Saturday, July 16, 2011

Being Good

Little Richard, the fifties rock idol, came to the Dallas First SDA Church when I was a preteen and gave a titillating conversion testimony mostly recalling his wild and exciting fall from grace, which secretly inspired a desire in me to have such a theatrical repentance story. 
But then again... I would have to be that bad first! Something seemed wrong to me in the scenario that to have a really good testimony for the Lord, I would have to first ruin my life. 
Today, I see the American Christian culture, because of its fear of the “righteousness by works” mindset, concentrate exclusively on the negative salvation formula of:  God’s amazing grace saving a “wretch like me.” Of course, all of us find ourselves captive to sin and can rejoice greatly in a gospel that promises, “God demonstrates His own love towards us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us," (Rom. 5:8). 
We seem totally oblivious to a positive and less destructive method in which a human can discover the love of God. 
It is not only through failing and repenting that one can grow in grace, but it is also through the struggle of winning over sin that we can come to a deep insight into what Christ went through on the cross for us.

Let me give an example. A husband, who has never been such a good guy, commits adultery and is truly repentant. He asks his wife for forgiveness and comes to know Christ’s love for him through his deep sorrow for this wicked act. An understanding seizes upon his soul of what Jesus did to save him from the eternal consequences of sin.
 And that is wonderful, praise God! 

But what about the wife who choses to freely forgive? Her agonizing humiliation by receiving back a husband who doesn’t deserve a second chance may be the experience where she gains an even deeper revelation of Christ’s sacrifice. By picking up her cross and following Him, she may grasp a penetrating first-hand cross experience. And what way to identify with another who has been through the fires of hell than by going through them yourself? 
Again, I wish to stress, I am not speaking of earning salvation, only becoming aware of Christ’s love for you. 
Both the act of selfish sin and the act of selfless love can be used to bring us to the Cross, flooding us with insights into the character of God.

May I suggest being good has gotten a bad reputation by Christians because we run from the idea that we can even be good and the fear of works-righteousness. But in the end, our lives will be a lot less miserable if we can find God in being good. 

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