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pursuing the upward call with fear and trembling

just a 44 year old man seeking to share my meanderings with the world at large or the blogosphere at small

Sunday, May 17, 2009

How Much Grace Is Grace??

A lot of differing thoughts swirling inside my mind. It is a very good thing alot of our minds work is unconscious you know??? Can you imagine if we had to actually think and process every single thing we did??? Talk about a snails pace!!! I have been pondering grace lately. I have to let go of my constant companion fear for little intervals now and then lol. Many calvinists believe that God chooses some who are the *elect* to be saved. There is no rhyme nor reason to this decision. He is God, He is All-Powerful and All-Knowing and He is our Creator so who are we to question or challenge His Will. All those points arfe true of Him, but the way He reveals Himself as Love. The fact He basically became one of us in order to die in our place, even though we rejected and disibeyed Him, suggests He is not a God who nonchalantly takes us like a daisy and plays *I elect him, I elect him not* until He is done. Jesus said to Peter when asked about forgiveness, forgive seventy-times seven, which amounts to forgive nonstop!!!! Paul in Romans says NOTHING can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus.

Paul says in Romans all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. ALL. That being the case, why would God decide to choose a random few to be *elect* apart from all the rest of us He made??? Grace is unmerited favor, getting what we don't deserve and cannot earn. Why would a few become somehow set apart from all the rest of us when He says His grace is given to all??? I have come across a few blogs speaking on universalism lately, and they make an interesting case for it, and they are christians not cultists or anything. God desires all to be saved. His kindness leads to repentance, not His anger or judgment, but His kindness.

I dont want the fear i have, but it always has seemed to be something i had to have. I choose it since i have free-will though do i not??? I don't know. I have prayed so many times to be free of fear and at times i have felt it, but again does feeling have anything to do with it??? Do we feel faith,fear and love??? Do we feel mercy,anger,judgment??? I feel like i am in a labrynth here lately. God wants us to know He loves us more than we could ever know, but yet He seems to hide or be silent or remote so often. He wants us to seek Him with our whole being yet when we do so it seems we have a hard time finding Him. We cannot do anything of our own will to please Him, yet He calls us to perform in obedience. So many say He sets us free from the pressure to perform but so many verses seem to say we need to perform in order to be holy and obedient servants.

Just sharing my own personal angst here. I feel the quicksand as i once said because i have such a desire to be as genuine a disciple and follower as He calls me to be, and yet at same time i find it so easy to drift off into actions and thoughts that veer in opposite direction from His call. Isn't that always our struggle??? Any of you believe we are supposed to break free and rise above to a place where we are holy and blameless like Jesus??? Pauls words in Romans tell me no but James sometimes says yes. Just laying out food for thought.


At 10:31 PM, Blogger Smitty said...

Hey Robert! How's life going? I took a break from the blogging world but now I'm back with another blog to add to Crockpot Faith. Let me know if you are interested.

At 10:31 PM, Blogger Smitty said...

Hey Robert! How's life going? I took a break from the blogging world but now I'm back with another blog to add to Crockpot Faith. Let me know if you are interested.

At 11:15 PM, Blogger Jim said...

Hey Robert,
Reading your post (just came upon it through a google search accidentally) I feel such an affinity with you... I totally hear you. I would love to chat to you about this. I was in that place of fear a long time. Fear of hell, being doomed from the start, fear of rejection by Jesus, etc etc. Long story. But Jesus is different by far from who I thought He was, and that's coming from someone who knew the Bible fairly well. Through my own filter the Bible preaches that jumping-through-hoops performing for God be-obedient-or-die message. I emphasise - through *my own* filter. There was an absence of knowing Him within it.

The fact is: the freedom IS THERE in the Bible, we just don't see that light if our eyes are dark, so to speak. The problem is our eyes, and the fact that Jesus wants to reveal Himself to us and transform us completely. A huge part of all this is being open to the Spirit, to His voice, to experiencing Him.

A couple verses for you:

I John 4:18 {Amplified} There is no fear in love [dread does not exist], but full-grown (complete, perfect) love turns fear out of doors and expels every trace of terror! For fear brings with it the thought of punishment, and [so] he who is afraid has not reached the full maturity of love [is not yet grown into love's complete perfection].

-->Honestly, I understand with the fear stuff. Maybe not the exact same situation but I really have been through that wringer. And it's Jesus Who has changed that -- direct encounter with Him, hearing His voice, understanding certain key scriptures and receiving them in my *spirit*, not my mind. My problem was that I only approached the Bible and the Truth through the grid of my mind, rather than receiving revelation in my spirit. Check I Corinthians 2:14. It's in our *spirits* that we receive the things of God, and that's something only He can give to us -- but we can certainly position ourselves to receive it by hungering after Him and hanging out in places where He's moving powerfully by His Spirit.

Hebrews 2:14-15 {Amplified} Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.

-->just on the off chance you haven't seen that one, though you probably have!

Was just watching a video online and the guy was saying that what the devil says always brings us down, whereas what God says always lifts us up. Now I wouldn't go making a black-and-white rule out of it -- as if He never brings conviction that's difficult to take -- but the Jesus I've met has more often than not brought a sense of lightness to life, an opposite spirit to the heavy self-focused sin-conscious mindset I have.

Would love to chat more about this if you're interested. There's definitely some stuff I'd love to share but maybe this is overload for one message...


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