Sunday 5 July 2009

by the fireplace: honesty

I would rather you
Flung your defiance at me
Than hide behind masks

The question for today was whether we could continue living in sin with grace as our safety pin; or whether we should continue to strive to meet the impossible ideals presented in the sermon of the mount. I don't know if I was taking a rather high-brow, hard-line stance, or maybe if the things I've been reading have been getting to me.

The problem with that kind of Grace teaching, is that it downplays repentance. It lets you go on continuing to sin, continuing to take your salvation lightly. What is repentance but turning away from sin and turning towards God? But when you live in an atmosphere that says it's okay to sin, God will forgive you anyway, that's not repentance. That's not turning away from sin, and your very salvation is suspect. (Like I said, I think I was harsh.)

It's not that you will never fall, or never ever make a mistake or sin ever again. I take it for a fact that we will never reach those ideals. Try as you might, we would always fall short, and the more we try, the more we know how far we still have to go. And yet the thing is, that doesn't mean you need to stop trying. I guess as Rachel put it nicely, the more you sin, the more you get entrenched into it. As impossible as it sounds, we need those examples and ideals before us, to keep us pressing onwards, to give an end goal.

Yet in the end, it isn't so much about how hard you try, but it's about the positioning of your heart. It isn't about how well you've gotten it all together, but where your heart is pointing you to. It's not the absolution of the Law either. Jesus did not come to abolish the Law, or nullify it. He came to fulfil it. And that fulfilment is by the offering of His Absolute Grace to cover the requirements of the law. It's not a cheap grace that tells you you can continue to do whatever you want, because He will forgive you anyway, but it's a grace that covers all that you have done, and all that you will ever do, but requires your honest, sincere response of acceptance and repentance.

How honest is your heart to you? Sometimes I think that God is closer to those who seem to have fallen by the wayside; those who are arguing with Him, than those who are holding it all prettily together in church. Because it is then that you are really actively searching for Him, looking to satisfy the real heart-needs and mind-needs. What was that verse to the church? I would rather you be hot or cold... (Revelations 3:15b) Our God is not so small that He cannot be questioned. But is your understanding of Him so small that He can't question you?

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