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Today’s Guest: John Fonville of Gospel Driven – Parts 1 & 2

Posted by truthtalklive on May 29, 2007

Part 1 – 5/29/07 Part 2 – 5/30/07 

Visit John’s site: Gospel Driven Blog!

What is a ‘Gospel Driven’ life?

Are you living a ‘law-driven’ or a ‘Gospel-driven’ life?


31 Responses to “Today’s Guest: John Fonville of Gospel Driven – Parts 1 & 2”

  1. Omar Reed said

    I totally agree what is being spoken on today show. Most Pastor who preach a “self help” gospel with a few scripture, does not know what the gospel is. The gospel is a gospel of death to self so we can live for Christ alone. By grace through faith we are saved from sin and from wrath.

  2. Anonymous said

    I really appreciate this discussion but what can I do about a habitual sin with which I struggle?

  3. Chris said

    I wish I had a name to go with your anonymous, but I can speak to you on the comment of habitual sin. For the longest time I have had an addiction to pornography. While I knew I had Jesus Christ in my heart, I would continue in this sin and at times I even questioned my salvation. From the time I was 19 until 35 I continued this sin. I would be in and out of fellowship with God. But I was at a men’s breakfast and the Holy Spirit moved me to drag my sin into the open and admit it before another brother and seek prayer. When I did this, for the first time in my life I finally had the weight of that sin lifted off my heart. I finally knew that I had obeyed the Lord and he would provide the strength to beat my sin. This experience opened the doors to other brothers that are experiencing the same sin issues as myself. Through them I found support. But it doesn’t mean the temptation doesn’t linger, because the devil wants me to fall. Now though I am tuned into the Spirit in this area. When he tells me to flee or to battle I heed the call. I truly hope and pray that you find the answer to your issue.

  4. wotrwokr said

    what a blessing stu!
    i am so encouraged to hear jon on again today!
    THIS is an answer to prayer for me. as a pastor myself… with a predominantly young crowd… it’s really easy to fall into “performance” expectations in our congregation. i TOTALLY agree with this view of the christian journey.

    just consider the “older” brother in the parable of 2 brothers. those having a hardest time with the simplicity of the GOOD NEWS (Gospel).

    WAY TO GO JON!!!!
    (way to go stu!!!))

  5. wotrwokr said

    (part 2)

    PLEASE remind us the website you mentioned yesterday (

  6. stu said

    A reminder to continue to pray for Kristin’s dying father.(last caller from yesterday)

    Also, what about the warning passages in hebrews chapters —3 / 6/ and 10

    Do these warning passages teach you can lose your salvation and are under condemnation?

    I believe with our guest that they are ‘law-driven’ and aimed at unbelievers?

    anyone disagree?

  7. wotrwokr said

    (part 2)

    hey again… could you PLEASE go over those other authors and any other websites that we could look into for more depth?

    (THIS PERSPECTIVE OF GRACE (AND IT’S APPLICATION) IS DEAD-ON JON… THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR COURAGE TO SHARE THIS TO A CHRISTIAN BODY THAT DESPERATELY NEEDS THIS. YOU ROCK DUDE! know that there is at least one other brother (here in winston salem) who is going to share this with ALL he gets a chance to serve. THIS IS LIFE-CHANGING!!!! i’ve believed this for over 8 years or so… i just never heard it so perfectly combined and shared)

    (Jesus really DID bring GOOD NEWS!!!)


  8. Anonymous said

    Is there any place where I can find the broadcast for the Gospel Driven Life episodes? I’d like to have them on CD if it’s possible

  9. Charity said

    I called yesterday and wish to post a prair request for my husband. I understand that God has elected us before the beginning of the world and that it is ultimately up to Him but I also know that if my husband will walk the Christian life than God can change the means.

    Thank you so much for your support.

