We Drift From Grace to Performance

We thank God for saving us, for justifying us, and getting us into the kingdom, but we then drift from grace to performance.  Now that I’ve been saved, my job is to make sure God doesn’t regret His sacrifice, we think.  I needed Jesus to get me in, but now that I’m in, its up to me to make sure I stay in.

– Tchividian, Tullian; One Way Love: Inexhaustible Grace for an Exhausted World; David Cook Publishers; copyright 2013; Kindle Edition; Location 2444

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We Merely Give Lip Service to the Apostle Paul’s Attitude in I Corinthians 15:10

My observation of Christendom is that most of us tend to base our relationship with God on our performance instead of His grace.  If we’ve performed well – whatever “well” is in our opinion – then we expect God to bless us.  If we haven’t done so well, our expectations are reduced accordingly.  In this sense, we live by works, rather than by grace.  We are saved by grace, but we are living by the “sweat” of our own performance.

Moreover, we are always challenging ourselves and one another to “try harder.”  We seem to believe success in the Christian life (however we define success) is basically up to us; our commitment, our discipline, and out zeal, with some help from God along the way.  We give lip service to the attitude of the Apostle Paul, “But by the grace of God I am what I am” (I Corinthians 15:10), but our unspoken motto is, “God helps those who help themselves.”

– Jerry Bridges

as quoted by Tchividian, Tullian; One Way Love: Inexaustible Grace for an Exhausted World; David Cook Publishers; copyright 2013; Kindle Edition; Location 83

It is Not Our Sacrifice(s) That Secured Our Eternal Future!

The unintended consequence of this push, however, is that if we’re not careful, we can give people the impression that Christianity is first and foremost about the sacrifice we make for Jesus rather than the sacrifice Jesus made for us; our performance for him rather than his performance for us; our obedience for him rather than his obedience for us.  The hub of Christianity is not “do something for Jesus.”  The hub of Christianity is “Jesus has done everything for you.”

– Tchividian, Tullian; One Way Love: Inexaustible Grace for an Exhausted World; David Cook Publishers; copyright 2013; Kindle Edition; Location 55-56

It Always Comes at a Cost

When we worship at the altar of performance – and make no mistake, performance-ism is a form of worship – we spend our lives frantically propping up our image or reputations, trying to do it all – and at a cost to ourselves and those we love.

– Tchividian, Tullian; One Way Love: Inexaustible Grace for an Exhausted World; David Cook Publishers; copyright 2013; Kindle Edition; Location gf

We Need to Correct Our Natural Tendency to Dwell on “ME”

Therefore, the accountability we really need is the kind that corrects our natural tendency to dwell on me – my obedience (or lack thereof), my performance (good or bad), my holiness – instead of on Christ and His obedience, His performance and His holiness for me.

– Tchividjian, Tullian; Glorious Ruin: How Suffering Sets You Free; David C Cook Publishers, Copyright 2013, Kindle Edition, page 69

Knowing God appreciates us allows us to exchange our performance for service. Performance is done for the site and approval of others. Service is done knowing that God is watching and approving whether or not anyone else is. Performance causes us to be enslaved to others’ opinions, unable to say no, and prone to being overworked. Service frees us to do what God wants, thereby saying no as needed.

– Driscoll, Mark; Who Do You Think You Are? Finding Your True Identity in ChristThomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, copyright 2013; Page 61

There is One Further Thing We Need to Do

There is, however, one further thing we need to do.  We should relate all of these disciplines back to the grace of God so that the practice of them does not cause us to think we are in a performance relationship with Him.  We need to continually remind ourselves that the performance of these disciplines does not earn us one iota of favor with God.  His favor comes to us strictly through the merit of Jesus Christ.  We practice these disciplines, not to earn favor with God, but because they are the means God has given to enable us to pursue holiness.

– Bridges, Jerry; The Disciplined of Grace:God’s Role and Our Role in the Pursuit of Holiness; NavPress; Colorado Springs; copyright 1994; p. 217-218