Friday, November 19, 2010

Religious or Gospel Living?

{photo via}

I wanted to share a few thoughts that I've been learning these past few days. I've been reading "Gospel in Life: Grace Changes Everything" by Timothy Keller and it's been rocking my world!

Keller points out that there are three types of people...
Irreligious {person who completely rejects God's law and lives as they seem fit}, the Religious {obeys God's law by being really moral and righteous, so as to earn their salvation} and the Gospel centered person.

On the surface it's easy to 'raise your hand' and say that you are the Gospel centered person, I mean we believe that we are not saved through works and that our salvation is completely based on Jesus' perfect life, sacrificial death, and resurrection from the dead. However, practically I think most of us {or maybe just me?} live like the irreligious person!

The religious person tends to look to God as their teacher, example, and helper but their moral performance is serving God as their savior. The religious person seeks to remain control of their life by looking to something other than God alone as their hope in salvation. When the religious person sins they merely repent of their action, the Gospel centered person repents of their sin and of their self-righteousness.

Keller has eight examples of the Religious person vs. the Gospel centered person {due to space}

The Religious person: "My self-view swings between two poles. If and when I am living up to my standards, I feel confident, but then I am prone to be proud and unsympathetic to failing people. If and when I am not living up to standards, I feel humble but not confident-I feel like a failure."

The Gospel Centered person: "My self-view is not based on my moral achievement. In Christ I am simul iustus et peccator-simultaneously sinful adn lost, yet accepted in Christ. I am so bad that he had to die for me, and I am so loved that he was glad to die for me. This leads to deep humility and confidence at the same time."

When you fail to 'meet the standards' what's your reaction? Personally, I can't tell you how many times I have failed in my homemaking endeavors and have been in the pits. I have felt like I would never get it all together and that I was such a failure. In dealing with my lack of discipline/self-control I repented of the two things mentioned, however, at the root of the issue of feeling the devastation and the overwhelming guilt was PRIDE. Yup, I said it and it's true. I was embarrassed to my husband that I couldn't get it together and didn't have socks for him that morning or didn't have clean dishes for him to eat on for breakfast.

Yes, the sin was that the day before I should have prepared for that morning and that I was doing something that shouldn't have been done until I had the laundry etc. done {probably surfing the net} but, the shame and guilt didn't come through the lack of self-control but, came through embarrassment.

I can in that moment, repent of my lack of self-control, depend and trust in Christ to help me but, also lean on the fact that I'm not condemned before God. The religious person feels that they have sinned against God and that they must make it up to him or God won't bless them or have fellowship with them. But, the Gospel is polar-opposite. Can we make things right with a Savior based on our performance and 'making it up to Him' when we can't be saved with our works? Can we maintain or keep our salvation based on our righteous living? No, way, take that approach then you take away the need for a Savior! Trust in Christ and remember that...

I am simul iustus et peccator- sinful and lost, yet accepted in Christ!

{I don't have this 'Gospel Living' figured out... I'm on a journey and learning that my default is being the religious person that feels the need to work and make things up to God when I fail...}

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1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this very practical reminder! God bless...smiles and love to you today!