I'm reading a book right now with my staff called "The Imperfect Disciple" by Jared Wilson. Highly recommend it. It is a wonderful exposition on the failures of our "trying" to be disciples of Christ by beholding and reminding ourselves of the true gospel. It's difficult to really explain the tension between our "trying" to be disciples of Christ and actually being a disciple. Okay, so that sentence is weird. Let me see if I can explain it better.
Ah, prime example. Every year I try to read through the entire Bible. I've been successful for the past 5 years or so. This year, I'm 29 days behind schedule. 29 days! That's a leap year February! Every day I get a notice on my phone reminding me to read today's excerpt from the Scriptures or I'm doomed to continued failure and will burn eternally in hell. Alright, it doesn't actually say that, but that's sometimes what it feels like.
We roll around in that tension between Romans 7 and Romans 8. What?! You don't have it memorized? The audacity! How can you call yourself a believer! Just kidding...but do me a favor and read it real quick. Maybe not real quick. Take your time and absorb what's going on there.
Wilson says, "Every day, I wake up into Romans 7. Every dadgum day. My alarm goes off and I sit up in bed, my uncoffeed consciousness groggily gearing up for sins-both of omission and of commission. I'm engaged in the flesh before I even get my feet on the carpet."
Can I get a witness? Man, this is us in Romans 7. Living in the tension of knowing the right things to do, but constantly doing the wrong things. But then we read Romans 8:1-3, "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For GOD HAS DONE what the law, weakened by flesh could not do." Did you catch it? I wasn't sure if the all caps was blatant enough. You can't do it. You can't read enough Bible. You can't pray enough. You can't witness enough. You can't disciple enough. You can't sit in your pew enough Sundays. You just can't. All your striving and failing and beating yourself up for failing just can't earn enough credit for God. That's why Paul wrote Romans 8, to give you the good news of the gospel. You don't have to beat yourself up. You can lovingly try and fail and rest in the arms of Jesus who did the work for you.
Hey, no excuses. We should read our Bibles. Why? To get to know this God that cared so much to offer Himself on a tree for our failures. We should pray. Why? Because Jesus told us to. We should disciple. Why? Because it was the last words of our Savior before He ascended to heaven. Rest in that gospel when you mess it up, and know that your Savior isn't basing your entrance into heaven on your good (or bad) works. He's basing it on His son who has saved those that believe this gospel. Are you one of those?
When we sing "No Other Fount" this week. Remember this gospel. When the brass are rocking out on "Victory in Jesus", remember that He has delivered victory over sin through Christ. On the last verse of "Power of the Cross", remember that through His sufferings, we are free! Man, this is gonna be a good Sunday!
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Come join us at the Getty's concert and listen to our great choir and three other area churches sing with this wonderful group of musicians! Get your tickets here.