Q. “Since no one in this life can obey the Ten Commandments perfectly, why does God want them preached so pointedly?”
A.: First, so that the longer we live the more we may come to know our sinfulness and the more eagerly look to Christ for forgiveness of sins and righteousness. Second, so that we may never stop striving and never stop praying to God for the grace of the Holy Spirit, to be renewed more and more after God’s image until after this life we reach our goal: perfection.”
– Heidelberg Catechism
Even in the Christian life we need this first use of the law to drive us out of ourselves to cling to our Savior.
– Horton, Michael, Ordinary: Sustainable Faith in a Radical, Restless World; Zondervan; copyright 214; Kindle Edition; page 43-44
Fans eventually get burned out from trying to live the Christian life out of their own efforts. If you are depending on your own strength to follow Christ you will soon find yourself drained and defeated. Jesus promised his followers that the Spirit would come on them in power.
Followers of Jesus understand that it’s a journey they were never to make alone. Instead we keep in step with the Spirit and he supernaturally gives us the strength and the power we need.
– Idleman, Kyle; Not a Fan: Becoming a Completely Committed Follower of Jesus; Zondervan; copyright 2011; Grand Rapids, MI; Kindle Edition; page 97
Many fans mistakenly identify themselves as followers by using cultural comparisons. They look at the commitment level of those around them and feel like their relationship with Jesus is solid. Essentially they grade their relationship with Jesus on the curve, and as long as they are more spiritual than the next guy, they figure everything is fine. That’s why some fans are almost glad when it’s found out that the Christian family everyone admires has a child who rebels or a marriage that is struggling to stay together and isn’t as perfect as it appeared. The curve just got a little lower.
– Idleman, Kyle; Not a Fan: Becoming a Completely Committed Follower of Jesus; Zondervan; copyright 2011; Grand Rapids, MI; Kindle Edition; page 25
When you are at the end of your rope, when you no longer have hope within yourself, that is when you run to God for mercy. It is admittedly difficult to accept the claim that God is somehow hidden amid all of the wreckage of our lives. But those who are willing to struggle and despair may in actuality be the best at understanding the realities of the Christian life.
– Tchividjian, Tullian; Glorious Ruin: How Suffering Sets You Free; David C Cook Publishers, Copyright 2013, Kindle Edition, page 29
The last thing we need is a church that keeps sealed up in our own compartment with others of similar experiences in life. We need to be the integrated body of Christ. Younger believers don’t need another speaker to come in and tell them about dating, self-esteem, and relationships. They need to have relationships with saints who have put a few miles in the Christian life and have faced challenges to their faith and practice that the younger believers have not. And the lessons learned from these relationships need to be passed on to the rest of us in unplanned, unchoreographed, and unplugged conversations.
Horton, Michael; The Gospel Driven Life: Being Good News People in a Bad News World; Baker Books; Grand Rapids, MI; Copyright 2009; page 197
The gospel changes lives precisely because it is not about us – even our changed lives – but about Christ. The life of every Christian is filled with enough inconsistencies to disprove the Christian faith every day if it were based on our changed lives. The history of the church is littered not only with heresies and schisms but with crusades, inquisitions and the justification of atrocities in the name of Christ. Yet in all of this we can point away from ourselves, individually and collectively, to the “Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). In fact, it is only by repenting of our spiritual pride and casting ourselves ever anew on God’s mercy in his Son that we can become servants rather than masters of our neighbors.
Horton, Michael; The Gospel Driven Life: Being Good News People in a Bad News World; Baker Books; Grand Rapids, MI; Copyright 2009; page 126-127
The Spirit brings us to repentance by convincing us of sin by the law, the gospel leads us to faith in Christ, and this faith produces within us a hatred of our sin and a craving for righteousness. Since our tendency even as believers is still to turn back toward ourselves and trust in our repentance, we must be driven again to despair of our righteousness as well as our sins by the law and cling to Christ. Therefore, this is not a once and for all transition from legal repentance to faith in Christ to evangelical repentance, but a perpetual cycle that defines the Christian life.
Horton, Michael; The Gospel Driven Life: Being Good News People in a Bad News World; Baker Books; Grand Rapids, MI; Copyright 2009; page 119