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The Big Story of The Gospel & Convictional Unity

The Call to Convictional Unity

In Philippians 2:2 Paul calls the church to both a convictional and affectional unity. The convictional unity he calls them to is described as being both “like-minded” (NIV) and “intent on one purpose” (CSB).

The church—a church like GBC—is called to be liked minded about the truths of the gospel and to be intent on the one purpose of advancing the gospel—making disciples of Jesus.

The question is, what are the truths of the gospel that we are to be like-minded about? It is the truths that comprise, what I call, The Big Story of The Gospel.

The Big Story of The Gospel

The Big Story of The Gospel is found in the 66 books that make up the Scriptures and it is about the Trinitarian God, the Holy Creator of the Universe, who created man (men & women) in His own image. The Big Story says that man sinfully rebelled against God, and now, because of their sin, their relationship with God is broken. It says that Jesus, the 2nd person of the Trinity—truly God and truly man, born of the virgin Mary—came to earth and lived a sinless life, was crucified for sins, was buried, and on the 3rd day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures. It says that by grace through faith in what Jesus accomplished, rebellious people’s sins are forgiven, they are declared righteous, and are reconciled to Holy God, now free to live as they ought—in ways pleasing to God. Finally, the Big Story of The Gospel declares that one day Jesus will return in victory, establishing his Forever Kingdom.

When the church is aligned in the essential truths of the gospel, both unity and differences can exist. When the gospel is kept above all, there really is a lot of room for differences on the “none essentials” or secondary truths.

3 Examples

There is room for us to have disagreement on the specifics of Jesus’ return, so long as we affirm the bodily and victorious return of Jesus Christ.

There is room for us to disagree about whether the miraculous gifts have ceased or not, as long as we affirm that further revelation from God is prohibited; the canon—the 66 books—is closed.

There is room for us to disagree on which specific view of Creationism is right (Literal 6-Days, “Young Earth” or Gap Theory and Day-Age, “Old Earth”), as long as we affirm that the Trinitarian God created everything, and we deny god-less Darwinian Evolution.

Convictional Unity is Possible

Listen, we are not going to agree on every detail, and Paul is not suggesting that we need to be best friends with everyone, but he is commending that, between brothers and sisters who are united in Jesus together, there should be and can be a convictional unity, anchored in the truths of the gospel, with one another in the body of Christ. God is faithful and there is grace to press into convictional unity together.

This was adapted from the sermon Unifying The Body Through Humility.