Total Depravity and the Gift of Faith
And I grew up in church. And heard "the gospel" preached practically from infancy. Or I should say, that I heard many adulterated versions of it. The thing about the truth of God, is that it pierces my heart to its core. And the way that I have learned to recognize the truth of God, is that it alone tells me the truth about myself. It tells me who I really am. Which is really not who I most often think I am, or who others tell me I am. One might suppose it would be hard to sort through all of this other, to find the truth. But it's not hard to find, because it's in the Bible. Every other version of "truth," even within the context of "Christianity" and "church," and in the context of "Scripture" selectively presented, stops short of piercing through our hearts to show us who we really are. And it seems that is not by accident. There is purposeful attention given, great care taken, to change the truth of God into a lie. The lie tells us we are something more than we are (apart from Him), and that He is something less than He is. And the result is that there are relatively few in "Christianity" who know and understand to worship Him both for who He is and for what He has done. And by extension, there are so few who know how to treat others in Him, according to the new creation that they are, and the very righteousness of God which they have become.
Having said that, there really is such a thing as false humility. It's the flip-side of the pride coin for a Christian. Because while it's true that we must be confronted with who we are in God's eyes, by dropping every other comparison to see ourselves naked before Him, in order to recieve His mercy; having received it, we are now righteous--holy, unblameable, unreprovable--in His sight. The only view that matters. But as soon as we start comparing ourselves outwardly to others, we tend toward one of two extremes--"better than" or "worse than" --but both are equally prideful because they both effectually diminish the glory, and despise the victory, of the cross.
Well the messages may offend. I am actually hard pressed to name anyone in my own Christian community, with whom I regularly fellowship, who would not find them offensive to some degree. The truth does offend. It offends our very nature apart from Christ. But the amazing thing about that is that this same truth is the only place we can find rest. Real rest for our souls, every day. In His "mercies new every morning."
"Oh, Lord in the morning, will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up"..."You are my glory, and the lifter of my head."
The thing about all of those other versions of the gospel? There is no rest in any of them. That is why I love the real one so much.
I hope some of you will check out that series, and may it be a blessing.