we talk about whatever the issues is they have come to be about, Jesus is always the answer to the problem. I have them pray out loud, repenting of their sins, saying they will completely depend on Him and trust what He did is completely enough. Bascially, it is everything in a salvation type of prayer. So, God sorts it out. Were they saved already? Maybe, maybe not. One thing is for sure they are walking away now understanding depending on His grace to empower them to endure under trial or temptation.


Yes. Many people live a gospel of self-effort. Thanks for the work you do. Thanks for helping people understand and depend on God’s grace. And thanks for commenting!

It was not till I was older that I realized works were not part of justification. Jesus is my justification, there is nothing I can do about the sin problem. Thanks be to God who takes care of the sin problem 🙃


Isn’t this also a testimony of God’s grace? He gives us time to catch up with his unmerited favor. You once like myself thought is was all about your works and now we believe salvation and transformation to be all about his grace. Now we must live in grace and extend grace to others. Grace, all is grace! Thanks for commenting!