Sunday, May 3, 2015

Surrender

Today, in churches all over USAmerica, preachers will offer up some bad theology to anyone who is willing to listen. It goes something like this-"God is good. You are not. Try harder."  This presentation of the gospel is usually accompanied by reminding those in attendance of just how far short of perfection they really fall. It is accompanied by a list of "thou shalt nots" that sometimes includes but is never limited to the 10 Commandments. This rewriting of the Good News of Jesus has been going on for over 2000 years now, but it is reaching epidemic levels in the 21st century. Pull yourself up by your bootstraps. Change your behavior. Go to more small groups. Whine and moan about people who sin differently from you. Adopt an issue to protest against. Attend more church services. Fix yourself. Try harder!

The problem with this theology is that...well pretty much everything. If we are capable of  fixing ourselves, then Jesus died on the cross for no reason. We don't need to do more, we need to surrender our lives. The work we need to do is to give up, to let go and let God. The theology of the New Testament is this-"God is good. We are not. Jesus loves us anyway. Now follow Him"  We cannot achieve our own salvation, and we need not "work harder" to live life with Christ. When Jesus said, "It is finished!" while on the cross, he meant that the gap between our sinful selves and God had been bridged- permanently. Not everyone will acknowledge or accept this gift of grace. We all must "work out" our salvation, just like we work out our bodies. You don't go the gym to get muscles (salvation), you go the gym to improve them, to make them all they can be. Salvation is there for us all. And it is there NOW. We simply have to bow our knee in worship to the One who gives us this incredible gift. We don't have to wait until we are perfect. God, through Jesus, loves you just the way He made you. He even loves me. And that is the good news.

There are far too many Christian leaders who have obtained their status by exploiting the gospel. They preach guilt and legalism instead of mercy and grace. They emphasize fear instead of love and grace. And in the end, they convince people to follow them. Here's my tip for today: It's not how much a leader knows about leadership that sets them apart; it's what they know about FOLLOWING. And a leader who follows Jesus knows this to be true- there is nothing you can do to make God love you more, and nothing you can do to make God love you less. So get off the treadmill of religious performance and surrender your heart. Say it with me- "God is good. I am not. Jesus loves me anyway."  Amen & Amen!

Because of Jesus,

5 comments:

  1. Anonymous5/03/2015

    This was the sermon I needed to today, and I would suspect many others need it too. Thanks so much, CJ. And please keep preaching! - Grace

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  2. Thanks so much, Grace. I do love that name... :)

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  3. I may have sent this already. Not sure. In case I didn't.

    Good words. They aren't said often enough. Thank you for the reminder.

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    Replies
    1. Humans. We even make our salvation about ourselves, huh? Thanks for sharing, Andrea.

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