Catalyzed by the Gospel

Bill Hybels, the founding pastor of the now famous Willow Creek Community Church, says,

“When I was saved at 17, I had a dramatic conversion: I went from a perfomance-based theology to a grace-based theology. In a moment of time, I understood I was loved so much that Christ went to the cross so salvation could be made available to me as a gift. The enormity of that shock has never left me. I have been permanently ignited by the miracle of grace. I still can’t get over grace. I don’t witness to my friends because I feel any obligation to witness. I can’t get over grace. I am catalyzed by the gospel message.”

That is a great testimony. But isn’t it one to which every Christian can testify: “I went from a performance-based theology to a grace-based theology.” What I find most challenging is that while I profess a wonderful, grace-based theology, I still get stuck in a performance-based life.I have such a hard time shaking off the legalism from my heart.  And so the call of the gospel to me in this condition is to believe again… to believe that Jesus performed in my place. The gospel tells me that through faith in his work, I am counted righteous. Such a simple message to understand intellectually… but so hard to live practically. This is because, as David Benner says, “Grace is alien to human psychology.” So I pray that human psychology would be overrulled in my head and heart by the Holy Spirit so that I, like Bill Hybels, increasingly will live a life that is “catalyzed by the gospel.”

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