Thursday, August 28, 2014

Jesus and A Crisp Morning

I can't get over the beautiful days that we have been having here in Raleigh. The mornings have been beautiful and crisp. The afternoons have been pleasant and lacked the humidity that plagued the height of summer. The other night in small group EVERYONE was going on and on about how much they have enjoyed this week! I'd take a gamble to say that we are going to be collectively dealing with some serious seasonal affective! But we long for these days truly. They are slower. They are cooler. They put us on a schedule. But they are also relaxing. They make me want to run 5 miles and bake something Fall-ish and wrap in a blanket for a long afternoon. They make us alert and alive!

Yet, there is better than a crisp autumn morning. There is Jesus.

Lately, I have been reading Jerry Bridges's The Transforming Power of the Gospel and have just been blown away. I'm not sure why it took me so long to understand some key elements of the gospel. But it took long enough. By His grace He is showing me more of Him and less of the imperatives I have followed all along the way. As much as I would like to say that I have stood firm on the righteousness of Christ for my salvation, that would be false. There is an element of me that is performance driven. I like to do something and be good at it. Where has this left me? Feeling like I am struggling and striving. Yes, trying to reach a standard that I just can't reach. It has left me exhausted. But that's not how it was meant to be.

Galatians 2:20 "I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live. But Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God..."  This is one of my favorite verses. We are justified at the moment we put our faith in Christ, but we are also continuously being justified. Paul says, "I now live." Bridges makes the point that Paul (applicable to our lives also) is saying that he must continuously, every day be looking outside of himself for his justification. As we live each day, we must continuously look to Christ as our justification and not our performance. We look to Christ every day for our acceptance before the Father. A verse that has always been a favorite took on new meaning for me. I/we fail to fully accept and acknowledge the work of Christ by His shed blood. A professor from Gordon-Conwell was quoted in the book; I loved what he had to say to this:

              Few [Christians] know enough to start each day with a thoroughgoing stand upon Luther's platform:
              you are accepted, looking outward in faith and claiming the wholly [external] righteousness of 
              Christ, as the only ground of acceptance, relaxing in that quality of trust which will produce 
              increasing sanctification [or transformation] as faith is active in love and gratitude.

Our justification is not based on the spiritually good days or bad days. Those are going to happen. Our justification is truth that does not shift or change and is the righteousness of Christ. To that end of fully understanding this, we can gladly sing "My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness."

There is better than a crisp autumn morning. There is Jesus. There is His righteousness. And that makes us alive!

1 comment:

  1. Love this post. And that song "my hope is built on nothing less..." So thankful for that!