by Randy Thomas
This past Sunday Pastor Clark said something I have heard in various forms over the years but appreciated his direct and succinct way of putting it:
Jesus did not die on the cross to make your life more complicated. … Jesus wants a Bride, not a maid.
In other words, Jesus didn’t save us so we could wear orange jumpsuits with crosses on the back to spend our time on this earth cleaning up the highway to hell. He’s not standing in the highway to hell median telling Gabriel, “Yeah, I had to save them because they said the prayer the right way but I want these “barely-made-its” to catch a glimpse of where they aren’t going … maybe.”
He didn’t save us to wait until the end of
business judgment day so we could sheepishly enter eternity to dust the throne room and vacuum up all the Angel feathers (I hear they tend to molt in the spring.)
He saved us, sacrificed Himself for us, to be seated with Him. He does so simply, yet profoundly, and only because He loves us.
Another simple and powerful truth that Clark said (my paraphrase because I don’t have a transcript in front of me):
If salvation is something you could not obtain on your own and receive only by faith… then maintaining that salvation by your own effort isn’t possible either. It’s not our efforts that make us like Him, it’s receiving and falling in love with Him that transforms us into His sons and daughters. … To know Him is to love Him and love is the most powerful constraint against sin in the world.
It’s His love that constrains sin and brings order out of chaos, not our works. Let’s pick relationship over religion because that’s what He wants too.
It would, understandably so, probably shock you that I sin from time to time. I hate to break it to you like that but there just really isn’t any other way to say it. After you pick yourself up off the floor and gather your thoughts consider this; when I, a Saint (I refuse the orange jump-suit of “saved sinner”) commits a sin, I violate my relationship with God and depending on the sin, with others. I do not break the Old Testament Law because that was completely fulfilled in the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ. That was then replaced by the Law of Love found in Jesus Christ.
Jesus is my covering, not Leviticus.
So when I commit a sin of any sort (again, I know that just blew your mind … don’t cry), it’s not an impersonal rule in a book that has been broken. It won’t be rituals (liturgical/protestant) of self-punishment and the latest craze in patterned repentance that will bring about freedom and liberty. It’s going to Him, boldly and confidently, to talk to Him directly about what is going on, just as a Bridegroom and Bride who genuinely and eternally love each other would do. Confessing to one another in the context of live-giving grace empowered relationship is of course scriptural but it is for healing … not right standing or maintaining our salvation with God. That work, salvation, is finished. No matter what we do, we are *never* far (regardless of personal feeling) from His presence once we accepted Him.
And you know what? Our Heavenly Father has never, not once, shamed me. Any condemnation in my head in the past was either myself or the Adversary. God loves us, wants to Commune with us. It’s in relationship where we most bear His Image. It’s in relationship where transcendent and thorough freedom, liberty and love flourish … not religion.
Jesus wants a Bride, not a maid.