I know that my writing is challenging. I never thought it was, initially, but with the amount of feedback I get telling me that it is, I’ve come to accept it. It’s weird to me, sharing about God’s love and grace, to bump into the friction of disbelief. It’s not like I’m saying anything new. None of it is new, but I guess it’s just not widely or clearly taught.
When did Jesus get watered down so much that the truth about Him became offensive? I think the answer to my own question is found in how He died. He has always represented a challenge.
People can get by on diluted perfume for only so long. It eventually stops working and the stench of life is the only thing left. Every single person must arrive at a place of spiritual awareness that screams their personal inadequacy and reveals the need for something, or Someone, bigger. Salvation begins with desolation within the person. You must know death to know life. (Read Romans 11 for further study.)
Salvation is a mystery. We only have a few solid clues to provide a hint of understanding. What happens is that the implications of the clues are in direct opposition to human nature. Pride and self-rightiousness get in the way.
One aspect of salvation that is particularly hard to accept is the part where the individual has to know complete depravity, that is, they have to fully realize their equality with the worst kind of person before they can accept Jesus. The difficulty is the bastard child of ‘I would never do that.’
Further, one of the most difficult aspects of faith is when someone tells you that it is easier for the worst of them to accept salvation than it is for the decently average. That kind of message makes the chest of the decently average puff with pride. It’s as though the message takes something away from them. They’ve worked all day. ‘These last workers put in only one easy hour, and you just made them equal to us, who slaved all day under a scorching sun (Mat 20:12).’
The message of the Gospel, the message of salvation, the message of Jesus, the message of grace is hard to swallow. It’s good news to some and an abomination to others.
The depraved are starving for truth and too weak to fight on their own. They drink from the Well of Salvation like gluttons. All the while, others are pulling out their guns with rocks for bullets. They are fighting for self, rationing the Truth and applying standards that were never imposed by the Gospel. They’re louder. They’re meaner.
The Gospel is the Great Reversal. It turns common sense, even tradition, on it’s head. It lets in the unworthy and demands brokenness. It’s easier for those who know their sin than it is for those who ‘have it all together’.
Grace Is For Sinners is making a conference called ‘Sifted As Wheat’. It’s a time and a place for people to come together and explore the magnitude of Jesus and His display of God’s love in such a way that will completely rock those who attend. There will be deep scriptural teaching to explore the truth and many opportunities set aside to ask and answer questions. I’ll keep you posted with periodic updates as the plans begin to come together.
I am excited for you to take this journey with me. I’ll be writing a book and a study workbook to be used at the conference. It will be like an entire Bible Study series in one packed weekend. The goal is to solidify the Truth of the bare basics of the Christian faith so that the rest of life can be lived in the freedom that Truth brings. This is me answering the call to ‘strengthen my brothers’. (Luke 22:31-32)
You can visit the conference website for more information.