The Gospel: A discontented but yet absolute joy

There tends to be two sides of Christian though on this idea, but my school of thought leans toward the idea of we are saved by faith and faith alone and not by our works.   I believe this is undeniably true in scripture.  However, at the same time scripture tells that faith without works is dead and asks man to “move their feet” to their faith.  Not many Churches, denominations, pastors, etc present both sides very well.  If they lean too much toward mans response, mans natural tendency of selfishness takes place and works becomes works of self-righteousness.   This works based righteoussness (pharasaism)  happens in every Church to every person at some point… we almost can’t help ourselves.

Unfortunately, the other side of the coin also exists…. man becomes complacent and soon our walk with God is “floating”.    We don’t move our feet any longer to scripture.  And then we look around us and we see other people floating.   Soon it becomes a floating party and as long as we have good company floating with us we have no need to respond in the way scripture asks of us.

I am speaking from my own experience here;  but  we live in a world where the lack of self-discipline is easily rewarded.  All we have to do is click a button on our mouse and we get instant gratification.  Whether its pornography, relationships, stuff to purchase, information, etc. We can get it all instantly online.   Its difficult to press on past the natural entropy of ourselves and to maintain scripturally disciplined lives.

I think its important to maintain a very discontented joy in our walk with God.  This is what the Cross and Gospel were trying to address in man.. that man was a contradiction… a contradiction built in the likeness and image of god but also sinful.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is…
(Part 1)We are more sinful and weak than we ever dared to admit and …
(Part 2)We are more loved and accepted than we ever dared to hope

You can see how the Cross and Jesus’ purpose completely addresses this deep contradiction in man.

Many people deny this but man needs to get honest with himself and quit denying that that we are a walking contradiction.   We are simultaneously sinner and a new creation ‘in Christ”.  People who deny this have not learned to develop a life of rigorous honesty with themselves.  The discontented part of us should never be comfortable with our sin.   It needs to want to resist sin.  It needs to want to “press on” past the natural entropy and order of things in our lives. Ultimately my sin needs to press me toward how deep my need is for Jesus.  Jesus is the author and perfecter of my faith.

A deep identity and  relationship with Christ should give me the boldness to take risks to press on past this natural entropy and desire to work towards a  self-disciplined life even when I am at odds with myself (my own sin) or others that are looking to be in their own self-preservation mode of selfishness.

Here I am 45 and still working on this self-discipline in my life.  Thanks be to God for what Jesus did for me on the Cross.

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8 thoughts on “The Gospel: A discontented but yet absolute joy

  1. theoldadam

    Jon,

    I think we’ll be working on this “self-discipline” our entire lives.

    The life of the Christian is not the slow climb upward, but rather it is often a wild roller-coaster ride of faith and faithlessness.

    But through it all, our Lord remains faithful to us.

    Thanks, Jon!

  2. theoldadam

    Jon,

    I think we’ll be working on this “self-discipline” our entire lives.

    The life of the Christian is not the slow climb upward, but rather it is often a wild roller-coaster ride of faith and faithlessness.

    But through it all, our Lord remains faithful to us.

    Thanks, Jon!

  3. Jon Spadino

    Hey Steve,

    You said:

    I think we’ll be working on this “self-discipline” our entire lives.

    I agree. But at the same time I dont want be content just leaving that statement alone. I dont want my sense of Victory in Christ to also be a sense of defeatism to my own sin…. does that make sense? FOr example, my contentedness, or my desire to not change my behaviour, is my safety net ” in Christ! Maybe this is only making sense to me. Hence the title “discontented joy of the Gospel”.

    Anyhow, I am babbling without direction right now and there is no filter between my brain and my mouth as I just work through some thoughts.

    🙂

  4. theoldadam

    “I dont want my sense of Victory in Christ to also be a sense of defeatism to my own sin…. does that make sense?”

    Your sin has been died for. All of it. The Victory has been won!

    Now, you want to get rid of some bad habits, or change your behavior? Great! That will be a great thing for you and those around you…but as far as God is concerned…you have already been perfected in Him.

    (you knew that) …but I think we need to hear it again,,,and as often as possible.

  5. theoldadam

    “I dont want my sense of Victory in Christ to also be a sense of defeatism to my own sin…. does that make sense?”

    Your sin has been died for. All of it. The Victory has been won!

    Now, you want to get rid of some bad habits, or change your behavior? Great! That will be a great thing for you and those around you…but as far as God is concerned…you have already been perfected in Him.

    (you knew that) …but I think we need to hear it again,,,and as often as possible.

  6. Sarah Robison

    Excellent post! I enjoyed it a lot.
    We must be wise not to use God’s grace as a crutch or abuse the unending mercy he shows us. Rather we should embrace a hatred for our sin as you mentioned. 1 Peter 1:15-16 says, “But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: ‘Be holy, because I am holy.'”
    If you haven’t already, and you get the chance, read Pursuit of Holiness by Jerry Bridges. It is a great book!

  7. Sarah Robison

    Excellent post! I enjoyed it a lot.
    We must be wise not to use God’s grace as a crutch or abuse the unending mercy he shows us. Rather we should embrace a hatred for our sin as you mentioned. 1 Peter 1:15-16 says, “But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: ‘Be holy, because I am holy.'”
    If you haven’t already, and you get the chance, read Pursuit of Holiness by Jerry Bridges. It is a great book!

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