I’m starting a short series on how A Household Gospel might apply in areas unexplored in my book. The most asked question I get is, “What about singles?” To be up front, A Household Gospel was written with families in view. That’s my context. The tension, growth, and faith of my family grew in the crucible of life as a family. But the basic principles can be applied to everyone and anyone. The application is as deep and wide as the gospel.
I will briefly explore three foundational ideas in the book and make application for singles along the way. The first foundational idea is we must know the gospel. That sounds easy enough, but the gospel is often misconstrued. And when it’s understood, it may only slowly sink into the depths of our bellies. Singles, make it your life’s mission to understand the gospel and to know Jesus more. Let it sink in your belly and let it transform you. Make no end of studying the gospel. Make no endy of studying the person and work of Jesus Christ.
In this regard, let me give you a few quotation I use in the book to summarize the gospel:
N. T. Wright, “The gospel is the royal announcement that the crucified and risen Jesus, who died for our sins and rose again according to the Scriptures, has been enthroned as the true Lord of the world. When this gospel is preached, God calls people to salvation, out of sheer grace, leading them to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ as the risen Lord.”
John Piper, “The heart of the gospel is the good news that Christ died for our sins and was raised from the dead. What makes this good news is that Christ’s death accomplished a perfect righteousness before God and suffered a perfect condemnation from God, both of which are counted as ours through faith alone, so that we have eternal life with God in the new heavens and the new earth.”
J. I. Packer, “It was the news about Jesus of Nazareth. It was the incarnation, the atonement and the kingdom—the cradle, the cross, and the crown—of the Son of God . . . in short, the good news was just this: that God has executed his eternal intention of glorifying his Son by exalting him as a great Savior for great sinners.”
Also, check out the gospel page above.
I also argue that there’s no tension between the royal announcement and fulfillment of Israel’s story motiff’s found in the gospel and justification by faith. The connection between the two is found in the concept of peace. Justification is described as receiving peace with God. The royal announcement of King Jesus is not less an offer of peace which provides justification by faith. There’s more to it, but that gives you an idea for my line of reasoning.
The second foundational idea is that we all must first daily gospel ourselves. You can read a slimmed down version of that chapter at Gospel-Centered Discipleship where the seminal idea first sprouted.
The third foundational idea, once all that’s above is taken into account, is we must get the gospel into the fabric of our every day life. In the book, I concentrate on doing that within a family, but you can (no, you must) do this as a single as well. I take a close look at Deuteronomy 6 and Moses’ command to discuss the redemption the Lord executed for Israel in all areas of their life. In the New Testament, the Lord has executed a New Exodus redemption and we’re still commanded to rehearse this in all areas of life.
First, you must find a church that rehearses the gospel weekly in its gathering and during the week in community. In a recent Q&A session on Twitter, Tim Keller had this to say about the millennial generation (where I’d guess most of the singles reading fall).
@JeffersonBethke You are the generation most afraid of real community because it inevitably limits freedom and choice. Get over your fear.
— Timothy Keller (@timkellernyc) July 29, 2013
Get involved in real community and learn to apply the gospel in the nitty gritty parts of life--in community with people. In community is where the hurts, pain, and suffering happen and where it’s healed.
Second, you must learn to create a gospel liturgy in your daily life. That’s Moses’ point in Deut 6. I recommend doing this in a variety of way:
- Learn to make the gospel story relevant for your life. It’s not dead. For instance, treating people with respect means understanding they are created in God’s image.
- Feast regularly in Scripture. Book studies, whole Bible, memorization.
- Get in a rhythm of repentance, forgiveness, praise, lament, etc.
- Value sharing meals with other people--believers and not.
- Learn to love singing (or for some of us listening) to gospel rich music.
- Don’t be afraid to ask difficult questions and have difficult conversations.
- Love the gospel more than you love rules.
For singles, I would also add leverage your time and creativity. Invest time in something bigger than you. Maybe a charity, a family, a project, missions--something. Also, God has gifted in you some way whether that’s art, music, graphic design, love of travel. Whatever your gift is leverage it for the gospel. All of these points center around creating a way of life where the gospel gets into the fabric of everything we do--“whether you eat or drink or whatever you do” kinda gospel.
You start with the church. You find a smaller group of believers you can do this with. You have a small, intimate group of friends you can do this with. You involve unbelievers where you can (sharing meals, talking about difficult topics). A household gospel is an every square inch kind of gospel.