Wednesday, July 22, 2015

A Life of Confidence

Today I attended a memorial service that was streamed online for one of my teachers at SIBI. His name is Gerald Paden. He was a missionary, teacher, preacher, prankster and many other things.

I say was, because now he is a participant in the Great Celebration that is Heaven.

He was also a man of extreme confidence, and who shared with others what that confidence means and looks like.

For a long time I had doubts about the security of my salvation. I wasn't exactly taught to doubt it, but there also wasn't a huge emphasis on it in class and worship growing up (or maybe there was and I missed it). In any case, I found myself far too often worrying about what would happen if I died suddenly, or if Christ came when I was in the middle of a sin. What would happen if I were to suddenly "die in my sins," so to speak.

I don't think it was until I was in Paden's class on the epistles of John that I finally grasped the shocking, visceral, horrifyingly unreal depth that is salvation in the blood of Messiah.

Understand, brothers and sisters, what it means to be walking in the light and in the blood of Christ. As John writes it, "walking in the light" is a settled practice of choice. It is not our mistakes, but our desire to follow, that define our walk in Christ. My settled practice of walking in the light as He is in the light is the choice I make to follow Him not only in the times it is easy, but to follow Him back out of the mire when I have totally blown it.

This is what is so shocking about it. That not only would God forgive our sins by Jesus' sacrifice, but that He would keep on forgiving us when we utterly fail Him after choosing to follow Him. Further, not only does He keep on forgiving, He continues to allow us to come before Him on His throne to make known what we need of Him. He continues to listen to us, to love us, to cherish us even when we have made a complete and utter disaster of it all because of the saturating nature of the blood of the Lamb.

That is what is so visceral about it all. God not only puts us into His family and His church, but He does so by replacing our blood on the altar with the blood of Christ. In the Old Testament, the worshiper would slay his own sacrifice in agreement with God that his sins deserved death. The animal's blood took the place of the worshiper's on the altar. This is how Christ saved us. It was our blood that should have been spilled on the cross, and in putting our faith in Christ for our salvation, we agree with God to the point we must cry out "Crucify!" with the crowd before Pilate. In doing so, we agree that God's judgment is right, and that Christ is the only one who can atone for what we have done.

All of this is why the depth of salvation is so horrifyingly unreal, and why we can have such confidence. It goes beyond "Jesus saved me," to "Jesus SAVED me." We will not have confidence in our salvation until we realize the depth of what has been done for us on our behalf. Hebrews 7:25 says, 
"Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them."
Consider that.

In the Gospel of John 21:30-31 John writes,
"And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing, you may have life in His name."
Then at the end of I John in 5:13 he writes,
"These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God."
Jesus does not desire us to live in a fearful expectation of judgment. That type of life is reserved for those who do not place their trust in Him. We are those who can live a life of confidence, because His Word has the final, authoritative say in everything we know and see and feel and believe. It is because He is true, because He is just and because He is merciful and loving and great that we can live our lives doing the best we can for His glory. Not so that we will earn our way to His side, but because He has already earned our way to His side for us.

That is what is means to live in confidence.

That is what it means to live in Him.

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