Legalism is a rule-based lifestyle where the Christian believes he must hold to a generally recognized and accepted code of conduct as he represents Christ to the culture. He does not think these rules are a means to salvation, but a necessary component of his sanctification, post-salvation.
Grace-centered, in the context of this discussion, is a reaction to the legalistic culture. Grace is the means to salvation, but what I’m saying here is that it’s a religious, cultural mindset to describe a group of people who want to distinguish themselves as something other than legalistic.
The gospel is a synonym for Christ, so to be gospel-centered is to be Christlike. The gospel is better than the rules and grace. The gospel-centered person does not swing too deep into the weeds of legalism or stray outside biblical sobriety into excessive liberality. There is not a false worship of the regulations or too much freedom to live how they wish.
The gospel-centered person has a Spirit-illuminated awareness, giving the believer the ability to discern each situation and biblically adjust, step-by-step. This person is always reforming, never stuck in biblical infancy or stringent preferences. However, he’s not changing in reaction to what is behind him but transforming because he wants to be more like Christ.
Rick launched the Life Over Coffee global training network in 2008 to bring hope and help for you and others by creating resources that spark conversations for transformation. His primary responsibilities are resource creation and leadership development, which he does through speaking, writing, podcasting, and educating.
In 1990 he earned a BA in Theology and, in 1991, a BS in Education. In 1993, he received his ordination into Christian ministry, and in 2000 he graduated with an MA in Counseling from The Master’s University. In 2006 he was recognized as a Fellow of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC).