Tag Archives: salvation

Contemporary vacuum

I recently…

We’re defining recently with the same loose definition as I apply to my idea of regular when I say “my regular blog posts”

… had a discussion, this discussion encompassed many, many different theological and doctrinal issues. The participants in this discussion had a somewhat varied religious backgrounds. There were Roman Catholics, somewhat contemporary Anglicans and a Baptist or two. The Anglicans came from a somewhat charismatic church… I say charismatic, but this is a relative term, they are charismatic in the sense that they have flag worship dancers up in front during worship. That is about as charismatic as it gets, there is also sporadic hand raising, but that’s really the extent of it. So compared to most Anglican churches I’ve been in (and my experience is admittedly rather limited) it’s EXTREMELY charismatic.

When the discussion swung around to salvation and what that is, and potentially what it looks like things went a little wobbly. I suggested (and I was being as broad and inclusive as I could be, possibly too broad) that given a certain time frame the believer should be able to recognize a difference his or her life from before they were saved, to after they were saved. The longer ago the salvific event was, the more stark the difference would be. However, even if we are talking about a really short time frame, the saved person should be able to recognize a change, their new nature should cause a desire for things they did not desire before, and a hate of things that they once desired. This increases as the holy spirit does his work of sanctification in the life of the believer. I was told, to a greater or lesser degree, that this was somewhat misleading, or harsh. Who was I to tell someone that if they have ALWAYS been a Christian, because they were raised that way, that they might be wrong? Well, I’m not here to tell anyone they are not a Christian, what I would like to do is help individuals work out their salvation, and to examine their faith according to what the bible describes. If a broad description of your experience is not outlined in scripture, e.g. you were always a Christian, then you need to examine, for yourself, why that is the case.

Grace is amazing, it is so sweet to hear because it took someone as wretched as me and saved me. I was lost before, but someone found me. I couldn’t see, but now I can. I was so wretched that this amazing grace first had to show me that I was in trouble, and teach my heart to fear God, and the consequences of my wretchedness, but it was that amazing grace that then showed me Christ and all my fears were relieved. How precious did that grace look, at the time that I began to believe it? Now I know that the troubles I have faced, that it was grace that brought me through them. I know that grace will lead me into eternity.

If the paragraph above isn’t shockingly obvious, then it must surely be ringing some pretty serious bells for you. It’s now a few months on from that discussion, and the thought struck me. “All of the people in the discussion would affirm that the hymn ‘amazing grace’ is perhaps iconic of Christianity”. The song encapsulates the ideas that you and I are wretches, that we were blind and lost! Something came along and first had to show us our sorry state and then show us what it had done for us. We were blind to the fact that we were wretches, and had to be show, and then we feared. But that grace showed us that there was a solution to our very desperate problem and our fears were relieved. It shows us that grace is the thing that brings us through dangers toils and snares and it is grace that will carry us to the finish! Grace does this and not us; we have no room to boast.

The hymns taught some fantastic biblical theology, things that we are losing as we move away from them into more contemporary Christian music. I’ll touch on something here that I hope to expand on in a loose series continuation of the problems with church growth. That is the idea that as we divorce Sunday services from the idea of worshiping God and learning about him through the preaching of the word, we begin to lose more than we might be aware of. Worship of God through song becomes something to make the crowd “feel”. The songs become more emotionally manipulative than they extol the virtues and wonder of God. So now we have emotive pseudo Christian spiritual songs making the individuals participating in the event that is the service, ready, hyped up and prepared for the life coaching and ego stroking that is to come. Contemporary worship (not all, but certainly a growing significant fraction) is leaving a gigantic theological vacuum. We no longer learn the very theology and doctrines that underpin a hymn like amazing grace and so it fires no imagination anymore. It doesn’t recall to memory what God has done for us, causing us to once again express our gratefulness in worship, it’s just another song to sing that makes us feel good. It’s amazing to me that I can have a discussion with people where we disagree  about quite specific things, but those same people will sing amazing grace with great fervor, never mind the underlying theology of the song is the very thing they were just denying.

