Working it out.

We’re talking about “The Gospel” tonight. So I’m spending the day thinking about “The Gospel.”  I did last week, too, and will for the next couple weeks.

It’s a challenging thing to think about. On one hand, Paul makes it really simple in a letter to the church in the town of Corinth, reviewing for them what he taught them as he had been taught::

For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve.

This is the gospel, this is good news which is announced as something already accomplished. It contains all kinds of questions: sin? where in Scripture? what Scripture? raised? But at some point, you need to make a statement and then figure out what it means.

So I spent the afternoon working on what it might mean for how I work.

What if my concern about impression management is really an attempt to be good in God’s eyes? If trying to live really good is a way of atoning for how I live bad? If I work really hard because I think that God likes really hard work? But then I discover that the gospel says Christ died for sins as a different way of atoning for how bad I live. And I realize that because he didn’t stay dead, I don’t have to beat myself up but can thank him. And be grateful that I don’t have to do the endless amount of work in front of me to make God happy. And that the gospel invites me to cut myself the slack that God already has.

I published Anticipation: an advent reader for the Kindle yesterday.

6 thoughts on “Working it out.

  1. Jill

    RELATIONSHIP… Don’t you read my blog?? JK. But I am amazed at the idea of a God who makes this so implicitly clear to us, you would expect Him to be standing there looking at His watch, waiting of us to “get it”. Instead, of course, He is waiting with outstretched arms. I regret that so many times, instead of living in the comfort and security of those arms, I am wrestling to get out of them to go my own way, or constantly needing to run into them. When will we ever learn to dwell?

    More rambling questions.


    1. Jon Swanson

      was just reading about anxiousness and wondering the same thing, about learning to rest. But was also reading about forgetting what lies behind and pressing on. There is a gospel forgetfulness that is offered, to now dwell ON what i’ve not done, but to dwell IN what God has done. That sounds way more churchy than I would like, but it’s still early.


    2. Matches Malone

      I think the learning part comes from the fact that God is basically static, wherein our relationship with him is dynamic. Therefore, we won’t have absolutely learned everything we need to know until that time when we most need it. If this doesn’t make sense to you, I’ll attempt to clarify if you reply 🙂


    3. Jon Swanson

      the image of God being static and us dynamic caught my attention. Because we look at dynamic as a good thing, in fact, as the best thing. And anything that is static is stuck. But for us, living in time, there is a process element to us. We are changing because we aren’t complete. There is always more to learn. We value the journey, the process, the becoming. But what if there is a being whose essence isn’t in the becoming, but is in the IS?

      You got me thinking, Mike. Learning, perhaps.


  2. Matches Malone

    Then together we have achieved coolness. Now, if I can just figure out how to tweet out the affiliate link for the book you just published, we’ll both make about a penny each 😉


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