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Grunge Wood Interior

Some of us within Christianity act as though God’s only desire for our lives and the only thing we should strive for in the Christian life is the avoidance of sin.

How so, Ben?

We come to faith when we repent for our sins.

We hear sermon after sermon that drives us into introspection, searching for those deep down sins hiding below the surface.

Our prayer life is 90% confession and 10% petition (for those of you who might not speak Christianese that means 90% saying I’m sorry to God and 10% asking God for stuff.)

Here’s a thought for you.

What if the Christian life is not all about sin?

What if the kingdom of God is not the absence of sin, but righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit?

What if righteousness was not “sinless perfection” but it was simply doing the things that God had created us for?

Think of it this way for a minute.

Let’s say you’re a parent and you have some young kids that you want to take to Disney World for a vacation. However, no matter how you try to save for this trip, life keeps getting in the way. Cars breakdown, kids need clothes (no matter how many times you tell them that if they keep growing they can’t go to see Mickey Mouse.) Every time you get a little bit set aside for your big trip, you have to use it for a real emergency.

Now let’s say someone comes along and gives you an all expense paid vacation to Orlando, with weeklong passes to all of Disney’s fun filled parks. He pays to fly you there; he pays for your hotel rooms, your meals and all the passes to all the parks. He even gives you some cash to buy some Mickey junk to put in your closet and forget about when you get home. (Sounds like Pat Sajak to me – …tell them what they have won Charlie.)

So you get off the boat and head for the entrance gate – there you stand ready to go in – tickets in hand and looks of awe and wonder on every face.

You and your family walk through those gates, then you turn around and stare in wonder at the entrance. You think to yourself – I thought I would never be able to get though those turnstiles.  I am so thankful to the one who paid the price.

Then you spend the entire week that was given to you coming inside the gates – and standing there looking at the gate. You never walk down Main Street USA, you never ride Space Mountain, or Pirates of the Caribbean. You don’t visit Tomorrow Land. You just stare at the gate.

Your benefactor appreciates the daily notes of thanks, but when he realizes you stepped in and stopped he is actually upset with you. He did not send you to Disney’s magical kingdom to stand at the gate. He wanted to you go in and experience the wonder of it all.

Ok – so the analogy breaks down pretty quickly, but I hope you can see what I am saying here.

We Christians are stuck at the entrance gate. We’re stuck at the cross.

Yes – we must regularly remember the cross – that’s why Jesus said as often as you eat this bread and drink this wine, remember me. But He did not intend that we spend 30 years of Christian life sitting at the Last Supper.

There is more to the Christian life and the new birth.

Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, - Hebrews 6:1 NASB

The Father wants us to step into the fullness of Christ.

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. - Ephesians 2:10 NASB

It’s time we realized that the Father sent Jesus to bring us before the throne so we can be in His presence, so we can enjoy His company, so we can partner with Him in the work He is doing.

Lord, I am eternally grateful for the great price you paid. I am ever thankful for the way you made to come to the Father. Today, Lord, help we walk in the life you saved me for. Help me step out in the works you created for me to accomplish in Your wonderful kingdom.

ben rin and noraThanks for coming by.

Thanks Deb for getting me pondering along these lines.

See you again soon.

Ben

5

There is this crazy train of thought running around inside my head – perhaps headed for an idea train wreck, but I am sure you will let me know if I crash and burn.

Here is the thing.

God is Holy – in fact He is Holy Holy Holy

One part of holiness is separation – sort of a “set apart”ness. And God’s holiness sets Him so far apart – so completely set apart – that He is unapproachable.

Many times I am overwhelmed by a realization of the great holiness of the Father. The problem with this is that it puts me right there beside Isaiah, in Chapter 6 where he cries out

Woe is me, for I am ruined!
Because I am a man of unclean lips,
And I live among a people of unclean lips;
For my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.

Isaiah 6:5

Sometimes we forget that God has actually dealt with this problem once and for all.

Yes – His holiness can rock my world, and seemingly amplify my sin in my own eyes, but He is no longer asking me to stay back, to keep away.

No longer does only one man have the privilege (perhaps dreaded privilege) to enter the Holy of Holies.

Now you and I are called into His presence.

We are told, at the very time we feel the greatest temptation, that moment that our enemy, the accuser, is saying “if you were a real Christian, you would not even have thought of that” – right then – that is the time the Father calls us to His throne.

For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. - Hebrews 4:15-16

Do you see it?

It tells us in no uncertain terms, since Jesus has been tempted, He “gets it.” And that is why we must screw up our courage, stir up our daring, and walk right into the throne room of All Might God, King of the Angel Armies. [Tweet This]

And what will we find there? What awaits us?

… so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16

In His throne room we find, first, mercy because, we all know we need mercy . What we don't get is what we deserve! We don't get the fiery wrath of a holy God! Nope - Jesus got that at Golgotha.

And grace to help.

So there it is. Right in the middle of our sinful day, we sense the tug of the Spirit, we head over to the throne room (easy access granted to all who will be thankful and praiseful) and the Father  forgives all that has come before, and dispenses to us the exact implement of grace needed to face the temptation we are currently combating.

Don’t let the presence of temptation cause you to run for the bushes and put on your fig-leaf bloomers! Head to the throne and get the grace you need to face the day.

Ben NelsonThanks for coming by today.

Shine where you are plugged in!

Ben