We are back again with seven life-altering excerpts from blogs and books and sermons to help you meditate on the gospel this week.
Pro Tip: You can always skip the boring quotes.
Thanks to all the tweeters and followers who helped uncover these gems. Meditate on these and let the grace soak into your bones.
1. The best end to a rant we have ever heard:
You know what you can absolutely depend on with 100% certainty? Jesus died for your sins. If you are confused about everything else in the world, you can bet that this particular message, which happens to be Jesus’ main message to you, cuts through all the crap and is just about the only thing you really need to remember. In fact, at the last supper, He gave us this one little thing to do: communion. He said, it is to remember His death. So, remember, His death is the ONE THING He wants you to remember. The rest of it is complicated and confusing. He loves you. He died for you. Believe that and live. Remember that and you are OK.
-Jim McNeely, from his blog post Random Rants
2. It’s Been Paid.
The crime was paid for–your crime was paid for–the pardon was secured. He gets charged, you get justified, that’s the deal. That’s the way God’s currency works . . . He is currently at the right hand of God the father, having risen from the dead, and he is in session for you. He is interceding. He is pleading his blood perpetually on your behalf. “It’s been paid. It’s been paid. It’s been paid.”
-Tullian Tchividjian, From his Easter Sermon
3. What Prayer is Not:
For another thing, prayer is not “going to God” (he’s already in you), or “seeking God” (he’s already found you), or “opening yourself to God” (you couldn’t keep him out if you tried), or “becoming spiritual” (he’s already sent you the Spirit — who would rather show you Jesus than help you display your spiritual prowess). And it’s certainly not buttering God up with abject apologies for your existence — because in his Beloved Son, he already thinks you’re dandy. Prayer is just talking with Someone who’s already talking to you.
-Robert Farrar Capon, from the Foolishness of Preaching
4. The Law is no Skilled Mechanic
Jesus taught that the law’s stranglehold on humanity was finished. I do not mean that Jesus was a “liberal” in the contemporary sense. I do not mean to say that Jesus cast off the law as simply one big and needless inhibitor of human potential. Not at all. I mean that Jesus recognized the inability of the law, which shows us exactly who we ought to be, to provide its own fulfillment. Christ did not say that the law is bad. He said instead that the law is wholly good. But most importantly, he said that the law is no skilled mechanic. It cannot fix what it has broken.
-Paul Zahl, from his (game-changing) book Grace in Practice
5. C.F.W. Walther’s Law/Gospel Distinction Explained:
The Law tells us what to do, but it does not enable us to obey; the Gospel gives salvation freely and empowers joyful obedience in response. Walther was adamant that no Gospel element should ever be combined with the Law; instead, the Law should be proclaimed first, and then the Gospel should follow. The Law says “Do!” and the Gospel follows and says “Done.”
-Justin Holcomb, from this great post about LCMS founder C.F.W. Walther (who pastored down the street from where I am currently typing this)
6. Afraid of Being a Sinner
Beware of aspiring to such purity that you will not wish to be looked upon as a sinner…For Christ dwells only in sinners.
-Martin Luther, quoted in this tweet
7. This is a Huge Relief:
. . . You can go on about your life without all the religious obsession over your own purity and goodness. Nobody cares whether you’re good or not, and while God cares, he doesn’t obsess over your goodness. He did something about it. God forgave you when you didn’t deserve it, and he gave you the righteousness of his Son. You’re fixed, and you probably didn’t even know it.
Now you do!
Isn’t that a relief?
-Steve Brown, from Three Free Sins