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Are You Being Saved?
After the sermon this morning I had a conversation concerning the extremes that we Christians seem to continually battle. On the one hand, is the extreme of legalism where no matter what you do, or how much you do, it is never enough. At the end of the day you feel unsure of your salvation knowing that you could have done more and that you could have done better than you did.
The other extreme is libertineism (or more popularly known as “cheap grace”) where you don’t worry about about a thing since God’s got everything covered. The consequence of living in legalism is that you are continually either proud of your accomplishments or guilty for not achieving enough. Either way you become a very poor reflection of Christ who opposes the proud and sets the guilty free.
The consequence of living under “cheap grace” is that you ultimately live anyway you want to so that there is no discernible difference between you and someone who claims no belief in Jesus. This is, of course, an unacceptable option for one who claims to serve Jesus as Lord.
The concept of salvation we talked about this morning is a grateful acknowledgment of how Jesus has supplied all we need for life and godliness AND a working out of that salvation through repentance and growth in the Holy Spirit. It is truly a marvelous concept that absolutely must be recovered if we would be the transformed people of God living as Christ in our communities.
I must give credit for the “garden tools” illustration to Marjorie Thompson and her marvelous book, Soul Feast. These are her words which sparked my illustration, “Spiritual disciplines are like garden tools. The best spade and hoe in the world cannot guarantee a good crop. They only make it more likely that growth will be unobstructed. The mystery of maturation lies in the heart of the seed, and the outcome of planting depends largely on the vagaries of weather. Still, tools are important in helping to ensure that planted seeds will bear fruit. Tools can remove stones and roots, aerate the soil, weed and water the garden. Disciplines like prayer, spiritual reflection, and hospitality have the character of garden tools.”
For those who might like one good book introducing the concept of spiritual disciplines I would recommend Soul Feast. There is plenty of depth so that the book is not simplistic, but it is also extremely practical with thought provoking questions and many easy to learn exercises.