J.S. Park

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Posts tagged with "holiness"

Holy, Gracious, Free

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God, I know You are holy, and standing in Your sight, I’m a wretched kid who runs and hides from You to chase these empty dreams.  I know that my selfishness has a cost, because You are holy.

Either I pay, or You do.  And You did.

I know You are gracious, because You’ve received me again and again with dozens of slain fatted calves to welcome this dozen-time prodigal back to Your home.  I know that my selfishness has a cost, because You are gracious.

Either I pay, or You do.  And You did.

So I don’t want to subconsciously twist Your grace into doing what I want — because grace gives us what is best, and choosing myself is far less. 

Because You paid, I don’t want to abuse words like “unconditional” and “struggling” and “no condemnation” and “free.”  I don’t want to equate passion with legalism.  A man with conviction is not instantly a Pharisee.  “Religion” is not always a dirty word. 

We say that “guilt, fear, and shame” are these horrible words in the Christian church.  But what else would we feel in that moment when we are standing before You with all that we’ve ever done?  Pride?  Joy?  Contentment? 

No.  I would be absolutely terrified in Your presence.  The guilt would rip me apart.  I would fall into a heap.  Like Isaiah: I am ruined.

Yet Your Son offers to take on our guilty status: not merely to struggle with sin, but to strive forward towards Him.

I forget this because I’m so busy abusing grace like a cheap dress I can wear until the guilt wears off, which is no better than the Pharisee.  I think grace is a free pass, but it cost you the blood of Your only son.

I forget what it cost to secure my freedom.
I forget that someone had to die to set me free.
I forget that I should’ve been the one on the tree.
I forget that if I keep goofing around with my sin, not even Your Son can save me: because You respect our free will to choose.
And Your Son died so I could choose You.

Thank You for not leaving the adulteress in the street to be killed.  Thank You for going to prostitutes when no one else would.  Thank You for healing the blind guy when even Your disciples tried to stop You.  Thank You for picking up those children and embracing them fully as whole souls.  Thank You for raising up Lazarus from his tomb: because if you can heal a dead guy, then most certainly you can work with me.

— J

For everyone saying grace helps us “relax,” I get what this means.  We don’t want a fear-based, guilt-driven, self-righteous kind of faith, so we need God’s unconditional acceptance to motivate us into joyful obedience.

But really: There are some things I don’t want to “relax” about.  I don’t trust my own body to just act on grace all the time.  There are moments when I must fight for a missional other-centered love, to sacrifice my own comfort to pour out generosity for my fellow human beings, to claw after purity and integrity and humility, to seek my blind spots with accountability and rebuke, to flee from immoral desires, to uppercut my pride and my selfishness, to seek holiness. 

Is that legalism?  Or can we just stop accusing passionate Christians from our own insecurity?

When I know Jesus, I know love — but love does not pamper.  It prunes and perfects and pursues.  It is a sweet embrace and a sanctifying chisel.

I quickly neglect verses about denying the flesh, crucifying the self, running the race, and carrying the cross faithfully in fellowship with the suffering of Christ.  I can’t just ignore these and pretend Jesus was saying “I’ll never stop loving you” all the time.  He probably did say that, but he said some other things too. Things that made people pick up rocks to throw at his head; things that caused people to put a spear through his chest.  He loved, and we killed him for it.  This is the sort of love I want too.

I don’t want to relax on that.  Some people are naturally good at discipline: but as for me and my house, I am putting myself on blast.

— J

"God is a holy, holy, holy god. He does have the freedom to judge you however He wants to. I don’t care how much you feel something, desire something, believe God ought to do something a certain way. He’s not bound to your feelings, your notions, your opinions. He doesn’t care what [I] conjure up in my head of what I think ought to be right or ought to be wrong. He says, ‘You’re not God. I am. And here’s what I say is right and wrong.’

"It doesn’t matter that you say, ‘He has no right to punish me. He has no right to have this type of wrath. Or a loving God can’t create a place of punishment.’ You need to understand: God does whatever He wants to do, and it’s not about you. Maybe you’ve lived this weird Disney Land life where people bow down to you and really care about your opinion. That’s not the way God is. I don’t care how powerful you are. I don’t care how much money you have. I don’t care how good you look. I don’t care how popular you think you are. You’re nothing, I’m nothing in the presence of God. … But because of the blood of Christ, He calls me His child."

