Modern Myths

Someone posted this quote recently, and the conversation was relevant so I am posting it here.

“It is a modern myth that you can know and love Him and not have a transformed life by Him.”

I am posting some of my own responses:
It is much more of a modern myth that the goal is transformation instead of knowing and loving. ‘In this is love, not that we love God, but that God loved us’ – 1John 4:10

To this came the response:

Biggest myth: That knowing and loving are separate from the transformation.

“This is love for God – That we obey his commands”
I John 5:3

Uh, we… don’t… ever… attain perfection… in knowing/loving/transformation.

But if we’re following, shouldn’t we be continually getting better at it? I’m not not one to see k/l/t as some binary (“either/or”) thing. This Romans text seems to show it more as a process, yes?
Here is my response:

I think the engine, the animus, the dunamis, to the Christian life is wholly other than trying to continually ‘get better.’ It starts with finding our treasure, hidden in the field, and then FROM JOY OVER IT (Mt 13:44) making sacrifices and life changes. It starts with saying, yes, morally, I am a miserable mess, I need rescue. It continues (read Galatians) by grace. Always there is the struggle with sin (Rom 7) but always there is no condemnation (Rom 8:1) and always there is the open door to walk by the Spirit (first half of Rom 8). Nothing, not even sin, can keep us from the love of Christ (rest of Rom 8).

My starting place and my continuing animus is that I am the one who is loved by the Father, greatly greatly loved. Sin and righteousness cannot change that or increase it. Our works are a gift (Eph 2:8-10), or fruit. As Christians we have left the universe of earning favor, of criticism and judgement. It is living in the light of that favor, that joy, that great great happiness, that the power to work works comes to us, that our life becomes transformed.

Focusing on the transformed life instead of focusing on knowing Him and knowing that He first loves me, is like the guy going and selling all he has as a discipline, and then hoping he stumbles on a treasure. It simply doesn’t work that way, it is all a sham, all a white-washed tomb. If our works aren’t coming from joy over it, they are dead ones.

Further, don’t argue with ME about it, I am nothing and I am completely stubborn in my insistence on grace and mercy and the sufficiency of Christ’s blood for me every day. Look at yourself, to see if you are living under grace, if you have found your treasure hidden, if you have a constant sense of the Father’s fondness for you. It is His kindness that leads us to repentance.
Now, some other thoughts about all of this…

Here is where I see so many getting so lost in a depressing colorless lifeless pursuit of morals and a Christian version of pharisaism. It comes through very subtle back door deceptions, very well-meaning fervor. We have an emphasis on a “transformed life”, and even on “knowing and loving God”, which are sort of pitted against each other. You can’t do the one unless you do both. The truth is you can’t do either one, they are both impossible and onerous tasks. The Christian walk is characterized as looking at Christianized versions of laws and edicts, such as ‘being in the word’, ‘praying more’, not masturbating, not skipping church, doing youth ministry so you can inflict ‘youth’ with your same disease, or whatever, and gradually ‘getting better’ at it all. I personally cannot get fired up about a spirituality that is only about looking at how well I conform to such things, frankly it is boring and bereft of life. The focus is on a transformed life, whereas I think the focus should be on God’s love for me, God’s spirit leading us, and on TRUTH! Does this mean I advocate masturbation and prayerlessness? Of course not; I feel like I am continually circling around romans 3-8, with special emphasis over and over on Romans 6:1. But really, however cleverly and poetically you put it, such as “A transformed life … ” ta da ta da ta da, if your message really boils down to, stop masturbating and pray more, how do you expect people to really get fired up about it? Pray to who? Some fairy tale invisible entity who hates me, who won’t let me love Him unless my life is ‘transformed’, which means actually that you intend to trick me into joyless colorless ‘holiness’ by getting me to fear His wrath and retribution?

Furthermore, here is what will happen in the inevitable dialog. “No – of course that’s not what I mean!” “What do you mean then?” “I mean you should have a transformed life.” “How do you know?” “Well, … .” “Oh, well, isn’t that what I was saying?” And on and on and on down the rabbit hole it goes. Of course no Christian will own up to being a legalistic pharisee, but until they are willing to say that it is faith in the blood of Christ + NOTHING ELSE that justifies us, until that translates into complete genuine freedom, until it finds a place for holiness as a fruit of being first loved by Him, until they advocate scandalous grace like Jesus and Paul and John, they ARE a legalistic pharisee. If you aren’t getting romans 6:1 (“shall we then sin all the more that grace might increase??”) put to you over and over and over by religious zealots, until you are experiencing some real persecution by the same kinds of people that persecuted Jesus, you have to wonder if you are really following in His shoes and preaching the same outstanding and delicious message that He did!

I am certain I am stepping on all kinds of toes here, so I apologize in advance, but I hope and pray that the beautiful truth that the Holy Spirit is trying to get across to the dear person who stumbles across this will come forth.

Posted in Scandalous Grace and tagged , .


  1. If living out (practicing) Torah grieves me and makes me angry, perhaps Yeshua doesn't dwell in me. He was perfectly comfortable living it out exactly as laid out in the Torah. 1Jo 3:8, 9 the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil. No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.Ro 6:18 and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.1Co 6:19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?We are no longer sinners saved by Grace. We are new creations filled with Holiness and Righteousness through Christ who lives in us! Christ is sinless and lives in our hearts therefor sin cannot dwell in us. Ro 6:6, 7 knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin.1Co 3:16 Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?2Co 5:21 He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that WE MIGHT BECOME THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD IN HIM. (Wow, we are the righteousness of God now!)Obedience cannot make me any closer to Christ. Living in my heart is as close as it gets!! If I don't desire living out God's Word like my friend, companion, Savior and Lord Yeshua trying harder isn't the answer! I need to fall in love with Him more by hanging out with Him, talking to Him, listening to Him, eating with Him and remembering His overwhelming, head over heels, relentless, passionate and eternal Love for ME! Then His Law fits and is comfortable like a worn flannel shirt.Romans 8:38, 39 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.Eph 4:24 and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.Ro 6:22 But now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God, you derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life.Tit 3:5 He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit,God doesn't give me some vague sense of being a useless POS. That non-specific condemnation is of satan. The Holy Spirit tells me exactly where I messed up and how to correct course.Heb 4:12 For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.All of my activities are either Sin or Righteous there is no middle ground. As a new righteous creation with Christ right in the middle I now perform righteously through Christ who dwells in me and He tells me about it! The Holy Spirit convicts us of RIGHTEOUSNESS!!!! I get far more "atta-boy pats" than "oh shits" because I am recreated by Him who dwells in my heart. Joh 16:8 "And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and RIGHTEOUSNESS and judgment;Ro 8:16 The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God,

  2. Robert, strangely enough, the more I dialog with you, the less problem I have with what you are saying. I obviously have come to a place where I strongly emphasize grace, I think until we enter heaven we will continue to be sinners who need it. I think that if you look at the whole scripture from the perspective of grace then all the pieces of the puzzle fall together in a way that honors the whole scripture unlike any other way of looking at it. However, I don't really think you disagree with that. This post wasn't really directed at you anyway. I know you and Betty have been in dialog, and I've been watching all of that unfold and talking to her about it. I think it is probably true that most Christians don't honor the OT enough but they don't really honor the NT much either. The largest truth is that we are loved first by the Father. I don't think you disagree with that either. My main animus is that I think I have a beautiful beautiful message, a message truly born of God and given of God, which I am working out, and I just want to live it and share it. I'm not trying to wiggle out of any kind of obedience. You have no idea how consistently I have to go to the mat for this.

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