We will be continuing to do all we can to expand the reach of Therefore Now Ministries as well; we see these two ministries as being very closely tied. All new study and speculation and out-loud thinking over theological issues will continue to happen on thereforenow.com, which is my main personal blog.
In the end the important transformation is that we enter the community of the beloved and redeemed. Anyone can be personally holy if they section themselves off from all society and influence. We are not called to the darkness and isolation of theoretical holiness, we are called to the light of relationship with real imperfect people.
I’m starting a new study of the Gospel of John, so I thought I may as well post some of my work here as I go. This is just an outline and some other stuff like that. Nothing earth-shattering — yet! I hope this is helpful to someone out there, though. Outline of the Gospel […]
The world says that you are not worthy of love unless you prove it — through morals, through money, through power, through fame. These are all relational currency. The cross says you don’t need currency to maintain relationship, because He paid everything. So the love of the world and the love of the Father are completely antithetical. They are opposite views of love.
The message of so-called “radical grace” or “hyper-grace” is the simple belief that Jesus has died for all of our sins, and that we have an assurance of eternal life. It is the belief that Jesus actually saves us through His blood. It is the belief that He conquers our sin and condemnation, not that we conquer our sin for Him.
The idea of surprise is steeped in grace. If a gift is truly a surprise to someone, it means they didn’t ask for it. Yet, unbeknownst even to them, it is something which they would have badly wanted if they could have thought of it. Since it is a surprise, it is something which is all done on the initiative of the giver.
The Father is going to listen to Jesus! Jesus is saying, yes, all those accusations are true, and I died for them. Are you going to say that my death was to no account, Dad? And the Father will say, of course not!
Why can’t we rest in the simplicity that the cross offers true and lasting mercy? Mercy is not simple, and there is nothing at all unimportant about the power of the forgiveness we have received in Christ. At the cross Jesus became just and the justifier; He has rolled away the stone of our reproach.
Here is the stunning thing about all of this: He wanted to do this for us! The Father was pleased to crush Him and put Him to grief, to render Him as a guilt offering (Isaiah 53:10). That is strange but for one thing: as a very great show of love for us, God Himself showed forth a very great and sacrificial gift. The greatness of the sacrifice is part of our assurance that we are very greatly loved.
I want to pause for a second here and ask a simple question. How hard could it be to open a scroll? It is a scroll. The question isn’t about insufficient force, it is about insufficient morals. If you think about it, a lamb standing as if slain is not exactly a symbol of superior force or even intelligence. Why didn’t anyone think to ask, “Why are we so hung up on worthiness? If this is so important, just OPEN IT. Who cares who opens it?” You know what is strange? Not one being said this.