If you are tired of behaving well so that in the end, God might look at your track record and allow you in because your goodness outweighs your badness and you are aware of the fact that you do indeed have quite serious badness to try to counteract. Or you are tired of trying so very hard because God expects it of you, and it’s what you are supposed to do. If you don’t do the good things then God will punish you with financial troubles if you don’t tithe, and you will get sick because you have not been praying hard enough… or your marriage will be in trouble if you don’t jump though spiritual hoop xyz. If you are weary of doing all these works, then come to the saviour in repentance and faith and he will give you rest. His yoke is easy and his burden is light!

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Comfortable Language

This is awesome



This is awesome



This is awesome



To start, I decided to use Google to find image results for the word awesome, my tricksy plan was to take the first image from the search results, and then take something that could genuinely be called awesome and contrast the two. I got tired of looking through the following results http://tinyurl.com/yajqcyl for anything actually awesome (giant disclaimer, I have ‘safe search’ on strict, so I don’t know what comes up with it off) I have to admit that the first image would have me say ‘awesome’ but you can consider that geeky weakness.



So, the first image can jokingly be described as awesome, but it certainly doesn’t actually inspire awe or wonder in me. However having plastered the word awesome onto the first image we have nowhere to go but equivalency or ‘down’ when looking at the follow up pictures, the last being truly awesome.

I was thinking the other day about how we speak, well, truth be told I think about how we speak a lot, as I am in rather a large number of ‘discussions’. “Never!” I hear you cry, in shock and amazement, yet it is true, I have the odd verbal altercation with a very few people every decade or so. Anyway, the differences, in these incredibly rare discussions often tend to end up being a difference in the definition or perception of a word or phrase. So I have prevailing ponderings about our language and the flippancy (or not) with which we bandy words about. The general trend is to exaggerate with our adjectives, or without thinking, to apply a word to something because it sounds more exciting. I have noticed a trend in myself to define an event as “the most (something or other) EVER”. While it usually is not the most anything ever at all. As a consequence, I could come home from work, having had the worst day ever, and my wife will have the sympathy of a rock, because everything is always the most/least/biggest thing EVER. Indeed, I cry wolf a lot, to stretch a story.

This train of thought lead me to consider the possible connection between the way in which we talk and the way we respond to things we read or hear. I have commented on mankind’s rather terminal (as a species) propensity for ignoring anything that isn’t an immediate and personal threat. Global warming is not an immediate threat, and water has always come out of our taps, so that is not a problem for me, but the risk of cancer from the aspartame in fake sugar must be stopped immediately. Though, this is probably a bad example, as the massive, and massively KNOWN probability of respiratory issues smokers will face are ignored. So a better example would be the immediate and personal risk to me of wearing an outfit that does not match. Utter social suicide… people will be talking for weeks. “YAHAAAA!” you cry with gusto, causing me to spill coffee on my person, “you are being ridiculously flippant with your last example there, Mr. Finger pointing blog writer!” And yet, no, I don’t think that I really am. I see more effort going into avoiding being a fashionable outcast than goes into not wasting water, or whatever other environmental issue you currently wish to focus on. Is this sad and potentially disastrous tendency caused by or, more probably, exacerbated by our desensitization to words/phrases like ‘crisis’, ‘disastrous’ or ‘global warming’. The flippancy extends further by people joking about a particularly cold day “pah, I thought we were supposed to be getting hotter, global warming is a lie. ha ha ha ha.” (Significant looks at the conversation participants to ensure they all got the joke). While I am certainly painting myself to be more serious than the threat of aspartame death from fake sugar, my idea is still worth considering.

We are bombarded constantly by all kinds of extreme adjectives that they are no longer extreme, they are the norm. We have not found any other adjectives to replace them, to ensure that the audience actually gets the urgency of any given situation. The hierarchy of words is in a shambles. I think that this is also evidenced among Christians and/or professing Christians. God is awesome, God is Love. Yet, that packet of chips was awesome and I totally LOVE those glasses on you. Can you see the problem? Oh, we don’t really love like real love. Those glasses just look really good. Mr over exaggerating blog writer must clearly be able to see that it’s just a turn of phrase. Well turns of phrase get us into hot water as well. There are so many discussions being had, right now even, about whether or not a specific scripture was allegory or literal. Whether Christians genuinely, physically and literally receive a new nature, or are new creations (2 Corinthians 5:17), or whether that is just a turn of phrase is one of the discussions. If it is literal you might expect some kind of evidence, or change in this new creation, if it is merely figurative then perhaps not. If many of these things are figurative, as many are more willing to believe, then the commandments or instructions can be interpreted in any way we choose, being more suggestions than anything else.

