Question: I Can’t Just “Love You The Way You Are” — Right?

Anonymous asked:

“We are not loving people when we’re telling them that God accepts them as they are without repentance, because we’re lying to them.” What does that mean exactly?

I see you quoted a famous theologian (whose name I left out), and I see what he’s saying.  He is being very careful to convey a Holy God who does not tolerate sin, who must uphold justice, and who requires broken on-your-knees repentance.  Or — he is just trying not to upset the doctrine-police.

I might have said something like this a few years ago.  It’s a very aggressive, preach-to-the-choir, sounds-good-on-paper slogan.  I get it: our sin is bad.  God hates sin.  Okay, check.  Am I done being doctrinally sound for the sake of avoiding the heresy label?  Should I be so afraid of Neo-Reformed bloggers that I must blindly agree with all similar statements? 

And really, this is only one quote that I could be taking out of context, so it’s only a small fraction of this theologian’s thoughts.  But by itself, it portrays such a measly, puny God.  I do know guys who preach like this without a single ounce of Christlike love in their heart for people.

My friend, the truth is: God does love you and accepts you and desires to be with you exactly as you are.  Yeah, I know.  Scary, right?  Nervous?  Do I sound antinomian?  Maybe you’re waiting for But even though He loves you  … 

The problem we have with God’s grace is that it’s all grace.  That makes us uncomfortable, and I understand that.  Our hearts are naturally built on legalism.  Everyone feels like they should do something to get something, so we contort God’s grace into a manageable legalistic machine filled with daily QT routines and spiritual progress charts and how-to-avoid-sin and religious busy-ness.  Nothing is inherently wrong with these things until they forfeit God Himself.

God’s love is NOT dependent on how you perform or even how you repent.  Changing your behavior doesn’t get God and we don’t get God by changing our behavior.  His love for you is constant.  One of my favorite verses is Jeremiah 31:3 — I have loved you with an everlasting love.  As in eternally.  Forever.  Always been the same. 

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Quote: Gladly

There is a warning. The path of God-exalting joy will cost you your life. Jesus said, ‘Whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it.’ In other words, it is better to lose your life than to waste it. If you live gladly to make others glad in God, your life will be hard, your risks will be high, and your joy will be full. This is not a book about how to avoid a wounded life, but how to avoid a wasted life. Some of you will die in the service of Christ. That will not be a tragedy. Treasuring life above Christ is a tragedy.

— John Piper