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,