“We Proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ. For this purpose also I labour, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me.” – Colossians 1:28-29
The Biblical Counselor, as we have seen, has the command from God to hold to the sufficiency and authority of His Word and the work of the Holy Spirit as he ministers the Scriptures to others. All Biblical Counseling is to be drenched in the Word of God, for herein lies the only reliable answers to the struggle against sin. As we continue to take a look at what Biblical Counseling is, I want to keep building on the foundation we have laid.
Foundationally, we have a need for counsel in the local church that is solid and biblical. Built upon the foundation are the pillars of truth found in the Word of God. The most prominent and supportive pillar as we saw, is the fact that the Scriptures are sufficient for counseling. Another pillar that supports true Biblical Counseling is the work of the Holy Spirit in Counseling. Without His work, most assuredly the building would collapse. Resting atop these pillars are several necessary truths that are the cap-stones of Biblical Counseling. These cap-stones must be beautifully displayed in every counseling situation and scenario.
For the next several weeks we will look at these necessary cap-stones and show how they must all be present in Biblical Counseling in order for the ministry of God’s Word to be done in a right and accurate way.
The Necessity of the Gospel: The first and most brilliant cap-stone of biblical counseling is the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. The gospel, by far, contains the most important and essential truths that will apply to the heart and life of a counselee. The gospel is necessary because it gets to the heart of every problem, and exposes what needs to be done for the glory of God. Biblically speaking the gospel is the “good news” that every person struggling with sin needs to hear. It plays a vital role for every person on this earth.
(I) Without the Gospel, Counseling is Useless: Because Biblical Counseling is intended to bring about change and transformation in the lives of people in this world, the gospel must be front and center in every counseling situation. Without it, change cannot take place and therefore counseling itself is useless. When counseling a believer the gospel becomes applicable to everything they struggle with. The believer can look at the gospel and see that he has been saved by Christ through faith, not by his own works (Eph. 2:8-9). This salvation has brought about radical transformation in their life (Rom. 6:11) and also provides great hope for change and growth in the future (2 Pet. 3:18). The gospel is the only power for real and lasting change through the salvation of God (Rom. 1:16-17)!
Another reason that the Gospel is so essential in counseling is because of the very person of the Godhead that we looked at last week: The Holy Spirit. If indeed, the Holy Spirit is the only agent that can truly change a person’s heart and mind, then the gospel is front and center in counseling. Why? Because it is the Holy Spirit who saves a person through the preaching of the gospel! Without the Holy Spirit, the gospel is not effective on a dead heart, and without the Holy Spirit working in tandem with the gospel to break the sinful heart of a counselee, there can be no hope of change. Therefore the gospel is vital in all Biblical Counseling.
(II) Not Everyone who Thinks they are Saved, Really are. What do I mean by this point above? Well, I do not mean that the Biblical Counselor should presume that anyone who says they are saved, is not saved. If love, “…believes all things, hopes all things…” then there is no place for a counselor to presume that the person he is counseling is unsaved. That being said, there have been many, many times that a person ministering the Word of God to someone they thought was a fellow saint, has actually led them to the Lord by providing them with a true understanding of the gospel of God! In a day and age where the gospel has been twisted and changed into so many different forms it is vital to present the gospel clearly and biblically to everyone in counseling.
Moreover, because the gospel speaks of love, forgiveness, change, justification, a new standing before Christ, sanctification, putting off, putting on, holiness, grace, mercy, reconciliation, new life, and so many other biblical truths, it must be emphasized in counseling. What do you do for the saved man or woman who is wondering how to forgive someone who has sinned against them? Take them to the gospel, and show them how Christ has forgiven them (Matt. 18:21-35). What do you do with the woman who is neglected and not receiving love from her husband? Take her to the gospel, and show her the love of Christ that she can rest in (Jn. 3:16; 1 Jn. 3:1)! What do you do for the former liar, or their, or adulterer at heart, or blasphemer? Take them to the gospel and teach them that in Christ they are new creatures, (2 Cor. 5:17), “…the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.”
The gospel is necessary in all Biblical Counseling. Through the power and work of the Holy Spirit it is the only thing that can effect real and lasting change. For every person who counsels another, whether a believer or an unbeliever, the gospel must permeate their teaching. The gospel is not only the cap-stone of Biblical Counseling, it is also embedded in the foundation, as part of building that cannot fall, because it is built upon the rock of the Word of God.