Grace: Jesus: Forgiveness: Foundation: Forward


The Gospel is both our foundation and motivation.

Sometimes when I hear a sermon, I think —

“How could I ever live up to this?  Why would I even want to do this?  What am I doing this for?”

I try to catch up.  It feels good on good days, when I’m a nice guy and praying hard and staying clean.  But on bad days: my quota comes up short.  I’m horrified at my utter lack of conviction.  I come up with rules to follow rules, sharpen my prayer-technique, throw lighter-fluid on my computer, buy a wardrobe for a homeless guy.

It doesn’t work.  None of this brings me any intimacy with God.  It only selfishly points at myself, and I get self-righteous or scared or a sloppy mix of both.

But then — the Gospel is preached.  I’m reminded that Jesus died for all the ways I’ve failed, and his resurrection empowers me for a way forward.  I’m reminded that I was never meant to live up to anything, but I’ve received the Spirit that breathes His life through me.

So I know how.  By his grace.

I know why.  Because of grace.

I know what for.  For Him.

The Gospel gives me a reason.  It compels me from moral duty to a higher beauty.  It moves theology from theory to adventure.  It brings me from death to life, and unfolds a life beyond.

Without Christ at the center of our faith, we are only following orders.  We are mimicking church culture.  We are victims of self-righteousness and fear.

But with Christ: We are engaged in a furious eternal romance where Jesus has wooed us, beckoned us, called us, cleaned us, changed us, and brings us all the way home.  It’s that moment when you met someone and you’re irreversibly intertwined with them for the rest of your life, except this person is God and He will explode into your heart with the force of a falling galaxy.

He is how, he is what, he is why.  It is not easy: but there is no other journey so joyful as traveling with him.  It is the intimacy I always wanted: to be known, to be loved, to love freely in return.

— J.S.

16 thoughts on “Grace: Jesus: Forgiveness: Foundation: Forward

  1. Reblogged this on Ran The Gauntlet and commented:
    Please remind the abused Christian of this. There is so much law out there to further abuse. So patiently begin by first living IN Christ yourself, THEN kindly reminding them of this Gospel. Remind them that not abuse, nor misunderstanding, nor isolation, nor fear, nor sad decisions or outcomes, can separate him/her from His love.


    1. RTG, thanks for the reblog pointing us here. Excellent post!

      JSP – Very good message! We are so easily diverted toward legalistic rules, but we can’t achieve righteousness by following external rules, nor escape guilt thru loopholes and exception clauses. We need a changed heart that comes only thru intimacy with God!


  2. OH…. I needed this right now. Thanks to Ran the Gauntlet’s reblog, I found this in my email.

    Yesterday I loaded a free book on my kindle that was about hell. After the first two or three chapters I had to delete it. It was HORRIBLE! It was so graphic and terrible, it had me questioning God’s goodness and mercy and doubting my salvation. I wanted to scream! What does “God is love” and “love is kind” even mean, in the context of never-ending torture for people whose worst “sin” is that no one ever told them about Jesus? And how are we supposed to obey the most important commandment of loving God with all of our might and being, if God terrifies us? Is that love, or is that fear? Does might make right? What about perfect love casting out fear?

    GRACE. I needed to be reminded of GRACE! There is so much in this world to mess up our thinking. We really need to do what it says in Proverbs 4:23, and guard our hearts! I am 60 years old and thought I had my theological beliefs all figured out. Apparently it does not matter how old we are and how high our IQ is, if we let the wrong thing in we can be brought down.



    1. Yes, though I believe in a literal hell, I don’t think it’s a primary motivation for anything. When hell is used that way, it actually diminishes both God’s love AND His justice. I’m reminded of Matthew 18:14, 2 Peter 3:9, and Romans 2:4.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Reblogged this on kommonsentsjane and commented:
    Yes, it is not easy. The Ten Commandments are so helpful because they will always bring you back to reality. Prayer is my favorite from the time I awake, during the day when times are troubling like now, and then when I go to bed. Prayer is so powerful!




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