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Tuesday

The Beautiful Paradox

The gospel is an incredibly beautiful thing.  It can also be an incredibly confusing thing.  This is because at its
heart is a paradox that we struggle to fully comprehend and, quite honestly, believe.  A great many struggling Christians struggle precisely because embracing both sides of the gospel paradox is difficult (and impossible apart from Christ).  We tend to really lean into and believe one side of the paradox while paying lip service to the other and this leads to a life that is incomplete.  To live the Christ life, we must operate fully in both sides of the paradox.

What is this paradox?  It is this:  We are completely, totally, and utterly undeserving of the grace, mercy, and love of God and that God covers us completely with His grace, mercy, and love.  To our finite minds, the truth of both of these statements is tough to reconcile.  We want to think that if we are really undeserving, then God probably doesn't love us as completely as we have been told.  Or, if God actually loves us like we have heard, then we must not be as undeserving as some say.  The truth, of course is that both are true.  We deserve nothing from God and yet He gives us everything in the person of Jesus and His death and resurrection.  When we don't really believe the paradox is true, it leads us into a false view of ourselves in Christ which results in living our faith out in a way that God never intended. 

If we really believe that we are undeserving of God's love and allow that to lead to a belief that His love and forgiveness are not all we have heard then we end up living a legalistic life.  We desire God's love and forgiveness and we try to prove that we do deserve it by attempting to act righteously.  So our live becomes a cycle of trying to please God with our deeds, falling into sin, running in fear from God to try to clean our selves up, and then starting the cycle over again.  Eventually we wear ourselves out trying to become worthy of God's love.  The truth is that we can never make ourselves worthy, only the blood of Christ can do that.

The other side of the coin is the believer who fully understands the covering of God's mercy and love but doesn't really grasp our unworthiness. This leads to a life of self-righteousness because we believe, on some level, that we have proven worthy of God's love.  So those who are not believers obviously not as worthy as us and we look down on them.

The reality is that we are totally unworthy and that God redeems us completely anyway.  We run to God when we fall because we understand that we are completely forgiven and loved through Christ.  We welcome sinners because we realize that we were once just like them and only the blood of Christ makes us any different.  We proclaim the good news that God saves unworthy sinners because He saved an unworthy me!

The gospel is a paradox.  But it is the most beautiful, life giving, and glorious paradox there is.

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