Saturday, November 6, 2010

I am learning this...

Only the gospel can liberate us from our enslaving thirst to control what others think about us.

Just a quick follow up. This is one of the other side effects of being the "smart kid" or the "funny guy". I began to live out of what others liked best about me. It's pretty hard to have others see Jesus Christ when they look at you if you are spending your time trying to desperately control the image other people see. It's not authentic or genuine.

In beginning to learn that my life and worth are defined by what God has done for me rather than the things I do, it blows up the need to control others' perceptions of me. I can rest in the fact that I am enough because of Christ. I find it much easier now to just be me. I have fewer desires to appear like I have it all together. In fact, I find it more liberating to admit my failures. In doing so, deeper conversations can take place because others are disarmed by my admissions of weakness and God's strength is made great when others know that he has sustained me and pursued me through selfishness and sin.

I am caring less what others think and more of what God thinks. I am learning.

The Greatest Treasure

This just fits right in with what God has been talking to me about so I wanted to post it here. From the book "Justified: Modern Reformation Essays on the Doctrine of Justification."


Scripture is of no use to us if we read it merely as a handbook for daily living without recognizing that its principle purpose is to reveal Jesus Christ and his gospel for the salvation of sinners. All Scripture coalesces in Christ, anticipated in the OT and appearing in the flesh in the NT. In Scripture, God issues commands and threatens judgment for transgressors as well as direction for the lives of his people. Yet the greatest treasure buried in the Scriptures is the good news of the promised Messiah.

Everything in the Bible that tells us what to do is “law”, and everything in the Bible that tells us what God has done in Christ to save us is “gospel.” Much like medieval piety, the emphasis in much Christian teaching today is on what we are to do without adequate grounding in the good news of what God has done for us in Christ. “What would Jesus do?” becomes more important than “What has Jesus done?” The gospel, however, is not just something we needed at conversion so we can spend the rest of our Christian life obsessed with performance; it is something we need every day–the only source of our sanctification as well as our justification. The law guides, but only the gospel gives. We are declared righteous–justified–not by anything that happens within us or done by us, but solely by God’s act of crediting us with Christ’s perfect righteousness through faith alone.


The commands in the Bible are like a set of railroad tracks. The tracks provide no power for the train but the train must stay on the tracks in order to function. The law, in other words, never gives any power to do what it commands. It shows us what a sanctified life looks like but it has no sanctifying power. Only the gospel has power, as it were, to move the train. This is why the Bible never tells us what to do before first soaking our hearts and minds in what God in Christ has already done.

The fact is, that any obedience not grounded in or motivated by the gospel is unsustainable. No matter how hard you try, how “radical” you get, any engine smaller than the gospel that you’re depending on for power to obey will conk out in due time.