Being human has never been an easy gig. Our world…this culture… this life has plenty of confusion, disappointment, isolation, pain and complications. On the other hand, we get to experience times of joy, excitement, compassion, connection and satisfaction. To be human is to mess up… to do dumb things… to fall far short of the Glory of God over and over again. It is also to laugh and share and witness the beautiful, amazing and miraculous. Why do we keep believing and persevering through the troubled times? What motivates us? Is our value based upon how much we do right and how little we do wrong? Does God love me more when I help others and less when I am selfish?
A few weeks ago Dusty shared a delightful sermon, through the magic of video, named “Two Roads, Two Rooms” by a man named John Lynch who spoke about performance based faith. One road leads to good intentions, where effort motivated by guilt requires us to manage our sins so that we can look good for each other and so find acceptance. Maybe we can even accept ourselves (what a concept). The other road leads to grace, requires humility motivated by living out our identity in God which enables us to stand with God to authentically work on our sinful nature together. I know which road/room I want to stay on but as a human being, I can easily, and often do, find myself wandering from one to the other.
Mr. Lynch explained that since Adam first looked over his shoulder and realized he was naked; humans have operated as if our salvation is based upon performance. We must live righteously to be accepted and worthy of God’s Love. While “Godly Man (or Woman)” is an ideal worth striving for, Godliness rarely manifests through human effort.
In Ephesians 2:10, the Apostle Paul writes: “For we are his workmanship, having been created in Christ Jesus for good works that God prepared beforehand so we may do them.”
I think what Paul is saying here is that genuine salvation is entirely of God and it inevitably results in a life of good works. In other words, if we understand that God’s love and acceptance is based upon who we are rather than on what we do, we will naturally live by the golden rule.
The ironic thing is that God already knows our actions, behavior and our hearts. Furthermore, God already provided the gift of Jesus to take care of our fallen human nature. This means that there is nothing I can ever do or attain that will get me closer to salvation than I am right now. If we believe that God is really who He says He is and trust that we are unconditionally loved and accepted, we will naturally operate as if we belong in God’s Kingdom. Integrity, honor, respect and consideration for one another will be second nature. Thank you Lord that you love me and for the gift of salvation that allows me to be authentic and work to be a better person.