Church Without the Junk

We all have this place inside of us where we store it all. The socially unacceptable, the irreligious ideas, the things that would lose friends and uninspire people. Questions, worries and doubts that we know we can’t share, but ache to say. That place is quickly cramped and uncomfortable, tearing at its seams.

It’s hard for me to find a church. I want to, but when I go, I just end up leaving angrier than when I came. The judgment. The silly rules. The passive-aggressive jabs. It’s weird when you’ve been on the inside. You see things more clearly. Know all the abominable tricks.

Continue reading

The Trifecta of Grace

“One-way love” isn’t just a catch phrase. It’s the story of the Bible. It’s the unfolding of God’s remarkable narrative and His unrelenting pursuit of sinners. It’s basking in the rays of His continuous grace that ultimately melts our hearts.

The center of one-way love is the reality of forgiveness; “You’re forgiven!” needs be heard echoing inside all of our bloody, beating hearts.

Continue reading

New Creation and Freedom In Christ

Prison Break Part 3:

Galatians 3:27-29

Paul finishes this section of Galatians with, “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.”  This idea of “putting on” Christ is an interesting one. How does it happen? “To put on Christ according to the Gospel is a matter, not of imitation, but of a new birth and a new creation, namely, that I put on Christ Himself, that is, His innocence, righteousness, wisdom, power, salvation, life, and Spirit” (Martin Luther, Commentary on Galatians).  We are new creations — whether or not we feel like one — because of and by faith. Becoming a new creation is not done by Law or works — we can’t change the outside to make the whole person new — we must be reborn by faith.

Continue reading

The Intervention of Christ

Prison Break: Part Two

Paul continues his description of our spiritual prison break in Galatians 3:26: “But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith.” With the incarnation, death, resurrection and ascension of Christ, the time of “the Custodian,” the Law, is concluded. The Law has performed its task, bringing us to the reality of our situation (guilty, sinner) and humbling us, disabusing us of any notion that we are fine on our own and not in need of help. Having been laid to waste, we are fertile ground to receive Christ as he radically intervenes in our plight. This reception — by faith — is not a new law to answer the old Law, as Luther says: “faith is neither a Law nor a work; it is a sure confidence that takes hold of Christ, who ‘is the end of the Law’ (Rom. 10:4)” (Lectures on Galatians). Christ doesn’t bring a new law to lord over us, nor does He sit as ruler who needs to be appeased by works. No, Jesus is the end of the Law.

Continue reading