A gospel-beautified church is defined by the mega-fact that the gospel is good news for bad people. That good news is preached and sung and memorized and meditated on and discussed and savored as the focus of that church’s endless fascination. In this new kind of social environment, Christ is lifted up, sins are confessed, shame is removed, dignity is restored, forgiveness is felt, the races are reconciled, sexual integrity is recovered, money is humbled, power serves, sacrifice is normal, joy is contagious, and so forth. That is how the gospel beautifies a church.
In that environment, people can admit their real problems. They are not pressured to grow at anyone else’s pace, because the sovereignty of the Holy Spirit is trusted. All that the leaders of such a church require is openness on people’s part. Aside from formal church discipline, which is the exclusive right of the elders and is exercised only when misbehavior jeopardizes the church environment for others, people are not penalized for being imperfect.
The focus really is on Christ, and on Christ alone.
This post was originally published on The Gospel Coalition