Friday, January 26, 2007

Damnation vs. Expectation

OK, I did my usual internet browsing this morning and found myself at some organization that's trying to restore the displaying of the Ten Commandments throughout the state of Georgia. Taking nothing at face value, I decided to dig deeper and see what this groups motives are. Most of it seemed harmless enough; getting back to God's laws, reestablishing moral values, etc. I then followed your typical "Do you think that you're a good person?" salvation link, to see what their version is all about. I clicked through their questions, all put together quite nicely in a flash slideshow. I then reached the end and guess what - a full page description of how hell awaited me. And of course it was quick to inform me that this is where I was headed since "God was angry with me" for my "failing to live by His commandments".

Let's just assume that these are people that are genuinely concerned about others salvation (I mean, they have created an entire website about it after all). But scaring one into "salvation" just doesn't do the trick for me. How do I know this, you ask? Because I was the poster child for "scared of hell salvation". When I was 14, I "made a decision". That decision being I SURELY didn't want to go to hell! I'm not looking to dive into a theological debate here, but I'm convinced that the fear of hell or judgment is simply a good place to start, not the destination. So, getting back to today, this website really drove home what God's been speaking to me over the last couple of weeks. SALVATION IS ABOUT WHAT YOU CAN DO AND NOT ABOUT WHAT YOU CANNOT. Did you get that? If "Christianity" continues to be all about what I'm not allowed to do and how I have to change who I am, then we're headed for disaster. Who I am after I accept Christ is not who I was prior to. I've become a new creation - the old has passed the new has come. The Jesus in me will bring forth the transition, if I allow Him to have every part of me.

Now don't take this to the other extreme and assume I'm saying you can remain in sin and continue on living however you wish. What I am saying is this: The Bible is teeming with example after example of what I have in Christ and more importantly, who I am in Christ. I'm told that I'm a child of the King. I have been given power through the Holy Spirit. I can walk in joy and purpose, no matter what the circumstances. I am above and not beneath. I can use my hands to heal, I can overcome the cycles of sin that have kept me down for years. I have true life and peace that can never be found in "the world" and can never be taken from me. I can love others like I've never loved before, because I've experienced true love and grace by God Himself.

So you see, it's not about what I can't do at all... it's all about what I can. Let's stop pointing fingers and looking down on those that aren't where we are, doing what we're doing. We're no better and we're no worse. I've simply chosen to latch onto God's grace with all that I am, and this grace is waiting for them, too. So, rather than tell someone about the atrocities of hell, I choose to say, "Grace awaits you! Love awaits you! Purpose awaits you! See what you can have and then allow the Holy Spirit to sort out what you cannot."

Help us Lord, we're in need of Your assistance down here.


The Hoov said...

Like in luke when Jesus went to the well and asked the lady to give him water in samaria. In the middle of the day, inferring the lady was an oucast cause she didn't get the water in the morning like everyone else. People were appalled about the fact that Jesus was talking to samarians instead of walking around the city. Then telling the lady that soon the time will come where you no loner have to go to jeruslum (sp?) to worship, but you can do from anywhere. Then having dinner and making convenant with a samarian tax collector.
If that story is not proof enough that we are called to love people. We are called to bring them him. No matter who they are or what they have done. These pastors who are spreading this pompus hatred throughout their congregations make me sick.
Weather it is hating the fornicator, the Homosexual, or the guy who is an alcoholic. Who is to say what is worse or not. Who is to say that "well he is gay and that is living in sin." Jesus said that we are not the judge. We are here to love people, show them mercy and grace not persecution and damnation. This is the reason sometimes i am embarassed to be called a christian. But to be embarassed in my faith, but to associated with people who spread such hatred and separation. It sickens me.
I know i have basically said the same thing you have Joel, but this is the one topic i am the most ferverant for.
It crushes me when i hear people who call them selves christians basically stone to death someone who is different. But i know i have to love them too. But if it were not by the Grace and mercy Jesus poured out on us, we would be screwed. We would be damned to hell. He lifted the burden of following the hundreds of laws. He forgave us for the things we have and will do wrong.
But i am tired of hearing that believeing in Jesus and the cross and all that, that my salvation stillhas some stipulations. IT DOESN'T! As the waiting said, "The blood of the lamb is enough." And i am sorry i wrote such a long one. I just am very passionate about this.

Ferrari said...

I agree... it is very wrong the way some Christians come across with the "fire and brimstone" messages. I think back to the condisending girl i was in Highschool and it makes me sick...

The thing you said about taking things to the polor extreem/living how you wish. Techonally you can... however if you truly are a new creation convicttion plays a part in your actions. You might desire to live in sin, but your desire to live for Christ is stronger. Some days the sin nature wins, but God's grace catches us when we fall...