How wonderful it is to come every Sunday into a liberating church! All week long we swim in an ocean of judgment and negative scrutiny. We constantly have to comply with the demands of a touchy world, and we never measure up. . . .--Ray Ortlund, The Gospel: How the Church Portrays the Beauty of Christ (Crossway, 2014), 90-91
Then on Sunday we walk into a new kind of community where we discover an environment of grace in Christ alone. It is so refreshing. Sinners like us can breathe again! It’s as if God simply changes everyone’s topic of conversation from what’s wrong with us, which is plenty, to what’s right with Christ, which is endless. He replaces our negativity, finger-pointing, and self-attack with the good news of his grace for the undeserving. Who couldn’t come alive in a community which inhales that heavenly atmosphere?
Here is where every one of us can happily take our stand right now: “The life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Gal. 2:20). Our self-focus was crucified with Christ. The need to conceal failure and display false superiority no longer lives. Christ is enough to complete every one of us, without adding anything of ourselves.
As we humbly keep in step with the truth of this gospel, people will find a new kind of community in our churches where sinners and sufferers can thrive.
29 September 2014
An Ocean of Negative Scrutiny
Posted by Dane Ortlund at Monday, September 29, 2014