What Are You Following?

Maybe you grew up in a home where you were taught all about Jesus.  Through fear and guilt you learned to keep as many of the rules as possible, hoping it would be enough to keep you out of hell.  You were taught to observe different religious traditions and rituals in an effort to appease God.  Instead of becoming a follower of Christ, you become a follower of religion.

– Idleman, Kyle; Not a Fan: Becoming a Completely Committed Follower of Jesus; Zondervan; copyright 2011; Grand Rapids, MI; Kindle Edition; page 82

You Can Always Count on Guilt

When following the rules becomes the principal focus of a church, then you can count on guilt being the primary motivator.  Jesus speaks of guilt as a weight that these religious leaders forced people to carry by making a relationship with God all about the rules.

– Idleman, Kyle; Not a Fan: Becoming a Completely Committed Follower of Jesus; Zondervan; copyright 2011; Grand Rapids, MI; Kindle Edition; page 79

The More We Try To Get Better, the Worst we Become

The tragic irony in all of this is that when we focus so strongly on our need to get better, we actually get worse.  We become even more neurotic and self-absorbed.  Preoccupation with our guilt (instead of God’s grace) makes us increasingly self-centered and morbidly introspective.

– Tchividjian, Tullian; Glorious Ruin: How Suffering Sets You Free; David C Cook Publishers, Copyright 2013, Kindle Edition, page 68

Sanctification, Not Just Justification, Requires the Gospel

Yet we are on the wrong track if we think that the gospel was only necessary for “getting saved” and not for staying saved – even for growing in holiness.  It is always “in view of God’s mercies” that we can offer ourselves as “a living sacrifice” (Romans 12:1-2).  Our sanctification, no less than our justification depends on Christ’s absolution, so that we live out of gratitude rather than guilt and out of faith rather than self-trust.  No longer trying to make God indebted to us, we receive his gift and share it with others.  The gospel makes us extroverts: looking outside of ourselves to Christ in faith and to our neighbor in love.

Horton, Michael; The Gospel Driven Life: Being Good News People in a Bad News World; Baker Books; Grand Rapids, MI; Copyright 2009; page 132

“Asking Jesus Into Your Heart” Simply Does Not Answer the Problem

The gospel is that Christ has borne our guilt and has been raised for our justification and life, interceding now at the Father’s right hand.  It is this objective work of Christ outside of us, even now defending us in heaven from every accusation of Satan, that makes the gospel truly Good News even for us as we struggle in the Christian life.  “Asking Jesus into  your heart” simply does not answer the problem identified in the Scriptures.

Horton, Michael; The Gospel Driven Life: Being Good News People in a Bad News World; Baker Books; Grand Rapids, MI; Copyright 2009; page 91-92

God’s Wrath is the Ultimate Source of All that is Wrong with Us

Whether we admit it or not, the ultimate source of our guilt, anxiety, depression, and stress is God’s wrath and we cannot wish this problem away by denying it or by numbering our sense of it by focusing on the more manageable symptoms.  There is only one way to be liberated from the condemnation of God’s law.  We have to stop rationalizing our lives, questioning God’s word, and defending ourselves.  We were created to be talkers, answering God’s speech with our own “Amen!”

– Horton, Michael; The Gospel Driven Life: Being Good News People in a Bad News World; Baker Books; Grand Rapids, MI; Copyright 2009; page 53