I tried to get saved. Quit everything that was keeping me from God, you know? Two weeks. I failed, and after praying and reading the Bible, have come to believe in election. Acts 13:48 and John 13:18 (in context) I don’t really know what to do now. It hurts too much to read the Bible.
(Made you anonymous just in case.)
There are some weeks I feel like I’m in an episode of Scooby-Doo, where at the end of the episode I unmask a Neo-Reformed Calvinist and we can all relax again. “So here’s the guy who’s been causing all the fear. It’s just a blogger who plays XBox all day and retaking the 13th grade.”
My dear beloved friend: I’m not sure how you’ve been misinformed, but somewhere along the line you’ve been sold a line of lies that isn’t working. There’s a whole mess of stuff to work through here, so I’ll try to keep it real simple.
God loves you, and that’s that. He proved it by sending His Son for you into human history as a perfect sinless savior born of a virgin, in spite of our broken rebellious condition called sin, and Jesus paid the price we deserve on a dirty Roman cross while whispering forgiveness over his murderers.
As if that wasn’t enough, Jesus also jumped out of the grave like shark madness on Shark Week to assure us victory over the triple-threat of sin, Satan, and death. Jesus offers you the Holy Spirit for fruitful purposeful living while you’re still on earth. If you believe that by faith, you have everything. Also, Jesus is coming back with 100 million angels to finalize his justice, because no one gets away with nothing.
You don’t do anything for that. There’s no “trying to get saved.” There’s no “needing to quit things.” God already preempted your failures, which is exactly why Jesus came for you. You don’t have to do jacksquat for the love of God to be alive in your life. It’s the magnitude of God’s Love that makes repentance even possible.
I know that grace makes churchy-people nervous, except it doesn’t make God nervous. It is by grace we have been saved and not by works, says Apostle Paul in Ephesians 2. Jesus spoke of a Pharisee who beat his chest and said, “Thank God I’m not like this tax collector,” and the tax collector begged for mercy, calling himself unworthy. Jesus then says only one went home justified: the guy who wanted mercy.
Look, if you care this much about wanting a right relationship with God then I don’t care what anyone says about election: you’re elected. Done deal, all right? There are just as many verses about free will as there are election, and we’re doing a disservice to the grace of God if we take an imbalanced approach to His sovereignty and make one-sided assumptions.
The church’s mental confusion on election is nothing less than spiritual warfare, bad theology, the times we’re living in, a moody basement blogger, and guilt-driven preachers, so please set aside the church-culture on this and simply believe: Jesus loves me. No ifs, ands, or buts.
Jesus is okay with your failures too. He understands that struggle: he has the advantage of becoming one of us. And when you fail, so long as you’re falling forward towards him, you’ll persevere.
If you read the Bible from Genesis to maps, even as a secular person, and conclude anything else besides Jesus-loves-me, you can be sure there are missing pages. Please step back to see the bigger picture. The unfolding Story of God is His rescue of the people He has made, and no nearsighted doctrine can ever stop that. Dismantle the scaffolding of religious fear and establish your homebase: Jesus loves me. Period.