When I was in highschool, I wrote essays on a 286 computer, saved my work to a floppy disk and hoped the blue screen of death wouldn’t appear before I had a chance to hit print on my dot matrix printer.
The 90’s were awesome.
There was nothing more unsettling than the blue screen of death when you were in the middle of something because that meant you lost everything.
The system was down.
All of life seems to operates on systems. Political systems, legal systems, scientific systems, socio-economic systems, cultural systems … if you do “a” then you get “b”. If “a” stops then the system goes down, and if the system is down long enough, you lose everything.
Even the arena of faith and religion seems to operate on the reciprocal nature of systems. Karma would be a prime example: the belief in which everything that is coming to you was actually set in motion by you, based on how you live.
Then we come to this thing called “gospel” and find something unlike anything else in our world of systems:
The message of the entire bible is that we sinners can be the recipients of unconditional love, grace and receive a verdict of acceptance before and apart from our performance.
At the foundation of the Christian faith you find a Saviour, not a system.
The scriptures reveal from Genesis to Revelation that Christians have a relationship with a Person not a set of principles, therefore by definition, the gospel is “good news.” Why? Because for once in our lives, something doesn’t depend on us. Our salvation does not rely on a system through which we save ourselves – it rests entirely on a Saviour who saves us.
The gods of all world religions prescribe principles which by keeping, we save ourselves. The God of the Christian faith asks us to trust in the salvation offered by grace alone in Christ.
Salvation by grace alone is hard to wrap our heads around because it strips away our merit badges. We love merit badges.
We don’t get to play a role on “team justification”. There is no team. We were saved by Christ’s perfect work by grace alone.
The gospel crashes our religious systems. Then, as if the amazing grace of our justification isn’t enough, the amazing grace of our sanctification begins: the Spirit applies in us what Christ accomplished for us: an ever increasing love for God and hatred toward the sin that once enslaved us.
It was recorded that some of Buddha’s famous dying words were: “Never cease striving”. Consider the contrast with Christ’s dying words which were: “It is finished”.
The implications of living life under a banner that reads “it is finished” are massive. “It is finished” means you are free from validating and ensuring your salvation and liberated to enjoy and glorify the God of your salvation.
Being united with Christ , the Spirit reforms our hearts to desire life with God, and our restless hearts finally find rest – even in our weakness, failure and suffering.
Our soul finds rest knowing that in the end, we do not answer to a god of karma who will give us what we deserve based on our work, but a Redeemer who has ensured we will get everything He deserves based on His perfect work.
Could it be that “walking by faith” and resting in “it is finished” are synonymous?
Does grace through faith in Christ really mean that there is nothing left for Christians to do but enjoy God, love our neighbours and live to God’s glory?
By grace in Christ, all systems of earning are down.