So, I'm back from Lake Lure. The trip was very fun.
I am definitely growing in grace. And it freakin hurts. I am not at all joking. This is the most faith I've had to exercise in order to not fall back into self-effort, re-dedication, what would Jesus do muzzles.
My first reaction when I see myself sin is to want to try harder to stop. But I realize that isn't the issue. I'm sure I've mentioned it before, but like Watchman Nee explained, a sinner isn't someone who just commits sinful acts. Committing a sinful act is only evidence the person is a sinner already. Paul Anderson-Walsh put it beautifully with the analogy of muzzling a dog who wants to bite a mail man. Putting a muzzle on the dog will stop the dog from biting the mailman, but if you take the muzzle off, the dog will still bite him. The law, fear, and condemnation is the religious muzzle. I'm so damn sick of people preaching "you gotta do this, you gotta do that! God's gonna get you!" I'm all for that teaching toward the self-righteous, but for believers in Christ Jesus, it has no place what-so-ever.
I'm sick of the country preachers preaching hell fire and brimstone to people who don't have the problem of being self-righteous. Perhaps they should listen to their own teaching and decide what in the hell they are going to believe. Is it you who pleases God, or is it Jesus? Are you willing to gamble your eternal destiny on your faithfulness? How do these hypocrites sleep at night? I am not saying I am perfect. I am saying I am imperfect.
It is my understanding (from experience) that a sinner is not drawn to church by flashy law keeping and good manners. A sinner is drawn to grace and truth. Why? Because most likely, if he has any sense at all, by looking at the ten commandments he knows he's a sinner. He doesn't need a muzzle to control him, he needs to be born again! We have preached and preached about hell, and sinners. I'm sure they understand that now. Where is the grace? I'm not talking about that coward attitude of well, grace is good, but you also need some control. Are you afraid of losing control? I know I am. I don't like letting myself go. I have to do it daily. It's called dying. I I don't trust myself in the least bit. So then I entrust myself to God. "Did I not tell you, that if you believe you will see the glory of God?"
What part of "Whoever would save his life will lose it" do we not understand? Quit trying! As my friend Sheryl pointed out to me, "You won't fall from grace, but rather you will fall into it".
Do not set aside the grace of God for one second and say, "but". But nothin'! I've tried the but's! And they don't work. Those buts do not inspire me. They do not create life in me. You know what makes me alive? When I see how broken and sinful I am and I hear God's grace say "I accept you and love you just as I love my Son, Jesus."
The more I think about this idea of condemning unbelievers, the more ridiculous it sounds. Christ died for the sins of the whole world. The world is not condemned by God anymore! It was never God who hid from man, but man from God! You can't condemn those whom God has not condemned! And if you do, you condemn yourself. As Paul Anderson-Walsh pointed out, "What God has cleansed you must not call common".
Instead urge the world into the banquet of God's grace where they will eat the flesh of Christ and drink His blood. And they no longer need a muzzle. They now posses Life.
Why is it such a chore to preach the gospel now? Because its all contradiction! We lure them in with grace, but under it, there is a hook. The hook of legalism and the ridiculous idea that we are able to please God with our efforts or else we lose the grace that we did nothing to earn. Jesus told His disciples to catch men with the truth of the net. Not rods, hooks, and lures.
The net is here if you want in it. There is no gimmicks, and no games. It is a net.