What about obedience, Dave?
What about obedience, Dave?
A friend emailed me after last week’s email about a) obey, b) believe, c) confess, and wanted me to address obedience. I did address obedience, but it’s not real clear, I admit. Here’s what I think about obedience:
When we try to obey, follow Jesus, live the Christian life, in our own strength, we have to dumb down the law and dumb down sin in order to do that. Like the Pharisees did. Jesus had such harsh words to say to them, because theythought they were the most religious of their day, but were clueless to what enormous failures they were, at obeying God. We do the same thing in the Church today: when we think of sin, we think of outside-the-cup stuff. When we think of bad sinners, we never think of ourselves, but people who murder, steal, cheat, are drunks, adulterers, use pornography. The requirement for obedience, is perfection. “Be perfect as I am perfect.” We dumb that down. Like God grades on a curve. So we’re always comparing ourselves to others, who are worse, so we feel good about ourselves, feel like we have some righteousness/worthiness of our own.
We believers know our performance doesn’t earn us entrance to Heaven, but we think it causes God to be pleased with us. Wrong. God is only pleased with us, because of Jesus and His imputed righteousness, not ever because of our performance/righteousness, because there is a dark side, sinful side, to the most-noble, most-selfless, most-loving deeds we ever do. We never ever do anything perfectly, sinlessly. You never hear believers confessing their sin of independence/willfulness/agenda, dissatisfaction with the imputed righteousness of Jesus. Like the Pharisees of Jesus’ day, we are clueless about how bad we really are, and even nonbelievers can spot the lack of supernatural humility in our lives, and supernatural love. We are a joke to the watching world. Fundies are the worst, because they imagine that “don’t smoke, don’t drink, don’t dance, don’t chew, and don’t associate with those who do,” earns them favor with God, because they are walking the walk. They have no clue now proud, willful, agendafied, arrogant, self-righteous, unloving, they are. There will be a ho-lotta humiliation when we all get to Heaven and discover we were so much worse than we ever dreamed. But we won’t be depressed by our egregious failures because we will no longer be proud believers. I expect we’ll be tearfully, joyfully overwhelmed by how much we’ve been forgiven.
–DumbSheepDave, enjoying the unconditional love of his Shepherd more than ever, hoping pre-believers are noticing the difference
To receive my weekly updates, email me, or search for GospelFriendships (one word) on Facebook, and “like” the page, or subscribe to my blog: dumbsheepdave.com