Ray Ortlund has helped a generation of pastors see how our doctrine gives rise to culture. As he says, "Gospel doctrine creates a gospel culture." And from that gospel doctrine arises a culture engaged in gospel mission.
A few of Paul's letters, at their most sweeping level, follow this outline. Ephesians 1–3: Gospel Doctrine; Ephesians 4–5: Gospel Culture; Ephesians 6: Gospel Mission. Colossians 1–2: Gospel Doctrine; Colossians 3–4: Gospel Culture.
Paul's letter to the Romans reveals these three categories, showing us what a gospel-centered church believes, how a gospel-centered lives, and what a gospel-centered church does on mission.
Gospel Doctrine in Romans 1-11
What a gospel-centered church believes:
- Romans 1–2: Sin is real. God will judge sinners
- Romans 3: But there is hope in Jesus
- Romans 4: And it is credited by faith
- Romans 5: God proves his love in Christ's work
- Romans 6: And Christ makes us alive with him
- Romans 7 & 8: We are weak. God is not. He helps us.
- Romans 9 & 10: God is sovereign, so believe the gospel
- Romans 11: Doctrine leads to doxology. Praise Him!
Gospel Culture in Romans 12–15
How a gospel-centered church lives in Christ as our model and means:
- Romans 12: Loves, serves, and honors one another
- Romans 13: Lives different than the world
- Romans 14: Dies to self
- Romans 15: Welcomes one another
Gospel Mission in Romans 15–16
What a gospel-centered church does with the message of Christ:
- Romans 15: Keeps spreading the gospel
- Romans 16: Works together to preach Jesus
Romans is a masterclass in being a gospel-centered church. Gospel doctrine leads to a gospel culture that is on gospel mission.