Monthly Archives: June 2014

A Perfect Problem

I have a perfect dog.  Her name is Gracie and she is indeed a perfect dog.  She chews up things we don’t want chewed up.  She brings bones into the house.  If you leave food on the cabinet within her reach, it soon disappears.  Gracie’s a perfect dog because she perfectly follows her instincts.  The challenge is to train her to ignore her instincts.

We are born human.  And we act perfectly human.  We have a human nature that is piloted by sin.  We do things we know are wrong; we don’t do things we know are right.  We are born spiritually dead.  And we are in perfect alignment with a spiritually dead world.

This is why we call what God did for us “Salvation.”  He rescued us from that condition.

But God doesn’t just change us; He creates us anew.  He gives us a new nature with a new default setting.  God doesn’t call for us to ignore our instincts or to control our instincts through religious training.  His way is better.  He gives us new instincts. 

It is our perfect humanness that is the problem.  We can change the outside with limited success; God can make us new and different on the inside.

And when the inside root gets changed, the outside fruit is different.

Grace Without Judgment

God is a just God.  God is a righteous God.
God does not view a high level of human “righteousness” as righteousness.  And God does not view a high level of human “holiness” as holiness.  Righteousness is 100% or 0% in God’s eyes.  Holiness is 100% or 0% in God’s eyes.
So how can any of us escape our deserved judgment?
Our judgment of others is often an attempt to justify ourselves.  And it mig…ht justify ourselves in our eyes, but no one can justify himself in God’s eyes.  So we are all unrighteous.  But here’s the good news: Christ paid the price for our unrighteousness.
In God’s love, He gives us grace instead of judgment.  When God looks at us through the work of Christ, He sees us as holy and blameless in His sight.  That is grace.
God placed our sin upon Christ; and Christ’s righteousness upon us.  That is grace.

What does God want us to do?

What does God really want from us?

Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?”  Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.” (John 6:28-29)

Sometimes I wonder where this verse has been all my life.  Did it get added to my Bible a few years ago?  How did I miss it?

“The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”

The whole purpose and rationale for religion – false religions, true religions… extreme religions, mainstream religions… crazy, far-out religions, accepted religions… the whole purpose is to satisfy the god or gods of that religion.

People do strange things.  People do bad things.  People do good things.  But the goal is the same: satisfy the god or gods; meet the requirements of that god or gods.

The Jewish religious leaders said that could be done by following the Law of Moses.  So they defined that Law.  Legalists today say that it can be done by lists of do’s and don’ts.

Jesus said that God is asking for one thing only: Believe in the one he has sent.  Put all your eggs into that one basket.

Perfect forever

Maybe we sometimes try to overthink this whole situation.

Hebrews 10:14 says that by one sacrifice Christ has made us “perfect forever.”

How complete is “perfect?”  How limitless is “forever?”  Both terms are superlatives; there is nothing additional that can be added.

If we have been made perfect forever, then we are forever perfect.  Right?  It seems simple and direct.  And if we have been made perfect forever, then we can never become imperfect at any time.  Also, true?

So if we are perfect forever, then it must be impossible that we could fall into and out of righteousness.  There just doesn’t seem to be much room for misunderstanding or debate.

Perfect.  Forever.