Friday, March 24, 2006

Toward a Cross-Centered Life: Part 9

The pride in my heart is ugly, and the legalism it fuels despicable--but I praise God that He loves me too much to leave me there! The key to a new understanding has been this:

"We never move on from the cross, only into a more profound understanding of the cross."*

This is what I (and the vast majority of the church, I'm afraid) have been missing. The cross saved me. Check. Saved by grace. Got it. Now let's move on. What do I have to do now? How can I make myself a better Christian? What's the latest fad or brand of theology or doctrinal debate for me to jump on board with?

I'm finally learning I can never move on.

That's it? you're asking. That's the whole profound revelation/revolution? There must be something more. C.J. Mahaney answers you:
I can hear you asking, "But don't I need more than that?" ...in another sense the answer is yes, you do need more. You've been saved to grow, to serve in a local church, to do good works and to glorify God. But the "more" that you need as a follower of Christ won't be found apart from the cross. The gospel isn't one class among many that you'll attend during your life as a Christian--the gospel is the whole building that all the classes take place in!
I feel as though, over the past few months, the ultimate cliche-of-all-cliches light bulb has gone off on my head and heart. For all of my Christian life, I think the gospel has been "one class among many"--one thing to understand about God. Important, but merely one truth to grasp before learning other, deeper truths. How flawed and incomplete my understanding has been. The gospel IS the Christian life--the gospel IS the deepest, truest truth.

Mahaney continues:

The gospel isn't just for unbelievers. It's for Christians, too. "Every day of our Christian experience," writes Jerry Bridges, "should be a day of relating to God on the basis of His grace alone. We are not only saved by grace, but we also live by grace every day."

Not just for unbelievers! Are you getting that? The gospel is not the starting blocks that launch you to run the race. It is the shoes on your feet that enable every step. It is the ground that you tread on, the very path that leads you HOME.

I feel like I keep saying the same thing over and over--but I don't care! I want to be known as someone who can't get over the cross, can't get away from the gospel. Grace and the cross not as a memory of what saved me, a distant sight in the rearview mirror, but as my constant source of joy, hope, motivation and ability, standing before God and acceptance by Him.


*David Prior, quoted in C.J. Mahaney's The Cross Centered Life. All other quotes from the same book.

Next: Part 10 - Cross centered days

1 comment:

Elizabeth said...

What a beautiful explaination from your meditation on God's gift of grace.