As Christians we say certain things, we sing certain things and it’s because that’s just what Christians do… isn’t it? It doesn’t REALLY honestly mean anything, does it? It’s just a nice song; it is not to be taken literally. The song might say something like, “I will go, wherever you will lead me” and either we don’t think about what we are saying, or we just retranslate it, within our framework of how we understand Christianity to be something along the lines of “I will claim to follow you, in spirit and mind, anything intangible, as long as there is no actual change or physical requirement from me, let’s keep this just intellectual shall we?” This invades our speech and we start to sit with a Christianity that is all allegory, figurative speech, personal interpretation that won’t break any perceptions and nothing gets taken literally. The evidence of salvation becomes intangible and open for interpretation by each individual.

Could it be that we draw the definition of the word from the event we are applying it to? Or that our perception of a phrase or word is coloured in the manner we use it most? We have a perception of “romantic husband and wife love” hugely coloured by Hollywood (thanks Hollywood for your ridiculously shallow love) and when that goes away it’s time to move on, to find the new love. We define the love we have for brothers and sisters and friends a certain way too. It is usually not a selfless love; it is selfless to varying degrees but never completely. It can by no means be considered unconditional, given enough time, a spouses love will be killed if not requited, often it has to be requited in a rather specific manner too, love is pretty conditional. Now, when we read in scripture that God is Love we can only call to mind our own perception of what Love is. Or, because we have often heard others profess a love for us, and seen these great Hollywood romances where everyone claims they will be together forever we apply that understanding of unconditional Love to God. We tend to not be so impressed, but true unconditional love is really rather impressive. It is a part of true awesomeness. It is just so awesome that I am left honestly speechless, not because ‘awesome’ has been applied too often to chips and cars, but because an honest look at the literal impact of what actual unconditional Love is (even my poor understanding of it), is just something that honestly does inspire awe. It is quite simply awesome. Most other things just can’t be considered awesome anymore.

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Somebody elses problem (ist)

The only SEP's that have an excuse

The only SEP's that have an excuse

You’re quite excited about climate change, you’ve read all the articles and you know lots of url’s. If someone comes and refutes the claim that anthropogenic climate change is real you have your argument all set out and ready to go. You know it’s real, anyone who is not barking bat crazy knows it’s real. However, many people seem rather barking bat crazy. Things take rather a long time to filter into the common man’s head, usually it has to be forced in under pressure. That pressure might eventually end up being a stonking great wall of ice, inching its way slowly down the local high street. But obviously by then it’s all too late. It often has to be something rather large and imminently obvious to humans before we wake up and realise the actual impact on us.

Our brains seem rather poorly adapted to thinking for the future. Or if we do start to take notice, it’s usually a rather separated event. The thinking is that someone better clean up this mess soon, as it’s clearly someone’s rather large problem. It’s possibly our brain matters affinity for physics, except the human consciousness seems to be of rather larger mass than our physical size would hint at, therefore it takes things of epic proportions to get us out of rest and into motion, however we tend to go back to rest without any seeming effort whatsoever. Someone should discover the law governing human actions remaining at rest and work unless acted upon by a species killing event (to be clear, it has to be OUR species that is being killed, we will kill other species with the wild and reckless abandon of a toddler feeding itself ice cream).  That right there, is it, there are two categories described within which the majority of the population sits. The naysayers or denialists and the somebody-elses-problemists.

The denialists quite obviously don’t do anything about it, but the somebody-elses-problemists are generally the largest group and they don’t do anything about it either. The somebody-elses-problemists (let’s call them SEP’S from here on out, for the sake of my ctrl, c and v keys) read the articles, know all there is to know about the issue, so they know quite clearly what other people best get doing about it, while they continue to behave exactly the way they always have. Anthropogenic climate change is like voting, it takes lots of votes for someone to win, lots of votes are made up of individual votes. Without the individual votes you can’t make lots of votes. That’s like ‘mathematics’, or sex, something we seem to understand really well. It’s also something that is done by people, you’re a people… you do something about it. With enough you’s doing something about it that makes lots and like magic… you have the climate not trying to eliminate us, and you have someone that isn’t catastrophically horrible running the country.

