Thursday, March 24, 2016

Graceless Mediocre Christianity

Is there any limit to God's Grace? No.. but there are barriers to receiving the grace of God.  We erect them all by ourselves.  It's witchcraft, open rebellion, hard hearted deception and double-mindedness.

I can say for certain for the one who comes with a repentant heart, who tries and sometimes fails to turn from sin there is always grace available.  It's the direction, not the destination.  The Love of God leads us to repentance.  His grace is more than sufficient. 

Yet what of the person who professes some level of Christian Belief, If a person says he or she is without sin, according to the word of God he deceives himself and lacks truth.  Even in that case if a person confesses his sin and turns, God's grace is more than enough.  Judas could have been saved.  He might have been as great as Saul became.

I'm concerned about the person who goes to church, who answers YES to the question, “are you a Christian”, can recite the Lord's prayer, the Apostle's creed.   The one who in the face of all that commits murder (I think of a scene of Baptism in the Godfather), commits adultery, steals without shame, slanders others, one who is by any objective measure an open sinner without repentance or trying to turn from his or her rebellion and sin.

There is a theology that Martin Luther spoke of when one time he said, “Sin Boldly”.  What he meant was not that we sin intentionally, but that if we do, we can expect the Grace of God to put us back in right standing.. repentance and the forgiveness linked. 
Romans 6: 1-2 says What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. We who died to sin, how shall we any longer live therein?

I am all for engaging the grace of God in every way but not as a get out free card.  A person who is out of sync with God's grace reveals himself when they use phrases like:
  • God knows my heart (Unfortunately he does indeed)
  • I was forgiven for all my sins past present and future.  Yes-   yet, the blood of Jesus can be trampled underfoot.
  • Only God can judge me (meaning I dare not even ask about your open rebellion)

I actually know people who pray with their adulterous partners just before having illicit sex and believe God is hearing them. 

The most profane thing I ever hear from such is, "I heard from the Holy Spirit that I was right about doing this".  That is taking the name of the Lord in Vain.  I doubt Holy Spirit is condoning those things that are clearly forbidden.  IF you think you need to have special word from God to sin without repentance you are in dangerous territory.

James 4:7-10 
Humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world. Let there be tears for what you have done. Let there be sorrow and deep grief. Let there be sadness instead of laughter, and gloom instead of joy. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor.

God wants to bring you up higher. He wants you to find a better place. On the mountain top. He wants you to get out of the trap of saying, "I'm not what I want to be, I'm not what I'm supposed to be, but Thank God, I'm not what I was".   That is settling for something less than the call of God on your life.  I haven't yet attained but I'm not giving up. The Apostle Paul said that.  We should not accept the mediocre life.

Mediocre means halfway up the mountain.  It's a word from the old French.  You can read more here.

We are not called to live a life that is neither up nor down, only halfway.  We are called to escape the trap of comfort zone Christianity.  It is faith we must contend for.  We ask to be Led to the Rock that is Higher than I.. yet we don't seem to reach up.  Even when Jesus says "Come up here".

Mark 3:13 Jesus went up on a mountain and called out the ones he wanted to go with him. And they came to him.   

Those who were called on that day had to go UP.  That call still stands.

The world is at war with our desire to go higher, so it substitutes a false grace that doesn't challenge.  Mediocre Christianity.  Halfway.  The enemy doesn't want you to enter into the higher thoughts that Father wants to share with you.

This time of year is when we recognize those things that bought and paid for the Grace of God in our lives, that get us out from under condemnation and the law, we need to also not treat grace cheaply.

God knows our heart..and that is good .. or maybe not so much for some.

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