Don’t Forget the Second Part of the Gospel by CHRISTINE D. JOHNSON for Charisma News
Forgiveness washes our sins away, but that’s not all there is to living the Christian life. Prophetic teacher Sterling Sawyer of Liberty Tree Ministries says we’re just telling part of the story if we only teach forgiveness. Instead, he says, we must present a “whole cross” message.
“Being washed by Jesus is exactly where we should start,” Sawyer says. “It prepares you and me for the further work of the cross, where the Spirit starts the renewing of our minds and hearts. That’s where things get good! We cheat the people when we stop short of teaching them that they must pick up their cross. The Bible doesn’t stop at John 3:16, and neither should we.”
Sawyer, a recent guest on the Charisma Connection podcast, points to transformation as the second part in the whole cross message.
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“We’re pretty good at talking about forgiveness, but we’re not as good about talking about transformation, and transformation is really what people long for deep down inside,” he says. “We need and want forgiveness, but we also have a great need and a want to be transformed. And this is the second part, where the cross begins to do a transformative work.”
For instance, as one of Jesus’ disciples, Peter needed to change. He had to learn who God made him to be, and it was more than the life he knew as a fisherman. Sawyer says Peter had a false image of himself that had to die before his new life could come forward.
“We all think we know who we are and what is best for us, but we are not the Creator,” Sawyer says. “We did not design this person. God changed the names and directions of many people in the Bible: He took them from mediocre to magnificent. That’s what He is offering you. Peter had to give up his fishing business to become a ‘fisher of men.'”
Sawyer teaches that the believer has three functional roles, prophet, priest and king, and understanding and applying these roles can help the Christian walk out greater freedom in Christ. Download Sawyer’s “Prophet, Priest and King” paradigm chart here.
The priest is the one who makes the sacrifice that leads to life transformation.