Wednesday, March 5, 2014

This Is Your Life. Or Not

Imagine a scene. You are a Christian who is standing, or sitting, with all of the other folks who have believed on Jesus down through the centuries. You are waiting in anticipation, when suddenly, up in the sky, your life is being played out. Every good thing you have ever done and every bad thing you have ever done is all out there for everyone to see, including your thoughts and motives. As some of the sins you have committed are shown, you begin to hang your head. The tears start to flow as you realize how disappointed God is in what you have done. You know you'll still get into heaven, but there are an awful lot of tears God will have to wipe away.

Sound familiar? It does if you grew up in dispensational fundamentalism. I can't tell you how many times that was used as motivation to get us to behave and do what was right. After all, we wouldn't want the whole world to see the shameful things we've thought and done. We were admonished that we didn't want to get into heaven by the skin of our teeth. For most of us, I think that worked for awhile. At some point though, some of us didn't buy into it enough to keep us from doing things we weren't supposed to be doing. There are still some who live their lives always looking over their shoulder, always worried that they are going to commit some sin that will later leave them ashamed before God.

I have come to believe that Scripture teaches something far, far different. I do believe that believers sin, because sin is still present with us. I do believe that we need to confess those times we sin, to God and to others. What I don't believe is the teaching that there will be some sort of cosmic movie that will display all the bad stuff we've done. While Scripture does indicate that there will some sort of reckoning for what we build on the foundation of Jesus Christ, I see nothing about all of our deeds being displayed in some sort of celestial multiplex.

Instead, I see a number of places that tell us who we are and what we have in Christ. We are united with Christ. We are in him and he is in us. Because of this union, everything that Christ has, we have.
We have his righteousness, and when our Abba looks at us he sees beloved children with whom he is well pleased. Because of the cross, our sin is no longer an issue between us and God. All of our past sins, all of our present sins, and all of our future sins are under the blood. We are told that we will one day stand without shame before God. Christ has finished the work. There is nothing we need do except believe it.

Performance based religion says, "Do, so you will stand acceptable before the Father." The gospel says, "Done. You are acceptable, because Christ is acceptable. Welcome home." Believe the gospel and throw away the movie ticket. You won't need it.


Daniel F. Wells said...

Love it, Fred!

Fred Shope said...

Thanks Daniel!

KC Bob said...

Good thoughts Fred. In truth, I am not expecting to be judged after I die. I am believing what Jesus said in John 5:24 ...

"Very truly, I tell you, anyone who hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life, and does not come under judgment, but has passed from death to life."

Fred Shope said...

Bob, I'm not expecting to be judged either. I think what we do to build on the foundation of Christ will be evaluated to see if it's lasting or not, but we ourselves will not be judged.

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