Is Christianity all about grace? Is it all resting, receiving, and soaking in God’s generous, unconditional love?
Yes, yes, and yes. Our posture never changes. We are always and forever the recipients of His transformative, life-giving touch. We’ll never escape this life of utter dependence and gratitude.
But is there somehow a place for living with intentionality? Do we make decisive efforts to let grace shape and re-shape our lives as we embrace the paths of spiritual growth?
I think the answer to this question is also “yes,” but it needs to be qualified more. It’s very possible to get our eyes off “God’s part” in our relationship with Him (which is EVERYTHING), and to re-assume responsibility for our own salvation and maturity by focusing on “our part.” Continue reading Restful Intentionality
Advent begins this year today, on December 2. This is a whole season on the Church Calendar for preparing to celebrate Christ’s “incarnation” (His physical embodiment) on Christmas. And if I haven’t mentioned it before, I’m such a fan of the Incarnation. Continue reading The Incarnation
The Gospel is a declaration. It is not an invitation. It is Good News about what Jesus has accomplished. It is not a call to action for the hearer.
What does this mean?
Often in the Church, we speak about sharing the Gospel as if we are talking about asking people to cross some line of decision with us. We want them to pray to begin a relationship with the Lord. We want them to adopt some basic Christian beliefs. We want them to dedicate their lives to following Jesus, to advancing His Kingdom.
These can be noble goals. We need to know that the Gospel itself, however, is explicitly indicative. It is the announcement that God has come to us in the Person of Jesus Christ, and that in His death and resurrection He has reconciled the world to Himself (2 Cor. 5:14-21). He is not counting our sins against us. We all have a place of belonging in His open arms. Continue reading The Declarative Nature of the Gospel
I have often heard the question asked, “What does it mean to be a true Christian?” Does it mean you have been baptized and given the Eucharist? Does it mean you believe the right creeds? That you prayed to acknowledge Jesus as your Lord and savior, and you now have a personal relationship with Him? That you have had a powerful experience with God’s Spirit? Or that you do a good job at following the Bible’s teachings?
There are many definitions for what it means to be a Christian, so I am not going to try to answer that question. I’m sure there are people out there who would not define me as a good Christian, depending on their standards. That said, I think it is more important to have a clear idea about what it means to be “in Christ.” Continue reading Reborn