I know some of you think I’ve “gone ’round the bend”, because I keep posting about this “new” or “fresh” encounter I’ve had with God’s love. It is an encounter with the finished work on the Cross by Jesus. It is the love of Jesus that has changed me.
But some of you think I’ve gone crazy. You think I’m nuts because I keep posting stuff like:
“Because Jesus won, I’m free to lose.
… because Jesus was strong, I’m free to be weak.
… because Jesus was someone, I’m free to be no one.
… because Jesus was the ultimate leader, I’m free and content to be a follower.
… because Jesus was (is) extraordinary, I’m free and content to be ordinary.
… because Jesus succeeded, I am free to fail.
… because ‘It is finished’, the work is done.
There is such freedom in those words, but there’s more. I’ve said it before but I have to say it again and again because it is such Good News: There’s nothing I can do to make God love me more and nothing I can do to make God love me less. There is nothing I can do to repay God. There is nothing I can do to curry God’s favor, including surrendering more.” (Posted May 3rd)
“All of us so easily fall into a trap of measuring our own righteousness. We measure it by how much we pray. We measure it by how much we read our Bibles. We measure it by our behavior day-by-day. We measure how we talk, what we drink, and even by how much or what we eat. We measure ourselves against others. But when we measure, by definition, we are self-righteous. We become legalists. We become like the Pharisees in Jesus’ day.” (Posted May 15)
Because I said these things, those of you who know me think I’ve fallen off the doctrinal wagon. Some may think that I’m espousing some kind of radical license to sin or to be lazy. Some may even think that I have fallen into some kind of sin; otherwise why would I talk about grace so often?!?
I’m not saying:
Don’t read your Bible.
Don’t go to church.
Don’t serve in the Kingdom somewhere.
Don’t be grieved when you sin because you’re going to heaven anyway.
What I am saying is that my (and your) only hope is Jesus. If we truly understand what Jesus has accomplished on the Cross, we are set free from the pressure of striving and trying so hard to “be a Christian.”
Once we really understand the love that God has for us in Jesus, we are free to fully and completely trust Him. We pray because we want to know Him more. We read our Bible to know His character (John 1:1, Hebrews 1:1), His truth (John 14:17), His instruction and His correction (2 Tim 3:16). We go to church because that is where we find community with like-minded Jesus-followers. We serve because that is how we show the love of God to those outside our community who so desperately need it.
We don’t do those things because it’s our duty or we need to repay God, but in doing them, we know God more fully. And knowing God more fully is what you WANT to do when you truly understand what God has accomplished just for you and me in Christ at the Cross. Desiring to know God more fully just simply flows from a life which understands the freedom and victory the Cross has brought.
Lastly, some may think that I’ve adopted some form of “once-saved, always-saved” doctrine. Those four words have come to mean something else than what was originally intended. They’ve come to negatively portray a theology of license. In other words, once you’re saved by grace, you’re free to live any way you want, because God’s grace will forgive you in the end. The apostle Paul makes it clear that simply isn’t true in Romans 5:20-6:7. Instead, those four words “once-saved, always-saved” or the words, “eternal security” should bring freedom and take the pressure off. Once you truly understand the love of God in Christ and truly embrace the work done there, you don’t want to live any way you want. You want to live any way GOD wants. If you or I are living another way, then I wonder if we truly understand God’s love.
So… have I gone ’round the bend? Yep.
Have I gone crazy? You better believe it.
I have encountered the good news of the Good News. If you find that you feel worse leaving church than when you entered, something’s wrong. You need the Gospel. It brings freedom. It takes the pressure off. It’s brings joy and peace like never before.
And you’ll want to tell everyone.
May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. (Galatians 6:14, NIV)
If it seems we are crazy, it is to bring glory to God. And if we are in our right minds, it is for your benefit. Either way, Christ’s love controls us. Since we believe that Christ died for all, we also believe that we have all died to our old life. He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them. (2 Corinthians 5:13-15, NLT)