These two categories don’t only exist for climate change, they are evident for many large issues. People will align themselves with a cause intellectually, be ridiculously verbose about it… often at the most awkward times, with a verbosity that would make aunty gossip silent. Indeed, some people seem to be spoiling for a fight and their greatest desire seems to be to offend someone with their passionate intellectual alignment to the cause. However when you examine things closely the belief as only intellectual, there is no evidence in activities and the persons decision-making at all. Christianity tends to be that for many people as well. An intellectual assent to some cleverly put argument. However, if someone comes and refutes that cleverly put argument then you sit with a crisis of faith. If the salvation is not of God, a supernatural event orchestrated by him then that’s what you end up with, people intellectually aligning themselves, sometimes passionately, with a belief. You end up with a focus group meeting however often, usually at least once a week on Sundays, with people taking little tidbits of information on how to live a better life. That often ties in with the arrogance I spoke of in another post. Because the person now has God behind him, his personal opinion has supernatural authority, and is therefore right. His morality is quite obviously superior to anyone else’s morality. After all, how can a Godless heathen deign to compete on any kind of moral ground with a believer in God?

Sadly, the one who intellectually agrees, that sits in n amount of church gatherings gaining knowledge like a window shopper, never making any item his own, generally does not have the immovable base for morality that they think they do. Their morality, that they claim to be getting from an unchangeable source, is coloured rather heavily by their culture. The window shopping Christian looks at many items they like, remembers their location and can describe them really well. However they do not take the responsibility of purchasing those items and living with all the consequences of that responsibility.

To go back to the earlier example of climate change. There is a difference between being a card-carrying fan club member and actually being someone who’s life shows the evidence of their convictions. In the same way, there is a vast difference between being someone who has faith in their intellectual agreement with an idea, and someone who’s life bares the evidence of the fruit of obedience.

Matthew 7:21 Not everyone who says to Me, Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father Who is in heaven.

I am given to understand that in Hebrew, the method used for emphasis is repetition. If we were to emphasise this it would be to put it in italics, or bold or if we spoke it we would shout. This can be seen as saying Not everyone who emphatically declares me to be Lord. So be careful of being a SEP (you are not a polar bear, for them it really IS somebody elses problem to fix) or a card-carrying member of the Jesus fan club. Examine yourself, determine whether your life showing the obedience to the will of the Father.

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Comfortable Grace

Manflu, a powerful disease.

I have heard very many, if not most, women that moan about how their significant other is a giant ball of baby when he gets sick. It’s true, when I have flu I’m completely useless. There’s that advert for some flu remedy with the background voice going “paaaaiiin, heeeaaaadache” and then the ad reveals it is actually some male ball of sick death in the bedroom crying out his symptoms to his wife. It’s a very funny ad, I think. The men scoff and deny the picture, while the women all nod their heads knowingly. I believe they secretly think it’s worse than the advert depicts. Anyway, so I think men do behave as if they are on the verge of death if they even consider any work. It’s like something came to enforce the ‘keeping the Sabbath holy’ on pain of death. But, here’s the thing. We behave like we are about to die because we are about to die. Men are stronger than women, and our immune systems are just that much stronger again, so for a bug to defeat us, it must be one heck of a super bug. It’s so powerful it doesn’t bother with the weaker adversary that is women, it just goes for the worthy foe, man. So while women get lady flu, and it is by all means bad and what not. Men get MAN flu and that is just so much worse, we behave like we are sicker because we are. The tricky thing about this is that you have to be a man to experience it. It’s about experience, not about argument. It’s not a chauvinist thing either, even though it’s really well disguised as one. It’s a matter of fact, like the fact that men are just uglier than women. Below is the proof, 2 pictures: Normal Lady Flu.

Lady virus

Lady virus bug

 Man Flu death

Please note the tactical nukes

Please note the tactical nukes

Why mention all this deep truth and biological wisdom? Man (-kind, humans, people, us) encounters a tiny, tiny bug, and there are visible signs. Verbosity of discomfort increases exponentially, noses run, stumbling about due to dizziness and tiredness occurs, throats are sore, ears ache, and there’s the coughing up of all manner of unspeakable things.