    In Christ Jesus,

  10. Charity said

    Sorry, prayer…

  11. anonymous said

    Love, the topic!! What is at issue here is the idea of sanctification. So many folks think of the day when they were saved like that is the end of the road. They went down the aisle came to Christ, “punched their ticket” so to speak and that’s it. In reality we are called to be holy. God’s grace saves us in justification, but it also changes us as we are sanctified. Sadly, many great Christian leaders of the past would roll over in their graves to see Christians proudly say that “they aren’t perfect just forgiven.” Piety, holiness, sanctity are not bad words after all.

  12. Chris Lobdell said

    Interesting Topic. If any Christian is suffering from a bad habit they can’t control I strongly urge them to read John Robin Murphy’s excellent book “Be Transformed, New Life Awaits!”. John was an atheist, became a Christian but after the euphoria of being Born Again wore off, he felt miserable, still watched violence/sex on TV and was overweight. This book tells you how with the help of God you can conquer any bad habit from drugs, watching the wrong kid of TV., etc. It’s not an easy fix, it takes work and prayer. Murphy works with drug addicts and it was successful with them as well. This book also has some great prayers in it as well.

  13. My heart was deeply blessed by the discussion today. Thank you Mr. Fonville for pointing every listener to Christ! Your answer was theologically accurate and and spoken with grace from the heart. There is such a liberating freedom in reckoning upon Christ’s merits instead of always gauging our acceptance by our performance of the Christian life. Our thoughts must be turned away from ourselves and upward to the mighty Redeemer who has bought us with precious blood and is conforming us more and more each day to be like Himself. May God grant you an open door of utterance to speak this message far and wide.

    For Christ and His Glory,
    Paul Munger

  14. Rob James said

    I totally agree with this perspective on the lives that the apostles lived! All through the epistles you can see that the writers lived the Gospel driven life! It was Christ’s finished work on the cross that motivated them to do the things that they did. This Gospel that they preached consumed them! It drew them closer the the Savior that gave His life for them so that they could be everything that God wanted them to be. The Gospel compelled them to tell whoever they met about Jesus Christ and God’s love for them and His willingness to forgive their sins and give them new life if they would only repent.

    The law is important because the law helps us realize we need a Savior and brings us to God but the Gospel keeps us there. The Gospel makes it possible for us to approach the throne of Grace boldly whereas before the high priest wore bells and entered timidly fearing his uncleanness would cause his death as he passed through the veil. It is through the life changing power of the Gospel that we are made free. Romans 8:31-39 speaks of all we have through Christ. If God didn’t spare His own Son but freely gave Him up for us all Then why wouldn’t God be willing to give us all things? All we have we have through Christ and all we will do for God will be done though Christ!

    The requirements of the Law bring us to despair as we realize what we are and just how far away we fell from His presence when man sinned. But the Gospel cries out to the sinner, “Come unto me all ye who are weary and are heavy laden and I will give you rest!” Praise God for the Gospel! Praise God for the finished work of Christ which has the power to purchase the freedom of every single human being held captive by sin! “What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31)

    Thank you so much for this encouraging topic! I want to live my life every day in light of the blessings God will give me because I have been redeemed through the power of the death, burial and resurrection of Christ!

  15. Rob James said

    I will continue to pray for Ed who called in seeking answers about Christ.

    Ed, if you ever read this know that God loves you very much and despirately wants to save you from your sin. All you have to do is tell God you know you are a sinner and ask God to forgive you of your sins. God promises that He will save you and God always keeps His promises! 🙂 John and Stu both shared the truth of the Gospel with you today and I know that God is the one that worked things around so you could hear the show and call it to ask the question that you asked. Please don’t hesitate to call this ministry and talk to them about Christ! I will pray that you will find the answers that you are seeking for. God will make it possible for you to find the answers if you keep searching. I know that one day you will find the truth and be saved! I can’t wait to call you my brother in Christ!

  16. Chris said

    My pastor has often said, “Salvation isn’t just fire insurance from hell.” Far too often we, and I include my self in this, live a gospel life on Sunday morning and then we are out at a movie watching someone using our Lord’s name in a blasphemous way. 1 Timothy 1:15 (This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.) is a great reminder of how we need to constantly continue to abide in the gospel and God’s grace. If an author of the bible considers himself to be the chief of sinners then what does that make me? The President of sinners. This was a great topic Stu and I was really encouraged, as well as having the opportunity to examine my own life.

