'Justification By Faith'.
"For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life." Romans 5:10
Just one quote from this part of the above entry that Oz wrote, I am so in agreement with.
"I am not saved by believing; I realize I am saved by believing. It is not repentance that saves me, repentance is the sign that I realize what God has done in Christ Jesus. The danger is to put the emphasis on the effect instead of on the cause. It is my obedience that puts me right with God, my consecration. Never! I am put right with God because prior to all, Christ died."
I am simply pondering on some stuff, pertaining to the whole issue of 'living outside the religious box,' rendition of Christianity.
In my opinion, there is no freedom apart from knowing that which we were created for, to BE loved unconditionally, we are prone to fix solid, none fluid, inflexible meanings to words that might be partially true, but fall short in not allowing God to further illuminate and expand our understanding in the needed ongoing renewing our minds.
My ponderings have caused me to wonder as Oz said in the above piece, has there been a dangerous emphasis on the effect, instead of on the cause?
What's essential is that we are constantly aware of the fact - the truth - that without the spirit of Christ indwelling us, we are destitute, worse than dung, irreparable, with no hope. That will keep us from boasting in our accomplishments and spiritual progress ("Look what I have done! I used to be a s.o.b., but look how I've changed!") and instead, giving the glory to the Lord who alone deserves it.
If we are not constantly being reminded of it 'being finished', from before the foundations of the world, God the Father having perfected his plan for us,we'll begin to fall for a dangerous but subtle illusion - and put the emphasis on the effects rather than on what He accomplished from before the foundations of the world.
Maybe because we have attached such firm, solid understandings to grace/freedom etc, we have inadvertently shifted not only our focus, but those seeing us emphasize the effects of His grace and freedom, rather than simply presenting Him?
Is it any wonder in this shifting the focus from Him, the source/cause of all the effects, 'Christianity,' has become nothing more than another religious self-morality? *
* For we are God's [own] handiwork (His workmanship), recreated in Christ Jesus, [born anew] that we may do those good works which God predestined (planned beforehand) for us [taking paths which He prepared ahead of time], that we should walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us to live].
I especially like these further quotes from Oz Chambers that I feel tie in so wonderfully here:
"It is a snare to imagine that God wants to make us perfect specimens of what He can do; God's purpose is to make us one with Himself. The emphasis of holiness movements is apt to be that God is producing specimens of holiness to put in His museum. If you go off on this idea of personal holiness, the dead-set of your life will not be for God, but for what you call the manifestation of God in your life."
"Christian perfection is not, and never can be, human perfection. Christian perfection is the perfection of a relationship to God which shows itself amid the irrelevancies of human life. When you obey the call of Jesus Christ, the first thing that strikes you is the irrelevancy of the things you have to do, and the next thing that strikes you is the fact that other people seem to be living perfectly consistent lives. Such lives are apt to leave you with the idea that God is unnecessary, by human effort and devotion we can reach the standard God wants. In a fallen world this can never be done. I am called to live in perfect relation to God so that my life produces a longing after God in other lives, not admiration for myself. Thoughts about myself hinder my usefulness to God. God is not after perfecting me to be a specimen in His show-room; He is getting me to the place where He can use me. Let Him do what He likes."
"The missionary is one in whom the Holy Ghost has wrought this realization - "Ye are not your own." To say, "I am not my own" is to have reached a great point in spiritual nobility. The true nature of the life in the actual whirl is the deliberate giving up of myself to another in sovereign preference, and that other is Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit expounds the nature of Jesus to me in order to make me one with my Lord, not that I might go off as a showroom exhibit. Our Lord never sent any of the disciples out on the ground of what He had done for them. It was not until after the Resurrection, when the disciples had perceived by the power of the Holy Spirit Whom He was, that Jesus said "Go."
"The viewpoint of a worker for God must not be as near the highest as he can get, it must be the highest. Be careful to maintain strenuously God's point of view, it has to be done every day, bit by bit; don't think on the finite. No outside power can touch the viewpoint.
The viewpoint to maintain is that we are here for one purpose only, viz., to be captives in the train of Christ's triumphs. We are not in God's showroom, we are here to exhibit one thing - the absolute captivity of our lives to Jesus Christ."
Somehow I felt this to especially tie in with the last quote from the Oz man;
For he who has once entered [God's] rest also has ceased from [the weariness and pain] of human labors, just as God rested from those labors peculiarly His own.
Let us therefore be zealous and exert ourselves and strive diligently to enter that rest [of God, to know and experience it for ourselves], that no one may fall or perish by the same kind of unbelief and disobedience [into which those in the wilderness fell]. Hebrews 4:10-11