Being People of God

Our life is not found in correct doctrine or in our piety, as important as these are. To get life from these things is religion. Our life is rather found in Jesus Christ, and in Jesus Christ alone. When we repent of our religion and commit to seeing God, ourselves, and every person we encounter only as he or she is in Jesus Christ, and as we allow God’s Spirit to express this truth through our outrageous sacrificial love, the world will come to acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, as Jesus promised.

If we are to be the people God has saved and empowered us to be, people who live out their true identity in Christ rather than people who live out a religious version of the stolen knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 3:3), we must first repent. Repentance (metanoia) is not primarily about feeling remorseful or even personally guilty over something. Feelings have little to do with it. It is about a decision to turn. Individually, we are called to turn from our self-centered way of living, trying to acquire our own provision while we violate the divine prohibition to judge.

“Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things.”

Romans 2:1, ESV

Collectively, as the community of faith, we are called to turn from our religion of judgment.

There is no freedom like being free to love without judgment. It is for what we were made. If believers consistently discipline themselves to collapse all judgment and simply ascribe unsurpassable worth to every person they encounter, they learn in an experiential way what it is to “abide in Christ” and “walk in the Spirit.” It is the experience of God’s own abundant life. It is the experience of God’s love flowing to you and through you. It is knowing firsthand the truth that sets one absolutely free.

“So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free..’”

John 8:31-32, ESV

It is dancing with the triune God.

We must testify that it is only through the outrageous love and mercy of God that any of us have any hope. And that, in the end, is the only message we have ever had to offer anyone.

Boyd, Gregory A. Repenting of Religion – Turning from Judgment to the Love of God. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2004. pp. 225-228.

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