I did and at time still do suffer under the lie that I must be perfect to please God. Now, it is true that one must be perfect to please God, yet it is in the “how” that is error or truth based in our thinking.
I used to be in a major denomination. I was a bit of a rising star in my own way. This denomination’s ordination process is pretty ridged. I was about 23-24 and was at this point the janitor/youth pastor/ associate lay pastor/gopher. I worked a FT job and was paid $200.00 a month for my ministerial services. My mentor at the time was one of the most intelligent men I had met. His teachings were like a college level course in the detail he would lay down. I am very much like him in how I personally read and study scripture.
In this denomination one must sit before the ordination board and answer their questions. My pastor felt I had all the Bible knowledge I needed and decided to mentor me on the questions. He felt I did not need Bible College and should be set up as a Pastor right away as God had gifted me greatly.
Now, I am not telling you this to brag. Really instead the internal story was much different.
I was very smart, and very prideful in my knowledge. The Bible tells us that pride puffs us up. There was not a question I could not answer or a passage that gave me trouble until I met Grace.
God’s Grace that is.
I was only a short time away from going before the board… all things in motion. Then I began; or rather God began to work on my heart.
In my mind He showed me a picture of a high jumper. He was coaching others to jump and they did very well. He was a great coach. Then it was his turn to jump… and he missed the lowers rung. Again and again he tried and found he had to lower it every time. He was missing the mark every stinking time! I realized this coach was me!
I was in crisis. How can I tell others how to live, when I myself was not living by the same standard I taught? I realized I was a hypocrite and living sort of a schizophrenic life.
God has a sense of humor. At times in my life He has revealed this to me. He also has a way that when He talks to one’s heart, one can deny, run, or answer honestly His question. I began reading about eternal security of the believer. I was so sure one could cross that line and lose their salvation. (Please keep reading…even if you disagree, as I will explain my position on this in another post soon. This is my story from my experience and walk I do realize others are different). I also began to listen to a man named Bob George of People to People in Dallas TX. His view would enrage me and drive me deeper into scripture TO PROVE HIM WRONG!
I read his book Classic Christianity and hated to admit it, but it did seem to explain even clearer some tough passages I thought I already understood. Only difference was that instead of being about losing salvation, they were about and often against the teaching that one could lose salvation and against the people who taught that. In effect, as in Hebrews it talks of “crucifying Jesus over and over again to our shame”.
I began my journey out of a “shame/performance based faith” on toward a Christ Life or exchanged Life faith.
I then read Hebrews… very carefully keeping the contextual flow from beginning to end. If it said something was impossible in chapter 3 then it could not be possible in chapter 5 for example.
I read through how Jesus was greater than, Moses, Angels, and the Levitical Priesthood and “once and for all” died for our sins, and “once and for all” raised for us to receive eternal Life or Jesus’ Resurrected Life. If Jesus can never die, then as we are placed in Christ and are His Body, we will not die or perish either or we are saying Jesus resurrected Body is able to die again and again. We are also saying that His death was not enough to secure our eternity, as His death on the cross was not sufficient to be THE ATONING SACRIFICE ONCE AND FOR ALL.
I remember very vividly the question God asked me after I read Hebrews. He asked me, “What is keeping you from receiving what I have just taught you?” and I answered without hesitation, “PRIDE”. I was then broken down by God and He began to in a sense reprogram my mind and spirit. I realized I was reading the scripture through denominational lenses that tainted my view of Scripture as a whole. I began a new journey alone.
(More to come)
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