Sunday, July 09, 2006

A focus on Jesus rather than Biblical instructions

Trust God to use Steve McVey in another confirmation of things I've been thinking of. :) When I got back from vacation I was wanting to catch up on the Grace Walk Forum so I went there and saw that Steve had mentioned that he had updated his blog. So I went to the main site to view his blog and saw that the whole Grace Walk website was new, and there is now a section with past devotions. I browsed through the various devotion titles and found one entitled "Withdrawal from Flesh Sermons." If you read some of my previous posts here and also read this article, you will see that this article truly expresses where I'm coming from these days! It also goes along well with the first couple of chapters of Grace Rules that I've recently read.

There is plenty of "instruction" in the Bible, teaching Christians what it is like to live by the Spirit of Jesus, rather than by the flesh (and the flesh doesn't only mean doing "bad" things, it also means self-effort in trying to please God). This instruction is important! But we seem (in my opinion) to have an unholy, or perhaps better said, exaggerated focus on the instructions rather than simply on the Person of Jesus, and who we are in Him apart from anything we do and apart from any instructions we follow. We want to take any and all Bible verses and find some way to apply it all to what we do, rather than understanding that much of it applies simply to who we are because of what Christ has done! We can't seem to simply rest in who we are. It's as if we're never satisfied unless we are doing something (for God) all the time!

There is so much good news to dwell upon in the following short passage:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.

In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth — in Him. In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory. Eph 1:3-12 NKJV

All of this is true about us, apart from anything we've done or will ever do:

- We have been blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.
- God chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world!
- We are holy and without blame.
- We have been adopted as children... we are part of the family of God, with all its benefits!
- BY HIS GRACE... we are ACCEPTED in the Beloved, Jesus Christ!
- We have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins... according to the RICHES of His GRACE!
- The mystery of His will, which was once hidden... has now been REVEALED to us.
- We have obtained an inheritance (remember, we're now part of God's family!).

There is so much more for us to learn and grow in, besides "doing." I don't want to ever come across as saying that "doing" isn't part of the Christian life. But can't we just teach and preach Jesus, and trust that God will work in and through us by His life in us, rather than through such a huge focus on instruction?

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