Francis Chan, The Holiness Of God (April 25th, 2010)

 

Probably the hardest thing he’s ever said.

There’s a bit of guilt-tripping in this sermon, but overall Pastor Francis gives a sobering, incredible, powerful picture of God that we often do not consider. 

Francis Chan on the holiness and glory of God.

A great message.  Sometimes I just forget what it means to know such a huge God.

How can you tell when you're actually living out your faith? Is it simply the fruits of the spirit gradually becoming apparent in your daily routine or does it look more radical?

Anonymous

So it looks we’ve set up a conflict here between fruits and radical living.  In other words: Is the Christian life just about personal holiness?  Or should I be fighting crime and rescuing slaves and beating up dictators?

Let’s be clear: The American church absolutely loves the whole personal holiness thing.  Almost every Christian book in your bookstore is about transformation, renewing your mind, a better you, “Gospel Centrality,” fixing your heart, tending to your emotions, and a bunch of other self-involved disciplines.  Not all these are bad, but the focus is obvious. 

Even missional work in America is considered a personal holiness thing.  I’ve heard it preached, “In the end you’ll grow closer to God and see what He’s doing for you.”  Again, not really wrong, but you see the implication.

We’ve very much disconnected God’s saving grace with His call to glorify His name.  When we stick a wedge between Grace and Glory, we’ve lost the Gospel. A lot of theologians want to set up Jesus and Paul like they were saying different things, but NO, they were not.  Jesus and Paul would both say Jesus is both the Gate and the Road.

I’ll put it simply, in sort of a rhyme:

The saving truth of God’s grace, the story of the cross, our redemption = LEADS TO = Empowerment for the glory of God, our sacred mission.

Most of us are in love with Jesus’ words but not so much his mission.  We like meditation and transformation and revelation but not suffering with Jesus for the sake of the Gospel. We do not intuitively embrace suffering for Jesus.  Therefore, you get the comfortable confines of an American church.  It is absolutely insane to think the majority of Americans understand the NT church; it’s freaking crazy out there.

So to answer your question: I’m not sure what particular convictions the Holy Spirit has given you about your journey, but the fruits of the Spirit will include you actually fulfilling the Great Commission. 

I’m not saying it’s 50-50 — I do believe that we must be resting in the glory of the Good News to really understand our purpose and His Story, so Prayer-Praise-Scripture is super-essential.  Then as you seek for yourself all the fruits of a God-centered holiness — the love, joy, peace, purity, and all the goodness in Him — this also means you’re Going, Making Disciples, and Giving for the Gospel.

Please don’t disconnect those things, and also check your heart that you’re not merely “doing to do.”  I believe God actually does care more about who you’re becoming, but out of your being will emerge the faithful doing. 

Jesus’ authority was rooted and grounded in God Himself. That is what terrified people. They said, “Never have we heard anyone speak like this.”

The authority in Jesus’ teaching was reminiscent of that of the Old Testament prophets, who prefaced their oracles not by saying, “In my studied opinion…” Rather, the prophets prefaced their announcements by saying, “Thus says the LORD…” But in the synagogue of Capernaum, the LORD Himself, the Word of God incarnate, rose to speak on matters theological. When He opened His holy mouth, all present were stopped in their tracks, filled with amazement, and pierced by a sense of dread to hear the truth proclaimed with such transcendent finality. That is how we should respond every time we hear the Word of God. We are not listening to the word of scribes, preachers, or theologians, so our hearts should be filled with a holy dread and awe when the Bible is proclaimed.

- R.C. Sproul, He Taught Them As One Who Had Authority: St. Andrew’s Expositional Commentary (via solideogloriaa)

(Source: mikeclevenger)

The grand difference between a human being and a supreme being is precisely this: Apart from God, I cannot exist. Apart from me, God does exist. God does not need me in order for Him to be; I do need God in order for me to be. This is the difference between what we call self-existent being and dependent being. We are dependent. We are fragile. We cannot live without air, without water, without food. No human being has the power of being within himself. Life is lived between two hospitals. We need a support system from birth to death to sustain life. We are like flowers that bloom and wither and then fade. This is how we differ from God. God does not wither, God does not fade, God is not fragile.

- R.C. Sproul