Friday, April 11, 2014

Flawed

'The Christian gospel is that I am so flawed that Jesus had to die for me, yet I am so loved and valued that Jesus was glad to die for me. This leads to deep humility and deep confidence at the same time. It undermines both swaggering and sniveling. I cannot feel superior to anyone, and yet I have nothing to prove to anyone. I do not think more of myself nor less of myself. Instead, I think of myself less. I don’t need to notice myself- how I’m doing, how I'm being regarded- so often.

Religion and the gospel also differ fundamentally in how they treat the Other- those who do not share one's own beliefs and practices. Postmodern thinkers understand that the self is formed and strengthened through the exclusion of the Other-those who do not have the values or traits on which I base my own significance. We define ourselves by pointing to those whom we are not. We bolster our sense of worth by devaluing those of other races, beliefs and traits. This gospel identity gives us a new basis for harmonious social arrangements. A Christian's worth and value are not created by excluding anyone, but through the Lord who was excluded for me. His grace both humbles me more deeply than religion can (since I am too flawed to ever save myself through my own effort), yet it also affirms me more powerfully than religion can (since I can be absolutely certain of God's unconditional acceptance).

That means I cannot despise those who do not believe as I do. Since I am not saved by my correct doctrine or practice, then this person before me, even with his or her wrong beliefs, might be morally superior to me in many ways. It also means I do not have to be intimidated by anyone. I am not so insecure that I fear the power or success or talent of people who are different from me. The gospel makes it possible for a person to escape oversensitivity, defensiveness and the need to criticise others. The Christian's identity is not based on the need to be perceived a good person , but on God valuing you in Christ'

Tim Keller,  'The Reason for God', Page 181-2

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