(originally published in our local newspaper on 1/25/12)

Last time we looked at the “big picture” implication of the gospel message. And it would be appropriate to clarify that yes, it is a message, but it is also more than that. It is a message that has cosmic implications because it deals with the spiritual and natural world, too. In other words, it’s a message about what Jesus has done that affects the space/time continuum. It’s about the Kingdom of God coming to bear on all of creation.

But this week I want to focus in on a couple of ways in which the gospel message affects our relationships. For many, the gospel is more easily understood in cosmic scope, but less understood in practical day-to-day ways. The reality is, each of us needs the gospel every day. We need it in every moment, opportunity and situation.

One of the core doctrines of the Christian faith is our “Union with Christ.” This is the Bible’s way of speaking of what Jesus has done for us. He has obeyed where we failed to obey, died a death we should have died, and was resurrected to defeat death thus adopting us into his family when our faith is placed in him. “In him” are the words the Apostle Paul often uses to describe our union with Jesus. His point: he has brought unity to our relationship so that when the Father looks at us, he sees Jesus. This gives us a new identity.

And this new identity gives us value, not because we are something special—we certainly are not!—but because Jesus gives us his inherent value and status before God having brought us near to the Holy One.

Here’s where it gets a bit more practical.

Most of us are insecure in our relationships. We tend to buy things we don’t need to impress people we don’t like with money we simply do not have. And we have this perpetual “need” to feel needed and valued by others. So we often, though disguised in the sin of pride, prop ourselves up because we care what others think of us. We say, “Look at me! Look what I did! Check out what I did on Facebook! Me, me, me and me!”

The gospel challenges this propensity. It says that our value is not found in what other people think of us. When our lives our driven by the gospel we don’t “need” anything but Jesus. What people think of us doesn’t matter because what God thinks of us has taken primacy in our lives.

Jesus has brought us near to our Maker. He’s done so by the blood of the cross. We are now called to put to death what is earthly in us and instead, “Put on…as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive” (Colossians 3:12-13). Seek to live a gospel-driven life that is secure in Christ Jesus.