Slimer (you remember the ghost busters?) is not actually a ghost, he is the product of manflu, just so you know

So, this most long and windiest of points is that you have visible symptoms of this encounter with something tiny. Influenza brings about symptoms, I cannot claim to have it and twinkle about as if all is well and I can actually smell the roses… or anything. If I did, you would call me a liar (or possibly accuse me of only having lady flu). In the same way, Christianity is not some kind of intellectual assent to a series of questions. I don’t believe that salvation is man looking ‘up’, seeing the creator, the God of the universe, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent and all that, and going “yah, ok, I’ll believe in you” and then just going about his daily life as if nothing was different. Or even doing all of the above and behaving as if nothing was different except for the expectation that blessing should now fall abundantly on said persons head. “But, now I believe in Father Christmas, I should get stuff!”

The previous blog post was about our unwarranted, and ‘unworkable for’, salvation. That it is only by grace, there is nothing we did, or can do to merit Gods love, or somehow increase it. However, in a similar fashion I don’t think it’s possible to have any kind of revelation along these lines and to remain the same. There are going to be symptoms of this salvation. It only makes sense that there will be. Many will be intangible, or complicatedly quantifiable by third parties. In other words other people don’t have any right to point at you and proclaim salvation or no salvation because they don’t see the things they expect. No one has the power or the authority to proclaim a man saved except God. However, scripture blatantly says to us that we should examine ourselves, test to see whether we have any kind of assurance of the proclamation of salvation. In many places scripture then gives us a mirror with which to introspect. Are these things true in your life, can you say that these things are happening and growing? If the answer is yes, then your assurance is great, if the answer is no then I would say that you should be seeking the answer as to why it is not the case.

When many preachers talk about these ‘evidences of salvation’ many people start to cry legalism. But it isn’t about doing those things to get salvation, it is about seeing those things happening in greater and greater measure and getting greater and greater assurance of being under Grace. This implies that there is no effort required, but I don’t think that is the case either. Often, the greatest evidence for me is a change of desire, you desire your sinful act, after being given the revelation of Jesus your desire changes. You no longer love the sin, you hate it. You genuinely do not want to commit the sin that once you might have secretly wanted to commit, while outwardly claiming not to want it. Then as we grow, we are sanctified in greater and greater measure and more and more things are revealed to us. I dislike the rather common preaching which essentially says that it doesn’t matter what you do in your life, if you said that magic mantra at any point in your life, you have been saved. Scripture does not teach this, it teaches self-examination, it teaches that those who hold firm to the end will be saved. It teaches that Grace is a free unwarranted gift, but this Gift brings about a new nature. A new creation, God has begun a work. This work has tangible effects! You cannot be the recipient of this free gift and not experience a fundamental change. The person that claims he is saved but is comfortable in his sins, that is not driven, encouraged and disciplined by the Holy Spirit needs to start to wonder why this is the case. Scripture would not teach that the Lord disciplines the ones he loves if this were not the case. If there is no discipline in a child’s life when they do things wrong, then you can say that they have derelict parents. God is not a derelict parent, you will fall under his loving discipline.

You will note the lack of specific scriptural reference, in this post, that is intentional. You must go and do the work, find the things in scripture that I claimed were there.

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Comfortable work

Take 2 young men, this is a list of their most in your face assets.

Young Man 1 (referred to from here on as YM1)

  1. 2009 Nissan GT-R
  2. R1 700 000 apartment in the most affluent suburb in Johannesburg
  3. Hugo boss suits
  4. Tag Heuer watches

 Young Man 2 (referred to from here on as YM2)

  1. 2009 Audi RS-4
  2. R1 200 000 apartment in a trendy up and coming suburb in Johannesburg
  3. Hugo Boss suits
  4. Guess Watches 

On the face of it, YM1 is in the lead and first impressions of YM1 will be greater than of YM2, Fancier cars and apparel. YM2 is nothing to snort at as he seems to be doing well, he’s just not as impressive. Now imagine you find out that YM1 was the son of a rich man, and all that he possesses is as a result of his father’s generosity. While YM2 has worked his way from a standard to lower middle class lifestyle, study loans and all, to get where he is. Immediately the impressions switch. YM2 becomes far more impressive than YM1. YM2 will command more respect from many people because of the hard work that he had to put in to get where he is. Even if YM2 had a VW beetle and lived in a 1 bedroom flat in poorsville, but came up from nothing. Therefore it seems respect is directly proportional to effort. 

