‘You don’t believe me because you’re not my sheep.’ – John 10:27 MSG
Don’t you get it? The message of grace is hard to swallow. You’ve got this message running through the veins of scripture, setting captives free. Pulsing freedom. Theives and liars are sipping wine from the Savior’s cup and He’s laughing at their jokes.
You can’t imagine the god in your head putting up with such unrefined morality and you’re quick to point out the short comings and set yourself up as the rule police in the lives of those unfortunate enough to sit next to you in the pew.
And you: the one living in fear of getting off track. Messing things up. Listen to me. Read the scriptures. There is freedom in there.
This is one thing that you can’t mess up. Unless you try. Trying messes things up. Here, I’ll show you:
What is denying Christ? Is it sinning? Think about this. What did Jesus do? He came to die for your sins because you are incapable of not sinning. (If you disagree on that point read 1 John 1:8.) Denying Christ is denying what his life, death and resurrection stand for. If you try to mold your life into one built on Christian standards and set yourself up to avoid failure and sin, then you are denying Christ.
You who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace. – Galatians 5:4
You deny him by behaving as though what he did were good enough to get you started, but not good enough to keep you.
Let me put this question to you: How did your new life begin? Was it by working your heads off to please God? Or was it by responding to God’s Message to you? Are you going to continue this craziness? For only crazy people would think they could complete by their own efforts what was begun by God. – Galatians 3:2
Setting your lives up to avoid needing Jesus is the most socially appreciated stance and the most spiritually devastating thing you could do. No one will chastise you for your self-inflicted sacrificial lifestyle and that is, possibly, the scariest trap you could fall in to. ‘I don’t do this, I don’t do that. I don’t hang out with her, I don’t associate with him.’ All traps. All steps moving away from Jesus. Since when is salvation earned, maintained and completed by your moral efforts? We need to realize that we’re not God. We have knowledge of good and evil, thanks to Adam and Eve, but we are absolutely incapable of following any set of rules. Following a set of rules hold you responsible to them. Accepting Jesus and the gift of grace that only comes from him sets you free from the rules and the only way to reject Jesus is to go back to them.
If we give up and turn our backs on all we’ve learned, all we’ve been given, all the truth we now know, we repudiate Christ’s sacrifice and are left on our own to face the Judgment—and a mighty fierce judgment it will be! If the penalty for breaking the law of Moses is physical death, what do you think will happen if you turn on God’s Son, spit on the sacrifice that made you whole, and insult this most gracious Spirit? This is no light matter. – Hebrews 10:26
We used to try to be good on our own and we failed. Then we heard about the ‘clean slate’ that didn’t depend on who we were or what we did. Now we can get called ‘good’ by what we believe. Don’t get away from the realization that got you in. Don’t go back to your old life of trying.
This teaching is freeing because it’s the Truth.
ps: Don’t be afraid of your freedom. If you mess up and behave selfishly, it reduces your freedom until you learn how to be selfless again. Sin doesn’t take your salvation away, it takes your freedom away. We weren’t set free to be selfish, we were set free to love. You’ll figure it out.
Just make sure that you don’t use this freedom as an excuse to do whatever you want to do and destroy your freedom. Rather, use your freedom to serve one another in love; that’s howfreedom grows. For everything we know about God’s Word is summed up in a single sentence: Love others as you love yourself. That’s an act of true freedom. If you bite and ravage each other, watch out—in no time at all you will be annihilating each other, and where will your precious freedom be then? – Galatians 5:13