As I continue my blogging break, here is a post from my friend Tim Virgo:
At my church- CCK in Brighton, UK one of the things we are currently working towards is starting a ministry that explains and proclaims the redemption of the Gospel of Jesus. We want to help people to take hold of the freedom that’s been given to them. I am so excited to be involved in this. I have begun some study and have already been hit hard by things that I have come across.
I have been a Christian for 20 years now and have often had the feeling that there must be more. I still feel guilt and shame about things I am supposed to be free from. We see people saved at our church almost every week but I often ask myself of new Christians, ‘have they really understood?’ In fact I ask that about all Christians, about myself.
Disciples not converts
Jesus commissioned us to go and make disciples of the entire world. Disciples are committed learners. A disciple surely includes relationship, trust and action. Even in our evangelical circles we may think the term, ‘saved and added’ covers all the bases. Looking at redemption lately I have recognised more and more that Sunday services are the front door of our church. People respond to the gospel and get converted but have yet to understand the full weight of redemption. In Philippians 2:11-13 we are told, ‘work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you’. I hope you are able to understand what I am saying here. We are called to be and make disciples, we are not called to join a club, take up a hobby or give Jesus a go.
After 20 years as a Christian I am only now realising that the power of the gospel is greater than I’ve ever dared to believe. I am so excited that I will have the opportunity to help reveal the power of redemption to people who need it. We want our church to have a massive front door and a small back door where people don’t slip through unchanged. But more importantly we need a massive living room where we can be hospitable, let iron sharpen iron, counsel and see people really meet Jesus and be redeemed by him and for him.
The articles and books I am studying in preparation say that the best picture of redemption in the bible is the story of the exodus. The Israelites were under terrible oppression, they needed a saviour and by the power and grace of God they were saved. They saw awesome power on display that bought them freedom. They were liberated from their past and separated from their enemy when the Red sea waters came crashing down. It was done! It was over, finished!
But the Israelites walked in the desert for 40 years after being freed and totally liberated, they didn’t live in the goodness but walked in circles. A 40 day journey took 40 years and the death of a generation because they didn’t live in the good of their redemption.
What about us? Will we live post salvation walking in circles, wasting our salvation by not living IN it and moving forward? Or will we recognise new life, the old gone, the new birth, the liberating and empowering promises of God. As I’ve heard Louie Giglio say, Paul refers to all of the churches in his epistles as ‘saints’ even when his message to them is ’STOP SINNING!’ He still knows their identity is saint not sinner.
Forgiven, new life, in Christ, new creation, saved, liberated, won, saint, redeemed. Walk in that!