Land of Forgiveness & Grace

Martin Luther calls the house of Abraham “the true church”—it is “nothing else than a kingdom of the forgiveness of sins and of grace.” Hofman

We are at home among hearts that experience grace. We are on edge and fear the judgment of those who trust in themselves. Christianity, they say, is a religion of the heart. “Christianity is at home in the existential,” says Kierkergard. To know Jesus is to know the Creator of Life, not simply facts about Him. The nature of knowledge is personal, deeply transforming when being is involved.

“Forgiveness flounders because I exclude the enemy from the community of humans and myself from the community of sinners.” Miroslav Volf

“Life is a long journey of preparation, of preparing oneself to truly die for others. It is a series of little deaths in which we are asked to release many forms of clinging and to move increasingly from needing others, to living for them.” Henry Nouwen

As we sojourn this broken world, the Maker calls us into a process of knowing Him through letting go, deeper trust, and a dying to the false self. I’m learning to walk in this more, though it’s unfamiliar in many ways. He uses crisis, hurt, trial, and disappointment to form the deepest etches of His character in us.

I know how to navigate the world in my projected, prideful and needy self – the person I thought I needed to become. That person is in the process of surrender. I’m finding new, surprising sacrificial power in the resurrected One. I know I’m on the right divesting path, but that doesn’t make it easier. I lack confidence in myself, but graciously finding it in another place – the land of forgiveness and grace.

We are to “put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.” Col 3:9. To grow into this new creation we are in Christ, we must put away all that is false.

“Every one of us is shadowed by an illusory person; a false Self. We are not very good at recognizing illusions, least of all the ones we cherish about ourselves.” Thomas Merton

“Grant Lord that I may know myself that I may know Thee.” Augustine. We will only grow in depths of grace and knowing of God as we face our true brokenness and sin. Is our Gospel deep and wide enough for who we really are? God doesn’t relate to illusions, so we best recognize who we are, and are not. The space between Orthodoxy (belief) and Orthopraxis (practice) is called hypocrisy.

“A humble self-knowledge is a surer way to God than a search after deep learning.” Thomas Kempis

To dwell in God’s Kingdom community is to embrace reality as God sees it – a broken, forgiven, mercy-filled people dwelling in a new land of forgiveness. There are many fellow sojourners there, be strengthened among them.

Jesus, our King, Shepherd, Priest, and home.

“Jesus becomes the reference point for all genuine knowing, all true loving, and all authentically following of God.” Hirsch & Frost. Build your life on the Rock. Christo-centric living. Fancy word for letting Jesus do what He came to, love you for who you are – not for who you are trying to be.

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