We’ve got it Backwards

Not long ago I wrote a post called, Has The Church Become a Modern Israel?, in which I talked about similarities that I had noticed between modern Christians and the Israelites. The main similarity being our dependence on our ability to do what we’re supposed to do and other ways in which we have seemed to forget the cross and its life altering meaning.

Recently I listened to a sermon by Pastor Joseph Prince in which he talked about the way we usually teach or view our Christianity. We tend to say (or if not say, act like) we need to stop being lazy (or sinful, or tempted, or lost, or confused, or weak, or some other condemning thing) and start following Christ and doing what he says. If we do that we will be loving Christ and we will have peace knowing that we are finishing his work on the earth.

This is how Christianity is so often thought of! We are sinful and so we need to start doing things right! That’s when we start getting the perks. That’s when we become real, good Christians. We quote verses like “Do you love me?” (John 21:16) and “come and follow me” (Matthew 4:19) and “faith without works is dead” (James 2:17) to condemn ourselves further and draw the requirements out of us.

According to the bible we have it all backwards.

When Jesus died on the cross for our sins he shouted, “IT IS FINISHED!” (John 19:30)

He finished his life work right then and there. He doesn’t have some need for us to do anymore work on that front. The whole point of his coming was that we couldn’t save ourselves.

After his death he appeared to his disciples in the upper room and said, “PEACE BE TO YOU.” (John 20:19)

What did they have to cause them peace? The finished work of Christ. Christ calls us to rest in him. To be sure of his grace, to be sure of his salvation, to be sure of his love for us.

After his disciples found that peace he asked, “DO YOU LOVE ME?” (John 21:17)

Why then? Why after they’d found his peace? Because he loved us first. “We love because Christ first loved us.” (1 John 4:19) We would be unable to love him if we didn’t see anything in him to love and if we didn’t trust him. All Christ wants us to do is look at him and to his finished work on the cross. That is how we love him. We declare his goodness and his greatness by resting in him.

After the disciples said they loved him he said, “FOLLOW ME!” (John 21:19)

It goes from Grace to Works, not from Works to Grace.

The point of the old testament, the point of the ten commandments, the point of the cross was to show that we couldn’t be good enough alone and that we could never deserve the free gift of love that God was giving to us, so why do we keep trying?

Why do we continue to strive?

Why do we still find ourselves filled with guilt and condemnation and confusion and sin?

More importantly how do we stop?

That is what I will discuss next time in the context of Isaiah 2-4

May God bless you with an inability to forget the cross.

I love you,

Deanna ❤

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Has The Church Become a Modern Israel?

Have you ever wondered what the heart of God really is?

Have you begun to question the status of your Christianity?

Have you begun to question your ability to live up to snuff?

Do you feel lazy, like your life is just going through the motions?

Have you ever felt as if you are not doing enough?

I used to feel that way all of the time. I was overwhelmed by guilt and restlessness. I was always concerned with what I was doing, how pure my heart was, how sinless I was remaining. My prayers typically consisted of apologies and begging God to show me what to do. It wasn’t out of love, but out of a desperation to be accepted, valuable, good.

I think every human being has these innate desires.

These desires are not wrong.

What can be wrong is how we seek their fulfillment.

Why did God send, “his only begotten son”? Why did Jesus die?

Think back to the Israelites.

They are described as the apple of God’s eye, as his precious jewel. They were HIS. He cherished them infinitely, he protected them relentlessly and forgave them countless times. We look back at that nation and laugh at their foolishness in Church services all the time. They had everything, but lived as if they had nothing, or like they had to earn what they’d been given.

Recently I was reading Isaiah 1, which is basically a synopsis of how much the Israelites had it wrong, how often they turned away from their loving God and how awful that distance they created was for them. It talks about how much it hurts the Father’s heart to see his people going astray. It talked about their dependence on works, on doing everything right and how very often they would fail, but never recognize those failures.

While I was reading I realized how very like the Israelites modern Christians and the modern church have become. Do we want our generation to be the new Israel, a generation of ineffective wanderers? We don’t have time to wander for forty years in the wilderness of confusion and self-preservation. Jesus is coming back soon. The signs Jesus warned of are there with more on the way in the near future.

This isn’t meant to be a condemnation or a guilt trip. I am only asking us to look deep inside, to question what our Christianity has become. I would ask you to read over Isaiah 1 and see if indeed you come to the same realization I did, then study the life and the death of our savior, Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Think hard about this and its implications. If we continue on this path what, if anything, will happen? What does this mean for our generation and for us as a people under the blood of Jesus? Take the time to listen for God’s voice in this matter. I can’t judge your life. That is between you and God. Where do you stand?

I’ll be back soon with more on this topic, with what I think God is saying we ought to do from this place of dependence on self to get back to dependence on him. From Works to Grace.

Much love,

Deanna.