  17. Mike Sears said

    Thanks for sharing those wonderful truths about the Gospel!! Theologically, you are dead on! As you were sharing these truths, I was reminded of a couple of illustrations I have heard over the years.

    Most people beleive that Christianity is “Performance based acceptance”. Meaning that we are accepted by how well we perform our Christian duties, but the true Gospel is “Acceptance based performance”. We are so blown away by the magnitude of Christ’s sacrificial love for us, that we are compelled to obey as a “love response”. I heard someone say once, “Christianity in a nutshell, is simply a love response to the love received”.

    The second illustration is this; Picture God’s grace, His mercy, His purposes, His will, as surging river. Most people believe that their duty as a Christian is to take their buckets to the river and fill them up and carry them from place to place, circumstance to circumstance, doing their “Christian Duty”, obeying God, sharing the Gospel, attempting to love others, as they carry their buckets along. But they’ve got it all wrong! True Christianity is realizing that our “duties” (alone) are filthy rags, and out of a love response, we find our selves “in the river”, being moved along by the rushing river of God’s Mercy, His Grace, His Purposes and will for our lives!! We may never cease to climb out and keep trying to carry our buckets but I am confident that God will push us back in (or we will fall in) when we need to let go of our efforts and cling to Him as Jacob did and submitting to Him as the driving force in our lives.

    John, please remind me of the quote you shared on yesterday’s show. It said something like; Our disobedience or sin is never more than what the Gospel can cover and our works are never good enough to negate our need for the Gospel. Thanks again John!! And thanks Stu, for having him on!

  18. Kevin B said

    I agree whole heartedly with you that ALL scripture is inspired of GOD and beneficial to believers (and unbelievers alike). I believe that for us to think that we somehow have outgrown certain parts of scripture or take the ‘that doesn’t apply to me anymore’ mentality is dangerous to us and others.

    I too struggle with habitual sin. In my case it is smoking, but I’m not going to limit it to that…(I am not aware of any other problems, but who am I to say) smoking is just in the forefront of my battle at this time. I understand from the Gospels and other scriptures that I was dead in my sins and that the sacrifice of Jesus Christ paid for my (our) release from death due to these sins. When I accepted Jesus’s sacrifice and the Holy spirit was given to me, I thought that it would be like a magic wand waved over me and suddenly not only would my sins be gone, but that I could no longer sin. Some sinful problems I had did go away pretty quickly (in my case the pornography was easy to let go of), but some still haunt me. I believe that by God’s discretion He does not hold my sins against me, but to think that suddenly I was no longer able to commit sin was wrong and that I could not use this forgiveness as an excuse to carry on as usual. I can’t tell you had badly I beat myself up every time I tried to quit and failed. The Gospels and the whole Bible for that matter does teach us ‘and they lived happily ever after’. But God’s Word is not a fairy tale story…there is a different meaning to that phrase in our lives. As hard as I try to quit smoking, after all the prayers and begging Him to make it go away, I am realizing that I have a fault in my makeup that manifests itself in my addiction. I am also realizing that feeling ashamed and guilty isn’t going to solve the problem either. I beleive that I have a process I have to go through (not a quick and painless fix) and through it I will gain much knowledge about myself and this sin. And I believe that if I am willing to work through this process as I allow God to direct and not ‘try’ to do it on my own, but be willing to face it head on and not feel beaten by it, then He will allow me to help others with similar problems. I choose to lean on Him and have faith that he will deliver me from myself. I pray the same for others who struggle with their flesh. I also believe that He loves me even when I smoke, he just wants better for me.

    May God bless and comfort us all in these difficult times.

