He knows it all and still loves

BeInTheLight

How unutterably sweet is the knowledge that our Heavenly Father knows us completely. No talebearer can inform on us; no enemy can make an accusation stick; no forgotten skeleton can come tumbling out of some hidden closet to abash us and expose our past; no unsuspected weakness in our characters can come to light to turn God away from us, since He knew us utterly before we knew him and called us to Himself in the full knowledge of everything that was against us.

–A. W. Tozer (1897 – 1963)

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Firmly in fellowship

Within the last century, the term fellowship has evolved into a construct that Christians use to talk about feelings of closeness to God at a given time. It’s a framework for relating to God that, unfortunately, we tend to develop from our interpersonal relationships. If we’ve sinned against a friend, family member, or coworker, we feel that our relationship with them is strained or broken until we apologize, are forgiven, and then restored to previous communication.

In the Scriptures, fellowship with God is not described in this way. Instead, a person is either in fellowship with God and therefore saved, or out of fellowship and therefore lost.

In the ten instances of the word fellowship
in the epistles, not once is there
a moving “in and out of fellowship” with God
based on recent performance.

Of course, we still mature spiritually. And when we sin, consequences hit us. We can’t escape the laws of the land. We also can’t escape the reactions of others. If we sin against someone, we may experience difficult circumstances and our own disappointment with our choice. But we shouldn’t mistake these earthly consequences for moving out of fellowship with God.

Our fellowship is stable and certain. God’s face is always toward us. When we sin, he’s there every step of the way to help us learn from our mistake. How arrogant it is to assume that we could escape sin alone, while out of fellowship, in order to get back in!

If we buy the lie that God sits in a swivel chair, ready to rotate his face away from us when we sin, then we proclaim a God of conditional love and conditional fellowship. But this is to ignore the work of Jesus, who on the cross cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46). Jesus was out of fellowship with his Father so we would never be.

–Andrew Farley
(emphasis added)

The sublime wonder of living

The surest way to suppress
our ability to understand
the meaning of God
and the importance of worship
is to take things for granted.
Indifference to
the sublime wonder of living
is the root of sin.

–Abraham Joshua Heschel
(1907 – 1972)

Negation or celebration?

In a break with the mystical heritage of the church, [Dietrich] Bonhoeffer maintained that Christianity involves not the negation of earthly desires but their celebration and sanctification.

Sin is not the natural but the unnatural, not
the human but the inhuman.

Whereas in his earlier writings he portrayed the things on earth as temptations and snares leading us to forgetfulness of God, he now regarded them as welcome gifts from God, since they serve human preservation and happiness. He even claimed that God can be found in earthly bliss as well as in the church…

Sin is not only an affront to God
but a putting down of humanity.

Sin is, in the last analysis, inhumanity, and salvation is the realization of true humanity…

–Donald G. Bloesch

Relentless love

God’s love is not
wearied by our sins
and is relentless in
its determination that
we be cured at whatever
cost to us or Him.

–C. S. Lewis

Crucial choices

People often think of Christian morality as a kind of bargain in which God says, ‘If you keep a lot of rules, I’ll reward you, and if you don’t I’ll do the other thing.’ I do not think that is the best way of looking at it. I would much rather say that every time you make a choice you are turning the central part of you, the part of you that chooses, into something a little different from what it was before. And taking your life as a whole, with all your innumerable choices, all your life long you are slowly turning this central thing into a Heaven creature or into a hellish creature: either into a creature that is in harmony with God, and with other creatures, and with itself, or else into one that is in a state of war and hatred with God, and with its fellow creatures, and with itself. To be the one kind of creature is Heaven: that is, it is joy, and peace, and knowledge, and power. To be the other means madness, horror, idiocy, rage, impotence, and eternal loneliness. Each of us at each moment is progressing to the one state or the other. 

–C. S. Lewis

Published in: on 02/15/2012 at 6:41  Leave a Comment  
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Withdrawing from love

All sin is rooted in the failure of love. All sin is a withdrawal of love from God, in order to love something else.

–Thomas Merton

Published in: on 02/14/2012 at 7:45  Leave a Comment  
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The intoxicating discovery

Nothing so liberates
a person from the grip of sin
as the intoxicating discovery
that he is freely accepted
and forgiven.

–John White

Published in: on 12/08/2011 at 7:06  Leave a Comment  
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Can’t live without joy

No one can live without joy.
That is why one
deprived of spiritual joy
goes over to carnal pleasures.

–Thomas Aquinas

Published in: on 09/29/2011 at 17:56  Leave a Comment  
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Incomprehensible excess

We sinned
for no reason but
an incomprehensible
lack of love.
And He saved us
for no reason but
an incomprehensible
excess of love. 

–Peter Kreeft

Ingratitude

Basically and radically
all sin is simply
ingratitude.

–Karl Barth (1886 – 1968)

Published in: on 07/21/2011 at 23:28  Leave a Comment  
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The only rope long enough

It is thought that unconditional grace is unsafe. Man will feel free to go on sinning. On the contrary, unconditional forgiveness is the only rope that is long enough to reach to the bottom of the pit into which we have fallen.

–Edward Judson


Published in: on 05/24/2011 at 12:36  Leave a Comment  
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He is a lover

crown of thorns 4God’s reaction to our waywardness is not that of a government worker obsessed with rules, he is Christ breaking rules on the Sabbath to help someone imprisoned and oppressed by the world. He is Christ being down-right rude and aggressive defending an outcast from the religiously arrogant. Passionate, involved, dying a messy death. He is not a gentleman concerned with form and proper behavior, he is a lover.

–Derek Flood

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