Gospel Renewal: Matchless Grace

matchless grace

Marvelous grace of our loving Lord,
Grace that exceeds our sin and our guilt.

What is gospel renewal? It is good news grown afresh in the soil of the spirit. It is the work of Jesus hitting the heart. It is freedom by grace, and love apart from achievement. It is roots that stretch deep and hold tight through the fiercest storms.  Gospel renewal begins as a fresh and individual realization that God’s love and acceptance is yours in totality. Of course, although gospel renewal begins as personal transformation, by definition it does not stop there, but grows into communal revival for the church, the body and bride of Christ and the manifestation in our world of God’s eternal kingdom. Gospel renewal is entire communities of believers who, together, cling to Jesus.

As believers who are deeply invested in the growth of God’s people in China, this month China Partnership is praying for the gospel to be renewed in the hearts of Chinese Christians and in the vision and mission of Chinese house churches. As fallen humans, our hearts are always prone to wander from God. Although the gospel is initially received as good news, before long we slip back into patterns of seeking worth through achievement, of working so that we will be accepted.

A few years ago, a dear Chinese brother shared his family’s story with me. This friend comes from a long line of Christians, and in decades past his family suffered tremendously for their faith. His family lost their home, his father lost his chance for an education, his grandparents were exiled from and mocked by society, and they nearly starved to death. When this friend was a child, his father spent years in a labor camp because of Jesus. My friend and his family know what it means to count the cost in a way that is frankly unimaginable to me and most Christians in the States.

As we sat on my couch, my friend shared a story that his father told him many years ago. During a period of particularly poignant persecution, his father knew a Christian—“Brother Li”—who suffered greatly for Jesus. The authorities took Brother Li and beat him. They hit him repeatedly. They broke his arm. They then hung him up by the broken arm and beat him some more. They taunted him, mocked him, laughed at him, and most of all, asked him to deny Christ. Li would not. In the midst of pain, he told his tormentors he could not deny his Savior. Finally they gave up and let him go, unable to break him or force him to turn his back on Jesus.

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Brother Li was not the only one in the village who was beaten. Many, many other Christians also went through the fiery trial. Yet many, many others were not so resolute. In pain, they recanted.

Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that is greater than all our sin.

In later years, a taste of freedom returned, and believers began again to meet together and worship the risen Christ. Brother Li was at the church as soon as the doors opened. But so were others. People who had turned their back on Jesus in terror of their life returned to the community of believers. Brother Li, however, did not respond with joy as he saw wandering sheep return to the fold.

As someone who had suffered so resolutely for God, Li could not bear to see others with less strength admitted equally to the foot of the throne. He could not bear to think the torture he experienced gained him no merit. He could not admit he was on equal ground with other sinners, that his righteousness did not grant him an extra measure of grace.

My friend’s father told him this story to warn him against self-righteousness. Grace is free to all. Good deeds do not gain one favor in the eyes of heaven. Self-righteousness rots the soul just as breaking faith does.

God’s grace—marvelous and matchless—is the heart of gospel renewal. We are praying this month that Chinese Christians will be renewed by the gospel. We do not pray this because we are worried about them as they seek to stand firm amid the pressures and trials which God has deemed fit to permit. We pray for gospel renewal because, without it, there is no hope. Without the work of Jesus, no one can stand before God. The gospel is central to the work of China Partnership because grace, and grace alone, is the bedrock and necessity of Christian life for every believer, of every age, of every place. Without God’s overflowing grace, there is none who can stand: not comfortable Western Christians like me, and not heroes of the faith, like Brother Li.

Will you join me in praying this month that the gospel of grace will renew the bodies, spirits, and souls of our Chinese brothers and sisters?

Marvelous, infinite, matchless grace,
Freely bestowed on all who believe!

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Further Reading

Chengdu: Discipleship in Difficult Times
Read More
Moses in the Wilderness 2: A Reflection of Christ
Read More
Chengdu: Opportunities and Challenges
Read More


With rising pressure and persecution in China, there are two challenges imperative for church leaders. The first challenge is for current leaders to love Christ above all else, and not to stray into legalism or love of the world. The second challenge is to raise up the next generation of leaders, who will humbly model Jesus even if current leaders are arrested.


  1. Current leaders to grow in their daily walks with Christ
  2. Current leaders to shepherd and raise up new leaders
  3. New leaders who love Christ and will model him to the world
  4. New leaders to love and care for the church



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Shenyang is a city located in northeastern China and is the capital of Liaoning Province. It is known for its rich history and cultural heritage, including the Shenyang Imperial Palace, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Shenyang is also a hub for China’s heavy industry, with companies such as the China First Automobile Group and the Shenyang Aircraft Corporation having their headquarters in the city.


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About Qingdao

Qingdao is a city located in eastern China and is famous for its beaches, beer, and seafood. The city is home to several landmarks, including the Zhanqiao Pier and the Badaguan Scenic Area. Qingdao is also a major port and has a thriving economy, with industries such as electronics, petrochemicals, and machinery.


