On our first week of Galatians I was introduced to a young man. . . we'll call him Mic here on the blog. Mic has a Roman Catholic background and was invited to Grace by a friend. Mic hasn't missed a Sunday since and came last Sunday by himself, since his friends were out of town. God is at work in Mic's life. This week, Mic and I have been chatting via email. I asked Mic if I could share our dialogue, because I thought it might be both an encouragement and help to others. Its been a great encouragement to me. Mic is "getting grace." Are you?
Dear Pastor Theule, I had a few questions about your service today. You said " I am accepted, there I obey ". Sometimes I understand God better when I compare him to my parents. Is that saying like my parents love me and give me so much, so I obey them out of love for them? Secondly I was wondering who made it go to the next slide on the projection? I saw the two guys in back by all the sound stuff so I think them. I appreciate your time and helping me understand this topic.
Good to hear from you. . . Let me take the second question first. . . I give the guys a manuscript that has the slides embeded in it. They follow along and switch the slides when I come to them as I am preaching through the manuscript. I tried switching the slides myself and it just messed me up. . . This system seems to work pretty good for us all. I'm accepted therefore I obey VS I obey, therefore I'm accepted. The issue is are we obeying to try and earn God's acceptance or because we already have it. Ideally, as you describe, parents love their children not because of what they do, but unconditionally just because they are their kids. (Unfortunately it doesn't work that way in all families!) Children, then should not have to earn their parents love and acceptance, but obey because out of joyful gratitude. An important issue in all this is why and how God accepts us. That's where Jesus comes in. . . .God loves and accepts us not the basis of what we do, but on the basis of what Jesus has done. . . lived the perfect life and died the perfect death in our place. As a holy God, demands perfection, but only Jesus pulls that off. In him all the demands of God's holiness are met. Through faith in Him, all his perfection and righteousness becomes ours. Check out 2 Corinthians 5:21 and see if that makes sense to you. I don't know what God is doing in your life Mic, but it sure seems to me that he's doing something. Hang in there and keep asking those good questions. . . Because of and for the Gospel. . . Pastor Tim
Hey Pastor Theule,
I just had some more questions. Does God accept us without Jesus? How about in the old testament?
2 Corinthians 5:21 Christ was without sin, but for our sake God made him share our sin in order that in union with him we might share the righteousness of God.
If I got the girls right they said through Jesus we can have a relationship with God. Also they talked about animal sacrifices in the old testament and Jesus was the perfect sacrifice to end all sacrifices. I am kind of all over the place with this email but I was just wondering what you had to say on this. I hope your week is going great. Talk to you soon. Mic
Mic. . . We're going to get to some of this stuff in the coming weeks in our Galatians study, but let me give you a preview . . . Everything in the Old Testament looks forward to and is preparatory for Jesus, everything in the New Testament looks back on and explains Jesus. In the Old Testament, immediately and throughout there are promises about a Savior and Lord who would come. People were saved by grace alone through faith alone in the promises of Jesus Christ who was coming . . . ALONE. God gave the law to reveal sin and the holy character of God. God gave to the sacrificial system to temporarily cover sin and show the need for a once for all time, once for all peoples sacrifice for sin until that final sacrifice came. . . Jesus! The Bible is made up of a whole bunch of little stories all pointing to ONE BIG STORY, which is Jesus. Jesus is the center of the Bible and the center of human history. All the promises of God are fulfilled or will be fulfilled in Jesus. God's way of salvation has always been the Gospel: salvation from sin and a right relationship with God by grace alone through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone. In the Old Testament it was the Gospel promised and anticipated, in the New Testament it is the Gospel come and realized. Your next assignment is to read Isaiah 53 and think about Jesus. . . Hope that makes sense. Keep those questions coming. Tim
Hey Pastor Theule,
Thanks for your response, that makes sense. Ill read Isaiah tonight. I like the assignments, it guides my bible reading. Again I really appreciate you sharing your time and your faith with me.
Pray for Mic and others like him who are grappling with the Gospel of God's free grace and all its implications.