As a species we are impressed by work, the one that had to work to get where he is, is regarded far more highly than the one that got there by the generosity of others. This is proven and highlighted rather sharply by the fact that we will avoid asking for financial help from others without the agreement being that we will pay that money back. Picture the kid from the movie ‘the grudge’ or ‘the ring’ now add cold sores… and a wart, we avoid bringing nothing in our hands and asking for a handout as violently as one would avoid that terrifying creation. We tend to avoid it because we have the impression that this is deserving of some contempt. In quite a few conversations I have been in, this principle is evident in the phrases “yes but that was given to him by his daddy” or “yes but he is a giant mommy’s boy, where do you think he got the money for that house?” You might think I am building up to some great climax in which work is what is deserving of contempt and free gifts are where the secret lies. You are right, I am… more shall be revealed later.

Because the above tends to generally be the natural reaction of most people, we strive to earn anything that we have. Which is not a negative thing, I do not mean to imply that, in the material, work is bad, or that working to earn money is a bad thing. That would be a silly position to take. What I am working towards is that man tends to do the same thing with salvation, to a greater or lesser degree depending on personal preference I guess… This is evident in any religion you pick, pretty much every religion indicates that your entry into the afterlife depends on your performance here. Generally if your good outweighs your bad, then the scales tip in your favour and you’re in. “oh no! That’s where Christianity is different” I hear you cry! Well, yes and no. That is where Christianity is supposed to be different, but as it is practiced by a great majority, it isn’t. So many people point to an event in the past where there was a prayer that was repeated. The scriptural proof and evidence that this was sufficient and guaranteed salvation is that if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9).

If a crisis of belief arises, a question is put forward to the poor individual going through said crises, of the magnitude of the sincerity of the prayer. If you really, really believed what you said, then it’s just doubt creeping in rebuke Satan, and get on with your life. The problem with the prayer of salvation methodology still gives the impression that because you did something that God owes you. You will get to heaven, present your salvation chit and now he owes you entrance. The idea that God did it all, that you could not even choose to follow him without his Grace allowing you to choose to follow him, is pretty uncomfortable to us. We want to have earned it in some way. Even if a person acknowledges that it was all Grace. Grace that called, Grace that allowed a response and Grace that saved, there develops a natural tendency to want to now earn that Grace. I don’t believe that is scriptural at all. We are told that it is Grace that calls us, that Grace allows us to respond positively and Grace that saves us. It also says that Grace calls us not because any redeemable quality is found in the called person, but only because of God’s good pleasure. The magnitude of your sincerity while praying your prayer is irrelevant. Or put another way, because you said a prayer with great sincerity does not give any assurance of salvation.

Ephesians 1: 5Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, 6To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. (KJV)

This means that the reason God chose any of his children was for his own Glory. Not because you are somehow special. This should always ring in the heads of truly regenerate Christians so that there is no boasting and no arrogance. I have an atheist friend or two, and one of the principle irritants found in many Christians for them is smugness. A communication that somehow there is a superior morality or something in them now that they are Christians, or because they are Christians. The communication extends to “if you become a Christian, you will become special, like me”. This is not always a direct verbal thing, but often tends to be impression given. Where scripture says that God found no inherent worth in you at all, there wasn’t something special in you that warranted or earned his favour. The regenerate Christian is YM1, his salvation is a free, unwarranted gift from the Father. There is nothing he did to earn it in any way at all, and there is nothing he can continue to do to work back any debt he might perceive himself to have.

Romans 12: 1I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. (KJV)

In light of everything Christ did for us (for a full run down read the rest of Romans) we are told that offering our bodies as living sacrifices is the only reasonable thing to do. And it is, if you truly believe the real gospel, and have been regenerated by God, then there is no other response that would make sense. It’s senseless for a man that ignores his children, and goes out with his friends every day, to claim to love his children. It is equally senseless for a man to claim to love God, and all that this then implies, and not offer his life as a living sacrifice.

Giant climax hinted at earlier

Works, with respect to earning salvation, are a thing worthy of contempt and the secret lies not in anything you can bring to the table; it is in a free gift that the secret lies. Nothing in our hands we bring, simply to the cross we cling.

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