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About Xiamen

Xiamen is a city located in southeastern China and is a popular tourist destination known for its beautiful coastal scenery, including Gulangyu Island, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The city is also a hub for China’s high-tech industry, with companies such as Huawei and ZTE having research and development centers in Xiamen.


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About Chongqing

Chongqing is a city located in southwestern China and is a major economic center in the region. The city is known for its spicy cuisine, especially its hot pot dishes, and is also famous for the Three Gorges Dam, the world’s largest hydroelectric dam. Chongqing is also home to several historic sites, including the Dazu Rock Carvings, which are UNESCO World Heritage sites.


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About Nanjing

Nanjing is a city located in eastern China and is the capital of Jiangsu Province. It is one of China’s ancient capitals and has a rich cultural history, including the Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum, the Nanjing City Wall, and the Confucius Temple. Nanjing is also a modern city with a thriving economy and is home to several universities, including Nanjing University and Southeast University.


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About Changchun

Changchun is a city located in northeastern China and is the capital of Jilin Province. It is known for its rich cultural heritage and is home to several historical landmarks such as the Puppet Emperor’s Palace and the Jingyuetan National Forest Park. Changchun is also a hub for China’s automotive industry, with several major automobile manufacturers having their headquarters in the city.


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About Guangzhou

Guangzhou, also known as Canton, is a city located in southern China and is the capital of Guangdong Province. It is one of the country’s largest and most prosperous cities, serving as a major transportation and trading hub for the region. Guangzhou is renowned for its modern architecture, including the Canton Tower and the Guangzhou Opera House, as well as its Cantonese cuisine, which is famous for its variety and bold flavors. The city also has a rich history, with landmarks such as the Chen Clan Ancestral Hall, the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall, and the Temple of the Six Banyan Trees. Additionally, Guangzhou hosts the annual Canton Fair, the largest trade fair in China.


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About Kunming

Kunming is a city located in southwest China and is the capital of Yunnan Province. Known as the “City of Eternal Spring” for its mild climate, Kunming is a popular tourist destination due to its natural beauty and cultural diversity. The city is home to several scenic spots, including the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Stone Forest, Dian Lake, and the Western Hills. Kunming is also famous for its unique cuisine, which features a mix of Han, Yi, and Bai ethnic flavors. The city has a rich cultural history, with ancient temples and shrines like the Yuantong Temple and the Golden Temple, and it’s also a hub for Yunnan’s ethnic minority cultures, such as the Yi and Bai peoples.


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About Shenzhen

Shenzhen is a city located in southeastern China and is one of the country’s fastest-growing metropolises. The city is renowned for its thriving tech industry, with companies such as Huawei, Tencent, and DJI having their headquarters in Shenzhen. The city also has a vibrant cultural scene, with numerous museums, art galleries, and parks. Shenzhen is also known for its modern architecture, such as the Ping An Finance Center and the Shenzhen Bay Sports Center. Despite its modernization, Shenzhen also has a rich history and cultural heritage, with landmarks such as the Dapeng Fortress and the Chiwan Tin Hau Temple.


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About Chengdu

Chengdu is a city located in the southwestern region of China, and the capital of Sichuan province. It has a population of over 18 million people, and it is famous for its spicy Sichuan cuisine, laid-back lifestyle, and its cute and cuddly residents – the giant pandas. Chengdu is home to the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, where visitors can observe these adorable creatures in their natural habitat. The city also boasts a rich cultural heritage, with numerous temples, museums, and historical sites scattered throughout its boundaries. Chengdu is a city of contrasts, with ancient traditions coexisting alongside modern developments, making it an intriguing and fascinating destination for visitors to China. 


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About Beijing

Beijing is the capital city of China and one of the most populous cities in the world, with a population of over 21 million people. The city has a rich history that spans over 3,000 years, and it has served as the capital of various dynasties throughout China’s history. Beijing is home to some of the most iconic landmarks in China, including the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, and the Temple of Heaven. The city is also a hub for political, cultural, and educational activities, with numerous universities and research institutions located within its boundaries. Beijing is renowned for its traditional architecture, rich cuisine, and vibrant cultural scene, making it a must-visit destination for travelers to China.


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About Shanghai

Shanghai is a vibrant and dynamic city located on the eastern coast of China. It is the largest city in China and one of the most populous cities in the world, with a population of over 24 million people. Shanghai is a global financial hub and a major center for international trade, with a rich history and culture that spans over 1,000 years. The city is famous for its iconic skyline, which features towering skyscrapers such as the Oriental Pearl Tower and the Shanghai Tower. Shanghai is also home to a diverse culinary scene, world-class museums and art galleries, and numerous shopping districts. It is a city that is constantly evolving and reinventing itself, making it a fascinating destination for visitors from around the world.


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