Wednesday, May 9, 2012

It's pretty simple really

For those of us at "Gratefully Disillusioned" the two people who, in recent years, have helped us the most to get free of religion and legalism are Wayne Jacobsen and Andrew Farley, and we are so grateful to both of them.

I was really blessed the other day with something that Andrew had written on his facebook page and thought it was worthy of a blog  update .....

He was commenting on the risk of getting into two different sorts of error when approaching Christianity and particularly the message of grace.

The first is Legalism, which he summed up in four statements

  • Forgiven, but not really forgiven - if I still need to ask
  • Free, but not really free - if I still need the law for morality
  • New, but not really new - if I am still trying to die to self
  • Christ in me, but not really - because I feel out of fellowship with Him half of the time

The second risk is to get into Licentiousness, summed up as
  • Totally forgiven so my behavior doesn't matter
  • Totally accepted so my behavior doesn't matter
  • Totally new so I never struggle, nor does it matter
  • Christ is in me, so it's all Him, none of me, and I go passive

Andrew then, for me at least, summed up the message of "True Grace" as follows
  • We are forgiven of all our sins, once for all - it is finished
  • We are dead to the law, Christ is the end of the law for us
  • Our old self died, the battle is between the Spirit and flesh
  • Christ is in me 24/7, without interruption
  • Behavior matters, it can be an expression of Christ and saves a whole lot of earthly consequences

My heart resonates so much with Andrew's comments as I reflect on the thirty eight years of my christian experience. For the first two months of my walk with Him, I was living in the reality of "True Grace" being lead and taught by the Holy Spirit, it was exciting and life giving, and I can only imagine where my life would be today, if I had of stayed on that path.

I was then introduced to the church, and for the next twenty eight years increasingly experienced the debilitating consequences of religion and legalism. Andrew's first four points above, describe precisely my daily christian experience during those years, that progressively lead to rules to live by, lack of intimacy with Father, apathy and eventual disillusionment.

It was that disillusionment over nine years ago now, that put us on a path to rediscover the loving Father and His amazing grace. The journey back to the Father has required lots of "renewal of the mind". The legalism that we had been taught, and the religion that we just imbibed, was insidious.

Wayne Jacobsen, liken's this "religious and legalism" process or spirit, that so many christian's have experienced, as similar to the "power of the ring" in Tolkien's, "The Lord of the Rings". I don't know about you, but looking back now, it sure felt like that to me. We are so grateful to Father that He has been faithful, and heard our hearts cry for freedom.

Here is a comment that someone else made to Andrew's post that. for me, sums it up.

"It's mind-boggling to me that so many churches are, in one way or another, in these deceptions. Been there, done that, and I am NOT going back into either way of thinking or living again. I spent too many years totally bogged down in introspective sin management, or being in a failure focused fog of apathy. Figuratively speaking, for me, living FREE in Christ is like finding pure oxygen 5 years ago, after living (for the better part of 35 years as a believer) in what I describe as various levels of methane gas. Can't make me go back into that way of thinking or living again, no matter what the pressure is to do so, and I'm very sensitive to the "off" smells now!!"

So there you go, we're not alone!!

Just As A Bonus!!

In his recently published book "Heaven Is Now" Andrew included a diagram that I also thought was very helpful in demonstrating how God has made His home with us "24/7". He will never leave us nor forsake us, we are "In Him" and He is in us.

"This mystery now revealed, is not Christ "falling fresh" on us now and then. This mystery is not Christ swooping down from heaven to visit us in a church meeting. No this mystery is Christ in us 24/7 without interruption. We can now allow the risen Christ, who is alive and living in us, to be Himself in and through our unique personalities. He is the only catalyst for anything of value in the Christian life". The challenge, and He has given us a free will to choose, is to allow the Holy Spirit and not our flesh to control our minds, that will then direct our will and emotions, that determines the actions we take, and the life we will live.

The truth really is pretty simple. Jesus said, it is simple enough for a child to understand, we just need to believe that what He says is true.

So I'm pressing on to discover the rich depth's of "True Grace" and experience more of  His freedom and life!!