The Gospel not only saves us, it changes us
Addiction has become so unmanageable that even the secular world sees it as an undesirable behavior. The seemingly uncontrollable nature of the problem has led psychologists and church leaders alike to ascribe the behavior to a medical or mental disease. But is this true? Can the local church affect change? Is the gospel enough to help an addict?
The gospel not only has the power to save those who are trapped in addiction, it also changes their hearts and desires - which ultimately leads to a sober life. The purpose of Hope for Addiction is to equip the church to confidently enter in and walk with struggling addicts with the goal of bringing them into the church community. If your church is looking for a completely scripture based, non-formulaic approach to addictions ministry, look no further!
What is Gospel Centrality?
Gospel-Centrality is the belief that the good news of Jesus Christ is not just the means to become saved, but must remain central in all areas of the Christian life. If the gospel is not central to our life - if our thoughts are not centered around the gospel, they become rooted in our own will power. Our actions will proceed from what is at the center of our hearts. Our affections must be centered on Christ and the gospel - When we use the term gospel centered, we are referring to the gospel as the good news that through Christ, God doesn’t only save sinners, He also changes them (sanctification). Belief in the gospel saves sinners and must remain central to the life of believers so they continuously grow and mature in their faith. When the gospel remains central in the life of Christians, it results in increasing understanding of the “truths of the gospel,” leading to “gospel shaped thinking” that then leads to “conduct that is in line with the gospel.”
Hope for Addiction helps the local church make biblical, gospel truth practical and relevant to the struggling addict. No matter where you find yourself in your care for addicts, Hope for Addiction has resources for you!
The power of Christ has given us everything we need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3).
In Christ we have a new identity, we are no longer identified by our addiction or our sin (2 Corinthians 5:17).
Our life is about growing in our knowledge of God, not about pursuing sobriety. Sobriety will be an outcome of obedience to Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit at work within us (Colossians 1:9-10, Galatians 5:16).
We believe the Bible is God's authoritative, inerrant, infallible Word and necessary for guidance in all of life, not just sobriety. Scripture is fully trustworthy as our final and sufficient authority for all of life (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
We believe in one God, eternally existing in three equally divine Persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (Deuteronomy 6:4, Matthew 28:19, John 1:1-4, Colossians 2:9).
We live in Christian community so we may be built up, encouraged in our faith and grow in our knowledge of God (Colossians 2:7, Hebrews 10:24-25, Galatians 6:1).
All Christians, even recovering addicts, need to be meaningfully involved in a local church (Ephesians 4).
The good news of the gospel is, not only can we be saved by Christ, but that we are being renewed into the image of Christ, making the gospel central for all of life (Romans 8:29, 2 Corinthians 3:18).
We believe that God created human beings, male and female, in his own image. Men and women are made equally in God's image and both have equal access to God by faith in Christ Jesus. God ordains distinct roles that reflect the loving relationship between Christ and the church (Genesis 1:26–27, Genesis 5:2, Mark 10:6).
defining addiction biblically gives hope for change
Our culture has heavily influenced the way addiction is viewed, defining it both as an identity and a disease. If this is true, there is no hope for change or freedom. When the church acquiesces in these viewpoints and embraces the language of the culture, scripture becomes irrelevant to the addict and he remains trapped in addiction.
The answer to the world’s definition of addiction as a disease or illness is "recovery." Recovery is defined as, "return to a normal state of health, mind or strength." For a struggling addict, a return to "normal" is not always appealing as "normal" means facing all the pain and suffering that led to addiction. The real problem is sin - idol worship and seeking comfort in something other than Christ; which is true of all of us.
An addict suffers from the effects from sin and desires to find refuge in a substance rather than finding refuge in the Lord. Due to the cravings that occur when someone is physically dependent on a substance (and the change in brain chemistry when someone uses drugs), it seems as though he truly “needs” the substance to survive. We all need a refuge, and our refuge is found in Christ (Psalm 9:9).
Conversely, when addiction is viewed through the lens of scripture, there is hope for change. When we biblically identify words we can confidently connect Scripture to common problems and bring hope for real change. That is why we are committed to equipping churches with biblical training and tools to effectively and confidently engage addiction culture.
The good news of the gospel answers the problem of sin and brings hope in the midst of suffering. Christ's finished work at the cross and his resurrection gives hope for sin and gives freedom, not just sobriety (1 Corinthians 6:11).
The transition from finding refuge in drugs or alcohol to finding this in the Lord is not easy. It takes the work of the Holy Spirit, a willingness to die to self, and humility to ask for help. The answer is easy; the process is not.
As a believer in Christ, an addict is given a new nature and he is no longer defined by the struggle with sin. Freedom is possible. The power of the Holy Spirit at work means that an addict can say no to sin and live to glorify God (Romans 6).
The good news of the gospel brings hope to the addict: for sin, for suffering, for identity, for pain, for refuge, and so much more. Recovery doesn't come close to delivering what Jesus does.
What pastors Say
Rich Richardson, Pastor | Center Church Gilbert
We’ve seen people get saved and baptized, and people trapped in addiction, now free to follow Christ. As a busy pastor, Hope for Addiction makes it easy for me to be equipped and to equip people in our church. I highly recommend Hope for Addiction.