  19. Mike Sears said

    Sanctification is a process and it looks as though the Holy Spirit has been busy at that in your heart and mind. Keep desiring Him and clinging to Him. I know He will give you the power to stand against the temptations. Try this; Everytime you get the urge to smoke, think of it it as “sharing in the suffering” of Christ. Of course your suffering (resisting the temptation) is but a drop in the bucket compared to the agony of enduring the punsihment for the sins of the whole world that Christ experienced, but that might just give you the perspective you need to take the stand. I have used this same thought process when fasting. Everytime I get a hunger pain, it is a reminder of the suffering of Christ for me, then I stop and pray, thanking Him for His Mercy and Grace. It is a great growing process that also helps remind us to pray often.

    Heavenly Father, You have promised that You will not allow us to be tempted any more than we can endure. Lord please deliver Kevin from this temptation finally and permanently, in the precious name of Christ we pray. AMEN!!

  20. Mark said

    It is encouraging to hear the real gospel going forth. Few people today are willing to call sin what it is and to bring to light that there is an eternal punishment to thoes who do not receive Jesus as there lord and savior. We can not work our way to heaven. It is imposslble. The law was there to show us the truth. We are all sinners and have falen short of the glory of God.

    To Ed if you are reading these comments: The wonderful thing about Christianity is that we only have to receive the free gift of God. The price has already been paid.

    God Bless

  21. Kevin B said

    Thank you for blessing me (and others with lingering problems and sin) with your words of encouragement and compassion and prayer. I hope the Anonymous poster is reading this too and can take heart.

    Thank you Stu and John for these wonderful 2 days of comments and getting this message out. And for drawing me out of my Anonymity (man..I hope I spelled that right 🙂 )


  22. Hi Kevin. I don’t know if you are the anonymous above who stated that he/she struggles with habitual sin. But, since you state that you do as well, I will direct my comments in general about this issue.

    Before I address the issue of ongoing sin, let me also state that many of the questions that were asked on the show this past Tuesday and Wednesday are answered in more detail at my site: http://www.gospeldriven.wordpress.com I have started a Q&A feature on my site, so I will continue to post more articles and answers to questions in the coming weeks and months. So, any questions that you (or anyone who listened to the show this past week might have) just submit them and as I have time, I will try and provide an answer (and if I can’t, I will get someone who can).

    Now, to the question of habitual sin. When I was wrapped up in Neonomian Lordship doctrine, the subject of habitual sin was an enigma to me as well as a source of constant grief. Neonomianism literally means “new law.” Neonomian advocates make the mistake of equating faith with obedience and repentance. To be sure, obedience and repentance accompany saving faith but they are the fruits of saving faith. Obedience and repentance have no place in justification. Obedience and repentance are the logical necessity of saving faith but not the conditional necessity.

    Neonomian Lordship advocates remodel the Gospel by teaching that the Gospel is a new law and that believers fulfill its requirements by faith and repentance. This legal scheme of salvation changes the free offer of the Gospel into self-salvation by human works (e.g., men are not saved by faith alone in Christ alone, rather men are saved by their obedience to Christ by producing faith and repentance in themselves). The Reformers (e.g., John Calvin and Martin Luther) argued against such a legal scheme of salvation. This controversy was in full steam in the 17th century known as the 17th Century Neonomian Controversy. It resurfaced again in the 18th Century and was known as the Marrow Controversy.

    This brief background is important in helping to provide a broader context for understanding how to deal with habitual sin. While captive to a Neonomian view of salvation, I never understood books like 1 John because I read 1 John through the lens of the law rather than the Gospel. When I was wrapped up in Neonomian Lordship salvation doctrine passages such as 1 John 2:3-6 and John 3:36 were frequently emphasized. Based on passages like this, I was taught things, “If disobedience and rebellion continue unabated there is reason to doubt the reality of a person’s faith.” Or, “disobedience is unbelief.” These statements are true if the Gospel is a conditional faith. But, the Gospel is not conditional. There are no conditions in the Gospel! One must guard against confusing and conflating law and Gospel.

