Pastor Paul Conway
Rejection: “To dismiss someone or something failing to meet standards or satisfaction.” Jesus defines rejection this way, “whoever comes to me I will never cast out [reject]” John 6:37. Everyone wants to be wanted, needs to be needed, loves to be loved but no one wants to be rejected. The Gospel says come as you are, honest about your condition, sincere about your contrition and mercy & grace will be commissioned. The greatest mistake mankind can make about the Gospel is to think Jesus loves you when you’re good but rejects you when you’re weak or imperfect.
If any of you, like me, have grown up in the Catholic church and the Pentecostal church where legalism abounds, you have heard an unspoken version of the Gospel that sounds like this… “Jesus loves you and died on the cross for your sins. Ask him to be Lord and he will forgive you.” I agree with that 100%. It’s the second addition to the gospel of legalism that adds poison to the power of the cross saying, “Jesus forgives you but for the rest of your life make sure you make no mistakes and keep the 10 commandments from this moment forward because if you don’t you might not make it into heaven…”
If you’re not bothered by that Gospel addendum, you should be! Paul makes it very clear in the book of Romans when he states “No one will be declared righteous in God's sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin” Romans 3:20. God’s law was given for one purpose and one purpose only, to show us what sin is. Look at what Paul wrote to the Galatians, “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us-- for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree"-- Galatians 3:13. Following Christ is not a frequent flyer program that earns you a free trip to heaven because you spent your life on good behavior. The cross is a total debt forgiveness program for people willing to admit moral bankruptcy and total dependency on Christ.
So, what are you saying Pastor Paul? The 10 commandments mean nothing? Being holy means nothing? NO! I would say what the Apostle Paul said, “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid! How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Romans 6:1-2. All the law does is show us our sin. It is the law of the Spirit of God through faith and by faith that we walk through life with Jesus Christ REJECTION FREE.
If we try to approach a relationship with God on the basis of being “good”, the Law proves us liars and the cross becomes powerless. Jesus can conquer death, hell and the grave but he can’t rescue a person who seeks a life as a self-righteous person by comparing themselves with others and trusting in their own “goodness”. “Flesh and sin have only one remedy, death”. It’s this simple, “consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. Romans 6:11.
Hear this in your heart! ”There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit." We’re free to walk a Christ-centered life not a “good behavior” self-centered self-righteous life. I’m not suggesting that it’s easy, but I would say it’s easier when you know that Jesus knows you’re not perfect, died to grace your life and celebrates the new direction you’re moving in, towards him… If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. Galatians 5:25
If you can celebrate a child taking their first steps or laugh at yourself when you trip as you walk, embrace how your heavenly Father looks at you with love and grace in the walk of your new direction, not your walk of perfection. It's towards His arms of Love for now and forever!