“You were not redeemed withcorruptible things,likesilver or gold, from your aimless conductreceivedby tradition from your fathers,butwith the precious blood of Christ,as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.” – 1 Pet. 1:18-19
“Foryou see your calling, brethren,that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not manynoble,are called.ButGod has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty;and thebase things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are,that no flesh should glory in His presence.But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—andrighteousness and sanctification and redemption—that, as it is written,“He who glories, let him glory in theLord.” – 1 Cor. 1:26-31
But of Him: Jesus is wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption.
I took Mary kayaking this weekend. Typical of a 2-year old, she wanted to “do it myself!” Needless to say, we didn’t get very far and she ended up pretty frustrated. Truth be told, she was a hot mess and I apologize to anyone who was expecting a peaceful afternoon on the water, but was instead subject to a full-blown temper tantrum that I’m sure was heard far and wide.
I kept thinking: If she would just relax and let her father do the rowing, we could have fun zipping all over that lake. Instead, she huffed & puffed and sweated & cried. Instead of going somewhere, we went nowhere. Instead of fun, it was… torturous. I was reminded of the disciples on the Sea of Galilee.
“Then He saw them STRAINING AT ROWING, for the wind was against them. Now about the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea, and would have passed them by.” – Mark 6:48 (NKJV) [Emphasis mine.]
“Straining” doesn’t do that Greek word justice. Basanizó literally means TORTURING.
They were literally torturing themselves by not relying on Jesus! Likewise, you and I are literally torturing ourselves by not relying on Jesus too.
Whenever we try to earn our salvation by being a “good person,” we are straining at the oars. Whenever we try to save ourselves with religious rituals, we are straining at the oars. Whenever we try to do ANY of the rowing, we will inevitably be straining at the oars.
Thinking you have anything to do with your redemption is the opposite of the gospel. Paul says that teaching telling you otherwise is not even a gospel; it is distorted and accursed, twice! (Gal. 1:7-9) Listen: we are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, by His blood, through faith. Period. (Rom. 3:24-25)
We are all in a tempestuous sea. The wind is against us. No matter how furiously we strain, ROWING IN OUR OWN STRENGTH will never get us to shore. Aren’t you tired of rowing in circles? Aren’t you tired of torturing yourself? Jesus can easily step in if we would only let Him. He calms the sea, silences the wind, and gets us safely to the other side.
My posts are generally pretty light. I believe in Jesus’s greatest commandment: Love each other as I have loved you, John 15:12. However, I don’t want to shortchange you. So, here it is, The Hard Truth:
If you are not saved, this is the best it’s gonna get. This is your heaven. So live it up. ‘Cause it’s only gonna get worse. A lot worse.
I’m talking Epic worse.
If you are saved, this is the worst it’s gonna get. This is your hell. So keep your chin up. ‘Cause it’s only gonna get better. A lot better.
I’m talking Epic better!
While you walk and breathe, it is never too late to turn back to the Father. He is anxiously waiting on the edge of the field for his child to return, Luke 15:20. But once God sanctions your heart to beat it’s last, then that’s all she wrote. Game Over. No do-overs.
Then there will be judgement. God is all about Love. But, God is also all about Justice. “For we must all appear before the judgement seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.” 2 Cor. 5:10
That’s it. No candy-coated happy-go-lucky froufrou. No God is a pushover that will let me get away with being a spoiled little brat my whole life.
God “hates with a passion” those who are wicked, Psalms 11:4-7. That’s the NIV. The KJV says, “his soul hateth” the wicked. Psalms 5:4-6 says God “detests” the bloodthirsty, the deceitful, and those who tell lies. “Evil people are not welcome. The arrogant cannot stand in Your Presence. You hate all who do wrong.”
Jesus said “If you keep My commands, you will remain in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commands and remain in His love.”John 15:10. Let us never forget that we serve a Loving God but also a God of Justice. This is serious business.
Sorry for the tough love but tickling your ear doesn’t do you any favors. And you know what, I’m not sorry. So, there.