An Untimely Response

Just add ‘super-sleuth’ to my resume. The last posting generated an enormous amount of discussion and I am so grateful for Steve being willing to share his story, I know that it challenged and encouraged many. Being the host of the blog, I have access to the site’s dashboard that tracks traffic patterns and what I found there had me prowling about like an online Holmes (ok, I’m more like Clouseau). I cannot tell who is visiting the site, but I do know how many, which country they are in, and which links led them to the blog. And here my attention was drawn to a new link. There was a noticeable amount of traffic coming from freejinger.org. I was intrigued, my curiosity was piqued, and my sleuthing began.

Freejinger.org, is an online forum for progressive women who wish to discuss political and social movements. Traditionally minded people are welcome but warned; “”Because Mama and Jesus told me so” is not sufficient to protect you here.” Duly cautioned, I continued my investigation and discovered a long discussion swirling around Steve’s post. A lot was said, little of it was kind, but then I was warned!

I did not respond, but I wish I had. I guess I was unwilling to get sucked into a fruitless dispute, and I still am, but there was a single comment that deserved a response. One contributor expressed confusion over the Christian concept of forgiveness. How is it, she asked, that a destructive person can be absolved of their sins and enter heaven on account of their faith while an atheist who has lived a morally upright life is sentenced to hell? She insisted that a god who doesn’t value noble, human performance isn’t worthy of worship (she was less polite in her wording).

I wish I had responded. This is what I would say:

Such a god would be incomprehensible. But the God of the Bible is nothing like what you just described. He does value noble performance—holiness is prized by him. In fact, God puts such a premium on right behavior that he insists that anyone who approaches him be perfect. Not good, not exemplary, but absolutely and unequivocally perfect! In Matt 5:20, Jesus tells his disciples that unless their righteousness exceeded that of the Pharisees they cannot enter the Kingdom of Heaven. This is troubling, since no one came close to those religious elite. It’s as though we were told that heaven is restricted to those that can outsprint Usain Bolt. Most of us wouldn’t bother to lace our track shoes.

But this is the grace of God. Seeing our inability, the eternal Son condescended to become human and live the perfect life. He was the ideal Israelite, the one man who excelled beyond the best. By his death, resurrection, and ascension, he has made satisfaction for sin and amassed an eternal reward.  And those who repent and believe are incorporated into his life and become recipients of his accomplishments. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:21, ESV)

“Does God require a morally upright life?” Without exception! “How many have accomplished this?” Only one! I hope you know him, I pray that you will trust him, for if you go it alone you will run a futile race and fail to cross the finish line. But if you trust in Jesus, the worst of us will become as spectacularly accomplished as him, and one-day hear those longed for words, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

I wish I had said that, and now I have.

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4 thoughts on “An Untimely Response

  1. “How is it that a destructive person could be absolved of their sins and enter heaven on account of their faith. . . . ?” That is the question all Christians must be ready to answer! That is the reason I was (am) compelled to tell my story. Thanks, Eugene for the opportunity and thanks to all those who responded to me with such encouragement and kindness.
    Steve Hammond

  2. Eugene, I wanted to enter into the discussion with Steve the other day, but my eloquence with words doesn’t compare to yours or Kellie’s so I sat on the sidelines praying. Praying that many women would come to KNOW the depth of God’s love for each of them. HE will never leave her, deceive her or bring shame to her… that IS NOT HIS WAY. The depth of HIS love is beyond comprehension. How can we who are human be good? Come on!
    “Being Good”– Isn’t that always the argument?–Who can be GOOD in thought, word, or deed? By whose standard of GOODNESS do we measure ours? Surely not mankind! WE ALL FALL SHORT!
    I have an ornamental “snowflake” hanging from my kitchen light. It reminds me of my daughter whom I aborted many years ago.{There is a way that seems right to man, but the end therein leads to death} God was so kind to me–He waited for years until He knew that I was ready to accept her as part of my family. When I finally allowed the grief to come forth from her loss, it was the LORD’s PRESENCE that was so sweet to me.The LORD knows us –ALL OF US! MIND-BLOWING YES, BUT HE DOES! Psalm 23–HE RESTORETH MY SOUL! My soul and my child had been torn apart by abortion…. I’d never known how really fragile I was or others like me. I didn’t know that my soul needed such emotional healing until I gave up control to HIS CONTROL!
    I’d been prompted to buy the SNOWFLAKE to place on our Christmas tree that year along with my other children’s ornaments (one of whom I’d placed for adoption–which was when the LORD opened my eyes to my need of HIM… LIFE GIVES FORTH LIFE! —there was no one to help BUT GOD–AND I CRIED OUT AND IT WAS HIS LOVINGKINDNESS THAT LED ME TO REPENTANCE AND ETERNAL LIFE!– That child, now a grown man and I are reunited. His adoptive mom and dad’s names are the same as my husband and mine!–and God KNEW this from the beginning!)
    A week after I’d bought the “snowflake” I went to a memorial service for my child with a few other post-abortive brave women, and guess what? It started spurting SNOW (which had not been forcast). In that cemetary with those small flakes falling, the Holy Spirit reminded me that we are like those unique, precious and fragile snowflakes–no two alike.Those snowflakes were created by God and designed for HIS purpose. We, like those snowflakes, melt from this earth rather quickly. Our lives are so precious to GOD, that HE Gave HIS One and ONLY Son to shed the ONLY GOOD, AND RIGHTEOUS BLOOD so those who accept JESUS will have life now and LIVE FOR ETERNITY! You’ve just got to LOVE A GOD LIKE THAT! thanks for letting me post and THANK YOU JESUS!.

  3. Peg: You are eloquent with words when they tell your story of redemption. God has truly restored “the years the locust have eaten” in your life. Stories of redemption give hope to the hopeless and you have given hope to someone, perhaps many, who read your story on this blog. Thanks for sharing and remain courageous.

    Steve

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