Once a month, we share a short reflection from a Chinese pastor on the nature of the gospel. Though we often post longer articles, there is a richness to short and concise thoughts.
Wang Jianguo is the collective pseudonym for a group of Chinese house church pastors thinking and writing about issues related to the spread of Christianity in their nation. They are committed to preaching a grace-centered gospel, developing resources for the church, and loving China’s urban centers.
What kind of person experiences the deepest rest and edification from tasting the grace of the gospel? I must say it is those who have suffered the most in a culture of legalism.
As we deal with evangelical theology in China with regards to the renewal of grace, we are in a different cultural situation from the United States.
The older generation in China is different from the next generation. There are some who have come from legalism and suffered under the fleshly system of rules and laws, unable to find a peaceful conscience. When they experience the gospel, the redemption of Christ from death to life, they are led from gratitude into rest. It is there that they find their value and true freedom. For those who suffer under the law, the grace of the gospel gives greater freedom in the gospel.
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But I must say that in the past few decades, the legalistic outlook of Confucian thought has been lost in China. That is to say, the legalistic requirements to be better, to be more responsible, to be more self-sacrificial are all very weak, especially for the younger generation. For the younger generation, they have always been swaying, and they shirk with even the smallest amount of responsibility. For this generation, the responsibilities of the children of God in the gospel must be emphasized; since they are called by grace, their actions must be worthy of their calling. Because God has saved us, he wants us to live out the weight of the gospel in our lives. To use the words of C.S. Lewis, this is the “weight of glory.”
Thus, in the relationship between the gospel and the law, we need to further emphasize a gospel-centered understanding of the Ten Commandments, so that our social lives, our consciences, and our ethics may be redeveloped. This is so that renewal by the gospel is not merely for discovering our identity, but so that as the community of the gospel, we can witness for the Lord as a light to this generation.
What did this pastor mean when he said that a “gospel-centered understanding” of the Ten Commandments leads churches to witness for the Lord?
Translation provided by the China Partnership translation team.