Jesus’ love (& the GOSPEL) is quite countercultural. From a young age (or is just me?) we are told that we will get exactly what we work for. We learn that effort leads to results and we value–dare I say worship–hard work that ends in success. Want to get into a good school–Study hard to get the good grades and the SAT score needed. Want that successful career? –Work longer hours and get the necessary internships and credentials.
With this mindset being so mainstream, it is so easy to let this same line of thinking translate over to our theology and faith (Or is it just me?).
I recently watched a documentary titled “American Gospel: Christ Alone”, a PHENOMENAL documentary that I hope to write a more detailed blog post on soon. The documentary convicted me of the fact that I allow the work-to-succeed mentality to affect my everyday relationship with God.
I know via head knowledge that my salvation is not works-based but grace-based, and that the Bible is very clear about that. My salvation into God’s kingdom is not based on my own efforts, but SOLELY in what Jesus has done for me on the cross two thousand years ago–I know that. But in so many aspects of my life, I can see that I try to make it works based and somehow try to earn God’s favor and salvation through my own good deeds (A very futile effort, by the way).
Why is it a futile effort?–Because I am so deeply flawed. I am not good, and the only person that is good is God. If I try to make my salvation entirely performance-based, I fall into the cycle of constantly berating myself for not measuring up to be “the Christian” I’m supposed to be. And that is seriously disheartening stuff. I am discouraged and feel like I’m not good enough because I keep failing to perfectly keep all the biblical commands I know of.
And here’s the thing. The truth of the matter is, I’m not good enough. In fact, I’m kind of a big mess. I won’t ever perfectly keep all the biblical commands I have learned, and I can’t (on my own accord) achieve God’s standard of holiness and perfection.
I am not good enough to save myself from the fiery depths of hell, nor will I ever be–But, Jesus is–the GOSPEL is.
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. [Ephesians 2:8-9]
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God [Romans 3:23]
The gospel, countercultural to pretty much everything else in the world, says:
You are flawed. You are sinful. You’re definitely not perfect, and you can’t achieve God’s standard of righteousness with your own efforts–And you don’t have to. You deserve hell for your sins, but instead, because of JESUS’ sacrifice, you are made right with God.
We’re so used to the mentality of “You get what you work for”. The GOSPEL is, “You got what you didn’t work for and in fact, don’t deserve at all.”
FRIENDS–because of our sinful nature, we deserve the full wrath of God. But WHILE we were still sinners, Christ died for us. He died for us not when we fixed our act, but rather while we were pretty dang screwed up–NONE of it was based on our own merit or goodness. ALL of is was God’s grace & mercy so freely extended to us.
I can’t save myself–I need to fully depend on what Jesus has done. In CHRIST alone (not Christ+my effort, not Christ+ my wealth, not Christ+ my good morals) do I found THE ONE way into the kingdom of God.
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. [John 14:6]
His love is countercultural. When our society says, achieve these certain things and you will be accepted and love, God accepted and loved us amidst our brokenness–And He still does.
How vulnerable I am to making my faith & my relationship with God all about what I do instead of what Christ has done—Jesus, please forgive me.
His love is countercultural–It’s a love that loves when we are flawed & imperfect. It’s a love that loves despite us being nowhere near good enough.
The God of the universe (and beyond) loved and loves me with a neverending love. It’s all such perfect love & perfect grace, and for that I am so very grateful.