Monday, April 16, 2012

Jesus Saved Me From Being A Christian

Let me start by reiterating the fact that our beliefs and theology are greatly molded and formed by our own experiences. This is a universal truth, and it is why I am a strong believer in unconditional, unmerited grace. Because that's what I've experienced.

Most Christians I know would say that grace is unmerited and that it has nothing to do with us. However, there always seems to be stipulations. Usually right beliefs, saying a prayer, or repenting is necessary.

All of which are conditions no matter how you slice it.

When I speak about unconditional grace... That God loves and accepts you no matter what you do or believe... I usually get the same response and concern... that people will take advantage of that grace and live however they want to.

However, I just don't get it, for that has not been my experience with grace.

When I realized and came to the understanding that I could live however I wanted, sin as much as I wanted, and God would and does still love me and accept me... It changed my life.

I didn't go wild. I didn't rebel. And I didn't live like hell just because I no longer believed in hell.

I did, however, fall in love with God.

I no longer pretended to love God. I no longer felt like I had to believe in certain doctrines that made absolutely no sense to me. And i no longer felt guilty if I missed a church service or two (or more). For I was doing all of those things out fear of what God would do to me if I didn't "walk the line" so to speak.

But it was all fake. Sure I could quote scripture, ramble off doctrinal nonsense, say the sinners prayer every night before bed just in case, and even put together a mean Sunday school lesson, but it had nothing to do with how much I loved God. It was the result of how much I feared god.

Then at some point in my life Jesus saved me from all of that. No, I don't remember the date and time, for it's a daily thing for me... And no, I don't always "know that I know that I know". But Jesus saved me from "having to be a Christian".

I love Jesus, not because I fear what God will do to me if I don't. In fact, I want nothing to do with that god. As some wise author once said... "I love God because God first loved me", and I have experienced that love and that is what keeps me coming back for more.

I have caught a glimpse of the grace of God and it entices me to give others a glimpse of that same grace. To try and live out the same grace and forgiveness that I have been given.

For Grace and love changes people more than fear, guilt, and coercion ever will.

So let me tell you what I discovered not too long ago.

God loves you. God accepts you.

Accept that you are accepted. Live like you've been forgiven. Believe that you are loved.


melissa said...

"For Grace and love changes people more than fear, guilt, and coercion ever will."

i agree wholeheartedly. grace is an amazing motivator as we have seen in our parenting.

grace. grace. all is grace.

Allen said...

I agree about Gods grace I serve im out of love,I do believe there is a hell but the only people that go there are the people that reject the gospel.AS far as repenting or praying or walking the isle for Jesus or water baptism or any other thing that religion teaches people, that is not the gospel that saves people.

Paul said...

I agree... as always... with so much of what you said here. And though I do believe in a literal place of separation from God for some, I also don't see Jesus using that as His his way of attracting people to him.
So much of what we hear on TV and in many churches is all about "WARNING" people. I believe it is more about loving and directing people toward our loving savior.

My parents SHOWED me the good in marriage and never really dwelt on the marital problems that exist in our world. I followed that lead and was attracted to that mindset. Now I am raising my kids to want a godly marriage like mine. I don't waste a lot of time "WARNING" them about the consequences of a bad marriage, because I believe that showing them a good one will make them want to follow our footsteps. Showing them a good Daddy and Husband, will attract them to one some day.

Live like Jesus, Attract like Jesus....and the warnings will be far less necessary. Unfortunately to many in the churches, Warning people is easier then just living the truth.

Anonymous said...

I think you forget that it was Jesus Himself who warned about the "lake of fire." It was Jesus who called the Pharisees "vipers" and "whitewashed tombs." It was Jesus who called out the woman at the well for her sins of adultery and fornication. It was Jesus who drove the money changers out of the temple. Jesus didn't sweet talk anyone with "grace." What he did do was confront man with his sin and then provide deliverance from it. That is grace--undeserved favor from a Holy God! We can't pick and choose what parts of the Bible and what words of Jesus we like and then construct a whole "theology" around them. This is heresy and a huge falacy believed to give credibility to your own desire to be "released" from the "burden" of Christ's demands. Jesus says, "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, take up His cross, and follow Me." My prayer for you is that you will see the error of your ways and realize that your claims are only a cover up and excuse to live the way you want to without feeling the prick of conscience and the conviction of the Holy Spirit. Perhaps this "quest" for truth is because you have never experienced true grace.