Thursday, April 8, 2010

Not Guilty!

While we all know that salvation is a free gift and that God’s love is unconditional, how much do we really "believe"? Sounds like a pretty presumptuous assertion on my part but it is likely that some of us believe it far less that we think we do. Presumptuous indeed.

If you need to enhance your conscious knowledge of the depth of salvation and this message causes you to examine the strength of your beliefs, then I may have done you the most important favor ever in your walk with the Lord. We’ve all read this passage and understand what it saying: Ephesians 2:8-9:For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.

Now here’s the issue-what is your response to yourself when you fall short? I mean, when you sin,what’s your reaction? Of course you feel badly, in fact we certainly should, but after that what does your mind and your emotions tell you about your relationship with him? Far too often a real feeling is that the Lord has withdrawn his love-that his willingness to bless you has been altered by your sin and that, at least for a while, he’s angry at you and doesn’t want you hanging around.

The sad thing is that a lot of that makes perfect sense to us realizing that we have all grown up in a performance-oriented culture. We have been unconsciously trained by well-intentioned and loving people that love is in fact, NOT without condition. Most of us have been raised in a stimulus- response environment that says good behavior equals blessings and poor behavior gets a spanking, or a “time-out” at a minimum

If you’re free from this then great, because we as saved people need to be free from this. As much as it feels right to our training and indoctrination, it is NOT the gospel and it is NOT what grace is all about.

Does sin have consequences? Absolutely and if you sin you will reap the consequences of it whatever to may be. But here’s the hard part, and here’s what very few churches will preach-the consequence is not God’s anger and removal of his love for you. Either Jesus paid the full price for our sin and iniquity or he didn’t. And if he paid the full price for your sin then no amount of guilt or shame will put you back in right standing with him.

Feel bad about your sin? Of course, Godly sorrow brings you to a place of wanting to change. But change doesn't take place because God is mad at you. That's not what grace is all about. We change because he loves us until we get tired of trying to meet our own needs. That's the basis of sin-our futile attempts as immature believers to try to meet our own needs.