When it comes to the Gospel, the True Authentic Gospel of Grace, it is vital we remember again and again, and again and again the wondrous, indulgent Grace of God. As such, I will revisit truths and revelations throughout my posts to keep us awake, and help awaken any who may venture this way, to the Truth of our Perfect Liberty in Christ Jesus. It is such Good News you may never get over it. Perhaps we have slept long enough…
Like myself, if you are a fan of Rugby Union’s Six Nations, you will know that when the final whistle is blown in the last game, the competition is over; with Ireland crowned Grand Slam winners, yet again (ha!). No matter how many times we would run onto the field to start it all over again, we would be in a (hopefully) empty stadium with ball in hand and nothing to prove to anyone – bar a few spectators who may hold our viewpoint. We may have casually accepted the final outcome, but it maybe didn’t end the way we thought it should…we still want to play our part. Or maybe, we want to play out another ending altogether because the final result is too good to be true (especially how Ireland are playing this last year!). Such thinking, if I may be so bold, is totally irrelevant and does not effect the outcome that has already been decided. It robs our joy.
When it comes to the ineffable desire of Father to redeem His children, to restore their original innocence and awaken each to their inclusion in the very Heart of the Trinity, He is satisfied that His word, which proceeded from His mouth and fully encased His desire, was lived out and fulfilled perfectly in His Incarnate Son, Jesus Christ (the Living Word) in the Anointing of Holy Spirit. As far as Father, Son and Holy Spirit are concerned, it is a Finished Work. A work of Astounding and Supreme Grace. And therefore – surprise, surprise, surprise – we contribute nothing nor do we possess anything that could possibly add to it. You may think you do, but that sense of indebtedness and obligation is a lie born of our religious mindset to earn by our own merit a ticket to the celestial homestead where we already dwell. Religion pummels us to once again take to the field and prove our worth while everyone else is in the pub celebrating a victory that was won without our help; or approval; or opinion. We were saved by Grace while we were still in the cesspit of our sin, darkness and unbelief. That means, your sin does not exclude you nor does your self-righteousness qualify you.
Yesterday evening, I was listening to a seminary teaching concerning the finished work and our inclusion in Father’s Heart: How, if One died for all, all died. The Logos (the Living Word of God: Jesus Christ) does not return to Him void, but accomplished that for which He was sent forth. He redeemed His image and likeness in all human form. The Gospel of Grace and the Finished work have been my meditation for close to fifteen years now. Having the beautiful Grace and Love of God revealed to me brings Life: a knowing that God was determined I would live as He always intended I would live…In Christ. And therefore, in Father and in the Fellowship and Anointing of Holy Spirit. Sin was never an issue; it would never derail His heart’s sole intent. Sin had to be removed in Christ, but only to serve the higher eternal purpose of Our Loving Father to eradicate the cancer of the lies we believe in pursuing a life apart from Him.
And so, last night I sank back into my chair and found myself exhaling a quiet, “Thank you, Dad that it’s over.”
It’s over. In my whisper I was embracing the Finished Work afresh and seeing how all my self-effort, guilt, shame, striving and any condemnation I experienced from myself or others was over as a result! I have been crucified! That old stuff is dead! I am indeed a new creation. Not a revamped, upgraded old self, empowered to try harder or strive for more: completely new in Him.
My friend, whatever it may be for you, shame, fear, performance or pride be assured and fully persuaded that what God promised He has fully executed (deliberate choice of word!). It is over. There is no need to, nor any joy to be found, in resurrecting that which He has declared eternally dead. Your life is now His life in you. Remember to remember.
I sometimes wonder in Church when we partake of communion – which is to be a celebration and a remembrance of Christ’s death and resurrection (which was also ours) – how we can flip even that on its head and make it all about us again. Self focusesd. How? By adhering to another text taken out of context; a call to examine our hearts beforehand…eh?…sorry? It’s Finished! and that is why we can celebrate! Religious moralising causes us to believe this self-examination is necessary, of which Paul was not alluding to. But, we judge our hearts as against His Righteousness and then, having recalled a sin or two and muttered a prayer under our breath as petition for forgiveness, assume we are good to go…or not. If it was, or indeed is up to us, just don’t even bother getting up off your chair, for you have no chance!
If it’s not finished, then God Almighty failed miserably in His desire to save mankind. Hence, it is now up to us to save ourselves. Untouched and unredeemed by the Cross we remain locked in a prison of utter chaos and live a distorted existence in a hell of our own making, trying to appease an apparently impotent God infirm in His weakness. Whenever we attempt by whatever means, to become who we already are or have that which we already possess in Christ, we render the Cross meaningless. Do we really believe that God Almighty actually finished what He set out to accomplish to save that sheep, that coin and that son? None asked for it. None did squat to earn it. None were required to prove their merit. There was no transaction required. All were lost simply because all belonged to Him before they were lost!
Standing on the pitch all geared up and holding our rugby ball in a huge stadium may look impressive to us; for at least we have shown up to fight that good fight. But where are those who oppose us? Defeated already. Removed. Where are those to cheer us on? Hopefully celebrating an already finished and victorious game in the pub across the road having seen the folly unfolding before them. Can you hear the party? Let’s get over our selves (literally) and drop all religious pretence. Keep kicking that ball to try to gain a conversion all your own if you want, (get it?) but you will never score a single point. It will be more fun to take off your boots and head to the pub.
Oh. By the way, it’s your round. Relax…it’s all paid for!
As He is.