    It simply is not true to tell a professing Christian, “If disobedience and rebellion continues unabated you should have reason to doubt your faith,” or “disobedience is unbelief.” Rather, one should say, “If one doesn’t fight and struggle and battle against disobedience and rebellion, then there is reason to doubt the validity of one’s faith.”

    If Christians are honest, they will have to confess that they find themselves in the same situation as the Apostle Paul declared in Romans 7:15, 19, “15 For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate…19 For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.”

    Believers never cease to sin this side of eternity. But, they also never cease to hate sin and struggle against it. The believer’s inability to keep the law perfectly, which he loves (cf., Rom. 7:22-23), creates the tension that all of us know so well. But the joy of a Gospel-Driven life is that even though the tension is real, one’s assurance does not have to ebb and flow based upon one’s performance (i.e., obedience or lack thereof). The weight of guilt over ongoing struggles with sin doesn’t have to paralyze our life.

    While Paul fully acknowledges this tension and struggle (Rom. 7), he also announces in Romans 8:1, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”

    How can this be? How can a Christian, despite the lack of “victory” he or she may experience, also declare with such amazing assurance that there is therefore now no condemnation? The answer lies in the Gospel! After fully acknowledging his imperfect performance, Paul turns to Christ not personal fruit inspection for his assurance. Note carefully the progression through Romans 7 to Romans 8.

    7:15, 19, “15 For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate…19 For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.”

    7:24-25a, “24 Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!…”

    8:1, ““There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”

    Assurance does not come from personal fruit inspection but rather through Christ alone! Despite our ongoing struggle with sin as believers, the weight and burden and unyielding demands of God’s law no longer condemns! The hinge linking the tension of Romans 7 to the assurance of Romans 8 is Christ (i.e., the Gospel, vv. 24-25)!

    A believer will never be motivated to obey God and pursue holiness without the assurance that God loves him! The source of this assurance and holiness is justification. To put it another way, the origin of obedience is Gospel freedom! Calvin writes,

    “…consciences observe the law, not as if constrained by the necessity of the law, but that freed from the law’s yoke they willingly obey God’s will. For since they dwell in perpetual dread so long as they remain under the sway of the law, they will never be disposed with eager readiness to obey God unless they have already been given this sort of freedom.” (3.19.4).

    It is my prayer that you will experience great and profound, life-changing joy and satisfaction in Christ by discovering what it means to live in union with Christ by faith. May the joy of a Gospel-Driven Life deepen your satisfaction in Him and extend His glory through your life!

  23. Mike Sears said

    “How can this be? How can a Christian, despite the lack of “victory” he or she may experience, also declare with such amazing assurance that there is therefore now no condemnation? The answer lies in the Gospel! After fully acknowledging his imperfect performance, Paul turns to Christ not personal fruit inspection for his assurance.”

    Wow! That is great stuff John! I think we also have a tendency to inspect “other’s” fruit and judge. That is something I am trying to work on within my family. Thanks for your Gospel Wisdom!! You sure you don’t want to come and be our pastor? 🙂

  24. Don said

    I heard John Fonville’s comments and callers on “the best of program” on Saturday, 6/2, on WTRU. There was a comment made that Ed’s perspective was amplified in his additional comments in this space, and that (I think) John would answer them more fully there. I don’t see them and I wish I could have read that exchange. Thank you, John, for your faithful presentation. I wish I could hear both Reformed and Wesleyan positions calmly presented and discussed in one program.

  25. Kevin B said

    Hi John, and thank you!
    I was not the original annon poster but I almost wish I were. I am heading to your web site now.

  26. Anonymous said

    Hi everyone,
    I am looking for a prayer of Martin Luther King. I don’t remember all the prayer, just some works like: ” Lord, please give the strength to stand and look into myself when I feel weak and lost the belief……..Let me remember that the great is the simple, and the real power belongs to the tender.”
    If someone got it full, please send it to me via email: thientrieuphuc@gmail.com because I accident find this site, so maybe I don’t know how to reenter here to read the answer.
    Thank you very much.
    Mai Lan

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