From start to finish, the whole Christian life is by grace through faith. A new life in Christ commences with faith, continues by faith, and will be completed through faith. To put this another way, the gospel is for Christians just as much as it is for non-Christians. We never advance beyond the good news of the cross and the empty tomb… Therefore, the Christian always looks back to the gospel and never to the law (i.e. performance) as the basis for his righteousness before God… There is no such thing as performance-based Christianity… Justification is a doctrine for the whole Christian life from start to finish. It is not simply a doctrine for coming to Christ in the first place… Justification is a doctrine to live by each and every moment.
Most churches view the doctrine of Justification as merely a doctrine to be preached and emphasized to the unbeliever (to tell the person that he/she becomes a Christian by faith alone) or new believer (to remind and assure the person that he/she was not saved by his/her own works but by faith in Christ’s works). Conventional Christian thinking and practice is that after one becomes a Christian for some time, he/she ought to move on to understand more important doctrines and teachings of the Bible. In a sense, to many, Justification is an important doctrine, but one that needn’t be emphasized to mature Christians. What ought to be emphasized to mature Christians are other doctrines – basically, every other doctrine in the Bible, especially those that talk about how we ought to live for God. The Bible, after all, is a huge book and there are so many more things taught in it than merely about Justification, so the common belief is.
I disagree with the conventional belief, of course. I think we totally miss the main point of the Bible when we think that Justification is only one doctrine, even if we do think it’s a very important doctrine. I think the whole Bible is about God reconciling us to Himself. That’s the story of the Bible. That’s what the gospel is all about. The whole Bible is all about the gospel of Jesus Christ. The Old Testament foretold it. And the New Testament is all about it, all about Jesus.
One thing I like about New Creation is that they understand this. They understand that the gospel of Jesus Christ is as much for mature Christians as for the non-Christian or new Christian. They understand that Christianity is all about Jesus Christ and what He has done for us. It gets kind of boring in New Creation if we want to hear other things. But if we understand how important the gospel of Jesus Christ is to God, the Bible and the Christian, then it’s anything but boring. It can such an exciting place to be if one wants to learn more and more about Jesus and the gospel.