Sunday, November 6, 2011

Freedom Through Christ: The Gift and Good News of Grace

         Freedom in Christ is not freedom to sin but freedom from sin. And by that, I do not mean, when we accept Christ we will never sin again; rather, when we sin we are free from the eternal consequence of condemnation. Grace is a merciful acquittal. In Christ, there is no condemnation; and God's forgiveness will always be more that our failures.
       "Grace is not license to sin; it is license to live and love freely without fear."
Can a righteous king show grace to his undeserving servant? Can a just judge  show mercy to a criminal? God is both just and merciful. Where sin increases, grace also increases. God will forgive exponentially. Grace is the sinners' privilege; the self-righteous are deluded into believing they don't need it. All who accept forgiveness are forgiven.

"I feel like the message of grace is not that all are good, but that Christ is God's goodness for all." There are 2 major points in the Gospel. 1) Christ came for the sick. 2) Everybody is sick.
         Repentance is not a means of earning forgiveness; rather, repentance is out of acknowledgement that we have been forgiven. Jesus is proof God did not set us up for failure while expecting perfection, but rather God set us up for perfection and expected failure.
         Evil exists to create contrast for God's goodness. Like light which seems that much brighter in darkness.   If love stood unopposed, it would not really win. If there was no wrong, doing right would not be so amazing. It is when we choose, right over wrong that God is working in us.
         Getting along with sinners is good; Jesus did it, without judgment, extending grace and mercy. But let us not forget, we are all sinners.

"Even though my head knows Christ has won the war with sin and death, the battle in my heart rages on." God fought the war against sin and death which he won. Now he is asking all of us which side we want to be on. Are we for God, or against him?
         Fear of negative consequences, fear of shame, and fear of pain. These things, if we allow them, will paralyze us and stunt our spiritual growth. Comfort and familiarity are so often what we seek even as they are often at odds with God's desire for our lives.  Independence and self-righteousness are not true to God's calling for us. Rather we must depend on Him and find righteousness through Christ.

  Salvation is free; discipleship costs you everything.
         We all choose our second death; we die to our flesh and live in spirit eternally, or we live in our flesh and die spiritually for eternity.
I have not the right, ability, or desire to condemn. Only to love, forgive, and show mercy. If you are Christian, take this to heart. Live like you're already dead. There is nothing to fear. Because of God’s sovereign nature and our eternal life, we are either always in danger or never in danger. I believe it is the latter. Even though I am young, my body is falling apart. And that is alright. My flesh (human nature) died years ago. And if my heart stops, I will live on in God. Dying is the only way to live. Dead people have nothing to fear, no reason to doubt, nothing to lose and everything to gain.

        Unless you hunger for righteousness, you will loathe it. But if you do hunger for it, even the hardest parts will satisfy you.
         If God is love, and created love, doesn't that mean he defines love? If he does anything, it is out of love. We should match our love to his. I think that culture sometimes sees the gospel as Jesus saving people from God. But it isn't. It's God saving people from sin through Jesus. God claims He is love, that He is just, that He is faithful, and that He is sovereign. One thing He never claims to be is simple. God's too big to be held down by the principles of an era.
  God says, "I know what I want; I like what I want. I want somebody to praise me."
We struggle to understand Jesus' dual nature because we struggle to accept our own. The flesh and spirit are engaged in battle, separated. The duality of Jesus' nature: His spirit is God's Spirit, his flesh is of man. In the same way, our flesh is human, our spirit is of God. 
“It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.” 
“So now it is no longer I who [sin], but sin that dwells within me.”
         Love is unlimited, and economics only matter when there is scarcity. Love is not a commodity because there is more than enough for everybody.
God's character is extravagant love and abundant life. The wages of sin have been paid. Get out of the checkout line. Live a life of love. Culture tells us to withhold our love, giving it only to those who deserve it. That is powered by the false ideal that our love is limited. God's plan isn't Christ asking us to split the check. We can never earn salvation. We do good because we love God and love people. The Christianity that is about moralism or condemnation is a false religion. True Christianity is to love God and be loved by Him. Our relationship with God should be communal, personal, and intimate. Family of, friend of, and bride of Christ. God unifies all loves.

The context of "being all things to all people" is a context of love. Without love as the motive, behavior does not matter. GOD wants love.
         As Christians we tend to forget we are only bound to one law: Love. We keep adding rules and we forget to love God and each other. Love never fails. But failure is not falling; failure is not getting back up. Love is hard. We will stumble and fall. We must get back up.
When you begin to understand the magnitude of God's love shown through Christ, sacrifice becomes a reasonable act of worship.
God is a God of both justice and mercy. Truth and grace. He will give what you deserve or what you deeply need. Desire mercy, desire grace.
True love must include honest vulnerability. Despise immorality. Hold on to the things which are right as though your life depended on it.

1 comment:

  1. LOVE IT! SO MANY GREAT YET SIMPLE TRUTHS! Yet they seem to be the ones we struggle with seeing, understanding, and embracing the most!