Saying goodbye to the Good Guy gospel

WHEN GOD first came into my adult life I thought I had it all figured out. The Spirit shows you the forgiveness and love of Christ, and you think, “Wow! It’s so simple. I just have to be good now.”

Then life reappears in your life. Challenges rise up. Questions. So what did I do? I fell back.

No, I didn’t go back to the sinful life I was saved from. I did what I do when I’m afraid or unsure… I put my faith in the Law.  I trusted in the rules.

This kind of faith looks strong as the limits are clear. I can repeat the Law over and over, word for word. I can even live it nearly perfectly. Nearly. Except for that big hole in my heart.

What about these laws?

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. “

“You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 

The most important Laws of all! I forgot them. Or maybe I never learned. I swept them under the rug.

In trying to obey all the other laws, I discovered how far short I fell in obeying the Primary Laws.

Right and wrong aren’t always obvious. Society is a complex beast. I’m a fool if I don’t see how my history affects me. Those roots sink deep. So how do I shoot straight with a blurred view? I want to have clear answers, but my understanding of justice is so meager.

We are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags… (Isaiah 64:6)

Still, I want to be on the side of right. I want to be fair.

Jesus knew the tangled confusion of the human heart. He taught and exhorted, but he knew this would not be enough. Not even close.

Human’s have heard the Good Guy gospel forever. It doesn’t work. This gospel tells you that you should be good. Makes sense. But it’s never enough. We fail miserably. Even worse, we want to tell others how to be good at things we do poorly.

People get left out, stepped on, forgotten.

Even we who have received Christ fail. We thump our chests, hoist our Bibles, recite our creeds and cry out “Christian Values!” But we’re not really loving anyone. It’s the spirit of the pharisee all over again. We murder the prophets. Jesus warned us that this would happen.

“Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you?’ (Lucas 6:46)

So I’m trying this. I want to strip away all the rules. Not forgetting them, as they can guide me. But the Law is not my faith. My faith is a Person.

I can’t build a castle without a foundation. Many who profess the name of Jesus do that. I did. I do. It’s time to peel back the fears and worries of this world. I must let go of control as Christ did upon the cross. It’s time to focus on heavenly things.

This is not a call for a vague “peace and love” gospel. Nor is it an excuse to avoid responsibility. On the contrary, it’s an even deeper commitment. It’s a return to the raw Gospel of Jesus Christ. We’re so complicated, it had to be this way. Our Lord knew it.

For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. (1 Cor 2:2)

How did the Son of God work in my life? What did he do for me?

Christ crucified and raised from the dead. The death of sin. Eternal life.

May this truth penetrate deeper and deeper into my soul. My salvation depends on it. May the truth of Christ guide my thoughts, words, and actions. The arguments and wisdom of this world will rage until the end and then be lost in the wind. Only God’s Word is final. His Kingdom everlasting.

Let me understand, oh Lord, how to love as YOU command me.

For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. (1 Cor 1:25)

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