A Moralistic Rabbit Trail
I love the heart and honesty of my husband. When he shared his experience with Abby’s baptism Sunday, I was grateful everyone got to hear the words I often hear from him. It also sent my mind down a rabbit trail…
We often view sin as a major moral failure, like adultery or the sins of my youth, far too many to mention — I’ll just say I was in rebellion against my parents and God throughout high school and college. I think we are tempted to believe if we never fall that hard, we’re in pretty good shape. The truth is, we are in as much need of God’s grace in the midst of adultery as we are if we are furiously trying to save ourselves by reading our Bibles daily.
After citing Galatians 1:6-9 and Galatians 2:20-3:5, Matt Chandler in The Explicit Gospel says,
“The idolatry that exists in a man’s heart always wants to lead him away from his Savior and back to self-reliance no matter how pitiful that self-reliance is or how many times it has betrayed him. Religion is usually the tool the self-righteous man uses to exalt himself… Think about that: all your church attendance, all your religious activities, your Sunday school attendance medals, your journals, having a “quiet time,” reading the Scriptures — it’s all in vain if you don’t have Christ. When you read Paul’s texts together, you get a feel for his attack on the Christian, moralistic, therapeutic deism of his day. We are saved, sanctified, and sustained by what Jesus did for us on the cross and through the power of his resurrection. If you add to or subtract from the cross, even if it is to factor in biblically mandated religious practices like evangelism and prayer, you rob God of his glory and Christ of his sufficiency. Romans 8:1 tells us that there is no condemnation for us, not because of all the great stuff we’ve done but because Christ has set us free from the law of sin and death. My sin in the past: forgiven. My current struggles: covered. My future failures: paid in full all by the marvelous, infinite, matchless grace found in the atoning work of the cross of Jesus Christ.”
This is not about being good and avoiding bad.
Our sin separates us from God.
Not one of us has met the bar. We have all fallen short.
He is perfect in Holiness. Matchless.
Christ made a way for us to be reconciled to him.
In him we boast. In his work on the cross, on our behalf.
To him be the glory.
“Often times the main thing between a man and God are not his sins but his damnable ‘good’ works.” -Tim Keller