Saturday, 20 October 2007

Gospel vs. religion

I was rooting through some paperwork from the last couple of months and found some seminar notes from Forum. In the seminar, led by Tim Rudge and Alison Williams, we were helped to contrast 'religion' with living in the light of the gospel of grace. I found it really helpful and so I thought share it here.

I obey therefore I am acceptedI'm accepted therefore I obey
Motivation is based on fear and insecurityMotivation is based on grateful joy
When circumstances in my life go wrong I am angry at God or myself since I believe that anyone who is good deserves a comfortable lifeWhen circumstances in my life go wrong I struggle, but I know my punishment fell on Jesus and while he may allow this for my training, he will exercise his fatherly love in my trial
When I am criticised I am furious or devastated because it is critical that I think of myself as a 'good person'. Threats to that self-image must be destroyed at all costsWhen I am criticised I struggle, but it is not critical for me to think of myself as a good person. My identity is not built on record or performance but on God's love and Christ's performance for me. I can take criticism - that's how I became a Christian
My prayer consists largely of petition; it heats up when I am in time of need. My main purpose in prayer is to control my environmentMy prayer life consists of generous stretches of praise and adoration. I enjoy fellowship with him
My self-view swings between two poles. If and when I am living up to my standards, I feel confident. Then I am prone to be proud and unsympathetic towards failing people. If and when I am not living up to those standards, I feel like a failure and am full of self pityMy self-view is not based on a view of myself as a moral achiever. In Christ I am 'saved yet sinning still' - simultaneously sinful yet accepted in Christ. I am so bad he had to die for me, but I am so loved he was glad to die for me. This leads me to deeper humility and confidence at the same time. I am neither swaggering nor snivelling
My identity and worth is based on how successful I am, how hard I work, being right etc. This leads me to disdain those who appear weaker than me, or need to be accepted by those who perform better than I doMy identity and worth are based on the one who died for his enemies, who was excluded from the city for me. I am saved by grace alone. So I cannot look down on those who believe or pracrice something different from me. Only by grace I am what I am. I don't have to win any arguments
Since I look to my own pedigree and performance for my acceptibality, my heart manufactures idols. It may be my talents, my moral record, my personal discipline, my social status etc. I absolutely have to have them, so they serve as my main hope, meaning, happiness, security and significance, whatever I might say about what I believe about GodI have many good things in my life - family, work, spiritual disciplines, etc. But none of these things are ultimate things for me. None of them are things I absolutely have to have, so there is a limit to how much anxiety, bitterness and despondency they can inflict on me when they are threatened or lost

3 comments: said...

I'm glad you shared this - may I use it to help my daughter and some friends of mine? I'd like to print it - credit to you and the seminar people, of course...

peterdray said...

I'm sure that would be fine :)

Thanks for passing through! said...

thank you! i know i have an id 'in here' somewhere - i hope i can find you when i return to blog-land! :)

blessings to you!