nenakristiani asked a question:
Hi, lately I’ve been confused about “working on our salvation” that’s generally our job after receiving Jesus. How do we do that exactly? How do we know we’re doing it right? And I’ve just listened to a local sermon and it says that after we received Jesus, we have to seek perfection through our struggles and efforts to meet His standard level of perfection. We have to strive for a perfect life, no flaws in His eyes. That’s what Christian life is about. Is that how we do it?
Hey dear friend, thank you for your honesty and candor. Before I say anything, I hope you’ll consider watching this sermon. I watch it about once a month and it continually feeds my soul, especially in moments of confusion about my faith. (There are a couple glitches in the video but they pass quickly.)
Essentially, one of the biggest points of the Christian Gospel is that it takes burdens off and will never add them on. Everything else in the world is squeezing you by demands, deadlines, dichotomies, and impossible standards that will destroy you the second you infringe on them. Every community will kick you out or kill you if you disobey their directives, and that includes Tumblr, Facebook, a high school football team, and political tribes. Every other religion and philosophy and system of thinking is prodding you to close the gap between who-you-are and who-you-want-to-be by striving for an arbitrary goal-line, only to move it further away when you get there.
Only Christianity says that the gap has been closed for you by grace, that every demand has been met in God’s very own provision, and that it’s from this gift of grace that you strive, and not for. In other words, the Christian Gospel is the news of what God has done through His Son, and not advice or formulas for a better life. It can certainly advise you, and there are certainly divine laws that are for our good, but the motive to follow His way is because of the grace He has given us. It’s inside His preemptive approval that we can find both rest and resolve. Since we’re no longer “working off” our existence to justify who we are, we can move outward from God’s fixed love without worrying about getting better or getting results. Perhaps ironically, when you have such a supernatural confidence, you actually get better and get results.