Friday, September 05, 2008

Christianity is for broken people

I was quite struck by something I heard somebody say in passing yesterday, that a true Christian isn't so much someone we immediately think of as "morally upright and disciplined" and all that jazz but someone who "loves Jesus and is clinging on desperately to him". I suppose on one level, that's an obvious point, but I still think it's worth reminding ourselves again and again, because in practice, we just don't naturally think that way. We're drawn to the externals.

The point here isn't that both are mutually exclusive, as if Christians must either be morally upright and therefore Pharisees or become antinomians of some sort, using forgiveness as a crutch. Rather, it's simply that the true mark of a Christian is that he or she loves Jesus, not how well he or she is doing in life. I think Tim Keller makes this point very well in The Reason for God. The gospel we believe in is the gospel of grace, so it should not be surprising that the church is full of broken people who still have a long way to go emotionally, morally or spiritually. So it is entirely possible for someone who has become a Christian, but who happens to have a past filled with so much heartache and sorrow and insecurity that he or she on the outside will probably still look less well-adjusted that a non-Christian who happens to be disciplined and a-ok. It could be that a church could look really dysfunctional compared to, I don't know, the NGO or something. As a Christian goes on in life, he or she is looking to be more like Jesus, but he/she also knows that it would never happen on their own. All they can do is say: "Nothing in my hand I bring / Only to your cross I cling". And so they trust that the Spirit is making them more like Jesus, bit by bit, as they behold him, and as they continually get on their knees to their heavenly Father.

That's the gospel. Even as Christians, I think we still miss it all the time. So when dwelling on my insecurities, I should taste and see that the Lord is good!

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Blogger osgoon said...


12:24 am  

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