Friday, April 17, 2015

The Gospel Unpacked.

From a biblical standpoint, whether we believe it as truth or reject it completely, we aren't good people. Decent grades, hard work, and being nice doesn't get you into heaven. Going to mass twice a year doesn't save you and Christianity isn't a cultural heirloom that's passed down from our ancestors, and only pulled from the attic when a relative dies and we want comfort by knowing they're in a better place. What our culture has taught us is not what the Bible teaches us. And whether you will acknowledge it or not, at least don't base your arguments off of the ignorance of a religion-obsessed culture that really knows nothing about God. Period. 
            So what does the Bible say? We were created to know God and synonymously love him. He doesn't tell us to obey his commands for the sake of being excellent or for earning righteousness or for being good moral people. He tells us to obey his commands, because by doing so, we will know him more, and love him more. In the words of C.S. Lewis in That Hideous Strength, "'... you do not fail in obedience through lack of love, but have lost love, because you never attempted obedience.'" Paraphrasing Kari Jobe, the more we seek him, the more we find him. The more we find him, the more we love him. That's what we were created to be- lovers of God.
            There are massive amounts of good people that don't love God. Which means there are massive amounts of people that are living apart from him. God doesn't come with you at birth like a belly button. He isn't naturally available to us. The wages of sin is death. Living apart from God is living in sin. Which means most of us are the living dead, merely surviving, roaming across the earth, chasing the pursuits of whatever our opinion the knowledge of good and evil is, and even more tragically, are also believing the lie that God is okay with this. God isn't okay with his creation worshiping nonexistent idols that didn't make them. God is not only just in upholding the laws he made to govern all life, but he is also jealous for us. Jealous, much like how one would be when they know their spouse is cheating on them... Not jealous of us, jealous for us...
            God doesn't have any of the sinful qualities humans have. He isn't on the same level as us. When we disobey him and follow our own will instead of his, believing we have found new life and freedom, God isn't upset with us because he has a superiority complex or feels threatened. He's upset because he sees value and worth in us, and he wants us to come home. He is angry at us for a time, but he ultimately grieves at our condition. He mourns at our depravity, because he wants us to be his. Not because he needs us but because he wants us...
            And because he wanted to be with us, and we could never get to him on our own, he made himself completely vulnerable to his creation. Most rulers will do anything and everything to preserve their dominance and power, but he lowered himself and left both behind. We can't say he doesn't know what we're going through, because he was one of us. He mastered his flesh and was obedient to the laws he created in every way, because we never could on our own. And then he died as a sacrifice for us, so our sin and brokenness would never separate us from him again. Afterwards, he rose, and conquered the grave, so we may not be slaves to sin and death anymore, and we may live as a new creation. He adopted his enemies as sons and daughters. He loved the people that killed him. He redeemed us that we might be reconciled to him.
            Grace is fully necessary, because without it, we are much like roaches in the pristine house of God. Unwanted and not belonging, small and powerless to save ourselves, wretched and disgusting because of our sin. With grace, we are children of God, clothed in dignity and righteousness from Christ, that makes us fully and unconditionally his. We are never alone. We are fully known and loved. Totally satisfied. Whole and healed. Fulfilled as we are now who we were created to be.
            I always encourage everyone, whether they have known God for years or they have never known him at all to do the same thing. Commit to seeking God for a period of time to find out if he is all he says he is. If you find him, continue to seek him. And if you love him, never stop seeking him.

Romans 5:9-11 (NIV)
Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! 10 For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! 11 Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

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