From the Pastor’s Desk Column for 2/23/09

I didn’t repost last week’s column because it was actually an edited blog post that I sent in.  Here is the one from this week though.  It is my last one for now until I come up in the rotation again.  Enjoy.

Many people seem to think that becoming a Christian or being a Christian means that you must be perfect. I am not sure where that idea got its start, but it has to be one of the biggest lies around. This idea lies behind the old saying that the church is full of hypocrites. The truth of the matter is that anyone who goes to church thinking it will make them perfect or expecting everyone there to be perfect is fooling themselves. If you are perfect, why even bother to go to church? The very act of coming together with other believers is an admission that I can’t do it all on my own, that I don’t have it all together, and that I am not perfect. The picture of God that emerges from the Bible doesn’t show any indication of a need for perfection in those He calls His own.

From the Bible it is apparent that God is far more capable of handling imperfection than we(humans) ever give Him credit for. He is committed to working through imperfect people in imperfect ways at every turn it seems. God uses a lying, thieving, scoundrel (Jacob) as the father of the twelve tribes of His chosen people. He uses a stuttering, cowardly guy (Moses) who wouldn’t take the job until God said his brother could help him to liberate His people from Egypt. He takes a king (David) who commits murder and adultery, and gives his family the honor of being the line He would send His own Son to be a part of. Cover to cover, the Bible is the story of one imperfect person after another portrayed in less than flattering pictures that display the grace of God that we cannot fully comprehend. Frankly, if we were going to invent a God to follow, this one isn’t believable. But He is who He is and if I have learned one thing in life, it is that He is not what I would have expected or sometimes wanted Him to be. This is part of the reason that I always laugh when I hear people say that Jesus is a fable or a made up character or that God isn’t real. The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob who sent His Son, Jesus Christ, is the most improbable character in all of human history. Any man who could have dreamed this up, would be the greatest thinker in all of time.

Which brings me back to the original thought. God isn’t waiting for us to get better or be perfect before He will love us or accept us. He loves you already and you cannot make Him love you any more than He does, and you can’t make Him love you any less either. The Bible says it this way, “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:6-8) God didn’t wait for you and I to get better; He took the initiative and loved us first. “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” (1 John 4:10) You can’t earn God’s love. He has given it freely through His Son, Jesus Christ, the one who burst into human history so that the imperfect could be perfectly loved.

Categories: Cavalier County Republican pastor's desk column, Christianity, Gospel, Grace, Love, Salvation | 5 Comments

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5 thoughts on “From the Pastor’s Desk Column for 2/23/09

  1. We are doing a study from the London Baptist confession of a long time ago. Sanctification, it seems to be helping with the legalists. Man they struggle.

  2. Yeah, legalism is a tough life-long battle for some. And it leaves plenty others scarred. I knew a gentleman at a church we used to minister in who would just about lose his composure when he sensed someone being “legalistic.” He had just been burned and abused by too many legalists. I pray that your study bears much fruit.

  3. Jeff,

    That is one awesome post!

    Your last paragraph should be tattooed on all our foreheads so we’d have to read it every morning when we looked in the mirror!

    Thanks, Jeff!

  4. Steve,
    Thanks for the compliment, but I can’t take any credit for the last paragraph at all. I first heard that phrase that God can’t love you any more or less from Rich Mullins and I have loved it ever since.

  5. Jeff,

    You get credit for sharing it with us!!!

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