Biblical Thinking 3: What is a Christian?

최종 수정일: 2020년 6월 30일

The gospel is this: We are more sinful and flawed in ourselves than we ever dared believe, yet at the very same time we are more loved and accepted in Jesus Christ than we ever dared hope.” - Timothy Keller

I have spoken to many teenagers who are uncertain of their salvation because of the way they are living. I believe this is a point of contention that exists in many people in the church, teenagers and adults alike.

When she was much younger, my sister once had terrible night terrors because of her uncertainty with her faith. From what I hear, this is not uncommon for people in the church. For some, this forces them away from the church altogether to ignore their sense of guilt, for others, it drives them into depression, and for others it drives them to pray and seek peace from God.

What is your knee-jerk reaction whenever you‘re faced with doubts about your salvation? Do you bury your thoughts and ignore God and church in hopes that it will no longer bother you? Do you fall into despair and depression, not knowing what to do? Or do you ask for peace and forgiveness in humility as David did in Psalm 51?

David had committed a sin that none of us will go as far to commit (hopefully), he forced himself on a married woman and killed her husband in order to hide the fact that he got her pregnant. What does our society do with people who commit such acts? Life in prison or even execution? No one would complain seeing such an offender put on an electric chair.

Wouldn’t you say that David had a greater reason to doubt his salvation than any of us? Don’t you think he feared for his life and considered whether he would be rejected by God as Saul had been before him? It’s no wonder David prayed these words...

Perhaps you find yourself relating to these words, ”Do not cast me away from your presence and do not take your Holy Spirit from me!”

However, this is the scary part. Even after murder and rape, David was not even close in understanding how sinful he truly was. This is because we cannot measure our sinfulness by our actions. Do you feel extremely sinful whenever you’re in a spiritual rut and fall to temptations left and right? And do you feel holy whenever you’re avoiding those sins and fighting off your usual temptatIons?

Returning to the quote by Timothy Keller, “We are more sinful and flawed in ourselves than we ever dared believe, yet at the very same time we are more loved and accepted in Jesus Christ than we ever dared hope.” Unfortunately, we are far worse in the moments when we think we’re doing well, than how we think we’re doing in the moments when we think we’re doing horrible. This is because we must measure our sins from within the heart not only those which have come out.

Imagine, that your worst moments are multiplied by a hundred and now think that you’ve been living like that for the all the days of your life. Now do you feel the need to pray like David? Now do you fear that you might actually be cast away from God’s presence like a piece of trash to the trash bin?

This is the first step of being a Christian, understanding your amazing depravity, and the second step is this: understanding God’s amazing grace. This is explained well in the second part of Keller’s quote, “...we are more loved and accepted In Jesus Christ than we ever dared hope.”

“If God’s grace is too offensive for you, it’s too offensive to save you.”

God’s grace is more scandalous and more offensive than you’ve ever dared to hope. I’ve heard many atheists challenge Christianity by rejecting to believe that God would even forgive Sinners like Hitler. “I will never believe in a God that would forgive child-molesters!” They say. And in a way they have condemned themselves, because they are actually in no better position (neither am I or you) than Hitler or even, sorry to say, child-molesters. If God’s grace is too offensive for you, it’s too offensive to save you.

Therefore, it is the tax collectors, the prostitutes, the lepers, and the people rejected from society, A.K.A ”The Ragamuffins,” as Brennan Manning liked to call them, who will be the first to enter into heaven. We see this to be true in the life and ministry of Jesus. It was the self-righteous, religious leaders who crucified Jesus and accused him of spending time with sinners, while the sinners grasped desperately at the only love that would accept them, unconditional love.

Who are you? Are you a Ragamuffin or are you a religious person? The answer to this question may as well answer whether you are a Christian or not.

Ephesians 2:8-9 tells us,“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.”

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