In 1517 Martin Luther posted his 95 thesis declaring salvation by grace through faith. Today the church desperately needs a second reformation of sanctification by grace. Christians are chained to a treadmill of trying to please God by their behavior, of trying harder and sinning less. If they can just discipline themselves enough and be determined enough, they are deceived into thinking they can become righteous and holy and be close to God and He will be pleased. Grace tells us that our relationship and intimacy with our Father in heaven is no longer dependent upon our behavior...or lack there of. Grace tells us we no longer have to strive to become righteous, because He has given us a new nature that is righteous. Grace tells us that it is the only thing powerful enough to deal with our sin. Grace tells us that God is already head-over-heels in love with us and nothing we do can change that. Welcome to "Formed by Grace."

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Live Like It! (5 seconds)

"You're kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity."
Matthew 5:48 The Message

Friday, November 12, 2010

John 14:21 - prescription or description? (55 seconds)

"Whoever has my commandments and obeys them, he is the one who love me..." - John 14:21

For years I read this verse wrong. And when we read it wrong it becomes a heavy load. It was for me.

I think most of us learned to read it first as a prescription on how to become one who loves God... "if I obey his commands I will become one who loves God." In other words, my obedience transforms me. I also learned to read it as the prescription of how to show God I love him. I will prove to Him that I really do love Him by working hard at keeping His commands...and the harder I work at keeping His commands, the more He will see that I love Him and the more pleased He will be with me.

But what if this is not a prescriptive statement but an identity statement? What if because I am one who loves God (my identity), the result is I now have an ability to obey, and I do obey.

If we learn to read John 14:21 this way, it becomes an affirmation of the truth that our obedience is the evidence of what God has already done in us...rather than it being what we do so that He will do something in us.