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The Gospel: Breaking Sinful Patterns and Addictions

The Gospel, Breaking Sinful Patterns and Addictions pin

I’m a big believer in recovery from addiction. I’ve seen the power of recovery among friends and family. Yet, I’m also a Christian, and an evangelical one, passionate about the gospel. So, as we talk about recovery and higher powers, I’m convinced that the power of the gospel is what matters most when it comes to breaking sinful patterns and addictions.

Yet, many people in our culture claim to be Christians but have never heard a comprehensive gospel message. Therefore, discipleship—in general—and recovery ministry in our churches—more specifically—must begin by laying the foundation of what Jesus has accomplished on the cross for those who believe (gospel truths) and then bid people to live out the call to follow Christ (gospel imperatives).

The Gospel: Breaking Sinful Patterns and Addictions

As disciples, part of the sanctification process is examining our hearts before the Lord. This process of personal assessment involves confession and prayer about the fruit of our lives and its roots. We bring all this before the Lord so that He can uproot our sinful patterns and heal our hearts, freeing us to act faithfully for His kingdom.

Breaking sinful patterns

People both inside and outside of our churches need help breaking sinful patterns in their lives. Our culture offers various ways to cope with addictions and issues, but only the gospel offers real freedom and transformation.

As I see it, a gospel-centered recovery ministry must first engage with the traditional 12 Steps, which have saved millions of lives and pulled people out of all sorts of sinful patterns and addictions. However, evangelical Christians can take the 12 Steps and use them as a foundation upon which they may build a more gospel-centered means of recovery.

“For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery” (Gal 5:1)

The message of the gospel is both comfort and call. It presents the comforting truth that in Christ we have been forgiven and made righteous. We are now sons and daughters of God and accepted into His kingdom for eternity, not because of any worth or work of our own but because of the loving choice of the Father and the sacrifice of the Son.

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Ed Stetzer, Ph.D., is the Dean of Talbot School of Theology at Biola Univeristy and Scholar in Residence & Teaching Pastor at Mariners Church. He has planted, revitalized, and pastored churches; trained pastors and church planters on six continents; earned two master’s degrees and two doctorates; and has written hundreds of articles and a dozen books. He is Regional Director for Lausanne North America, is the Editor-in-Chief of Outreach Magazine, and regularly writes for news outlets such as USA Today and CNN. Dr. Stetzer is the host of "The Stetzer ChurchLeaders Podcast," and his national radio show, "Ed Stetzer Live," airs Saturdays on Moody Radio and affiliates.