Summary: Instead of understanding that the Father loves us, that He desires the best for us, and He simply wants us to confess our sin, we try to impress Him with how good we are!
Cornerstone Church October 30, 2005
“THE POWER OF GOD’S KEEPING GRACE.”
“Remember the good ol’ days when credit cards were imprinted by hand? The clerk would take your plastic and place it in the imprint machine, and rrack-rrack, the numbers would be registered and the purchase would be made.
Max Lucado worked in a gasoline station when he was fourteen years old. He goes on to say, My favorite task, however, was imprinting credit cards. There is nothing like the surge of power you feel when you run the imprinter over the plastic. I’d always steal a glance at the customer to watch him wince as I rrack-rracked his card.
Credit-card purchases today aren’t nearly as dramatic. Nowadays the magnetic strip is swiped through the slot, or the numbers are entered on the keyboard. No noise. No drama. No pain. Bring back the rrack-rrack days when the purchase was announced to for all to hear.
You buy gas, rrack-rrack.
You charge some clothes, rrack-rrack.
You pay for dinner, rrack-rrack.
If the noise didn’t get you, the statement at the end of the month would. Thirty days is ample time to rrack up enough purchases to rrack your budget.
And a lifetime is enough to rrack up some major debt in heaven.
You yell at your kids, rrack-rrack.
You covet a friend’s car, rrack-rrack.
You envy your neighbor’s success, rrack-rrack.
You break a promise, rrack-rrack.
You lie, rrack-rrack.
You lose control, rrack-rrack.
Further and further into debt.
Initially, we attempt to repay what we owe. Every prayer is a check written, and each good deed is a payment made. If we can do one good act for every bad act, then won’t our account balance out in the end? If I counter my cussing with compliments, my lusts with loyalties, my complaints with contributions, my vices with victories – then won’t my account be justified?”
CAN YOU IDENTIFY WITH THE INDIVIDUAL IN THE STORY?
You are a Christian, but somehow you left the pathway of grace for a works type of system.
Maybe you came from a performance oriented family where love, mercy and grace were given or withheld based on your merit. You were loved only when you did it right.
Maybe you came from a legalistic church that had rules for everything. Those who kept the rules received love from the others. If someone, however, deviated from the standard, love was withheld. Now I’m not talking about violating Scriptural teaching. I’m talking about the man made rules.
Legalistic people are concerned more with keeping the rules that all “good Christians” keep, instead developing their relationship with Christ. Resting in HIS love for them!
All of this is compounded by the fact that we know that God sees all and God knows all.
He knows our sinful thoughts.
He knows our sinful attitudes.
He knows the secret and private sins that we hide from others.
He knows the real me and the real you (you know, the one living behind the mask)
Since our Conversion
We know that God wants us to mature in Christ.
We know that God wants us to take off our old sinful nature and put on Christlikeness.
We seem to work harder and harder at either trying to earn our salvation or trying to keep our salvation.
We are like a hamster in a cage turning that wheel over and over again trying to merit God’s love or favor.
Then we sin! We know inside how much sin displeases the Father. It is at this time that the merit system now kicks into high gear.
Here is the simple route:
1 John 1:9 NIV If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
Instead of understanding that the Father loves us, that He desires the best for us, and He simply wants us to confess our sin, we try to impress Him with how good we are!
Watch Father – I did my quiet time today. Did you mark that on my list?
Are you still watching? I prayed twice as long today to make up some points! I prayed for a whole ten minutes instead of five minutes!
Did you see that I was nice to the Elders and the Deacons?
Oh Father, I really sinned big time this week and have a lot of points to make up.
I promise, Scouts honor, to help out at the Family Fall Festival, to give a bigger offering next week (two dollars instead of one dollar), and oh, yes, even memorize some verses!
DOES THAT ABOUT COVER IT LORD?
Please understand that the items I mentioned are important! They should, however, come from a heart of love for the Lord not to make up for wrongs committed!