I asked a friend what it’s like living in New York city (her hometown). “Oh, the grind of New York,” she said. “I love it, but when I go back to visit, I realize it’s really a grind.” I didn’t understand. She explained, “It’s the demand, the long work hours, the expectation to keep up or get left behind.”
By that definition, Christianity can feel like a grind too; especially trying to live as a disciple of Jesus. The demand, the expectation to keep doing, keep learning, keep keeping up with spiritual practices. The grace of God that brings salvation in Jesus Christ is good news—freedom! But, it can get edged out by the thought, “Now I must keep myself saved. I must keep doing for God (giving, loving, serving) to keep God happy with me.” Where’s that idea from? Not God. Not the Bible.
What if a disciple of Jesus was one who lived in response to gospel (rather than law)?
Law says “You’re a sinner.” Gospel says, “God loves sinners.”
Law says, “Be good.” Gospel says, “Jesus is good, and you get the credit.”
Law says, “Serve God and be accepted.” Gospel says, “You’re accepted because Jesus served God for you.” Law says, “You need to have faith.” Gospel says, “God gives you the faith you need.”
See the difference? Salvation comes by grace, through faith in Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2). Salvation is kept the same way.
Here’s the point. Discipleship—at the core of Christian living–is a call to live from grace, not law. It’s not one more thing to do to attain “super Christian” status. It’s my natural response to a gracious gift—God forgiving me, pursuing me, loving me—the same even if I never do one more thing for him.
Discipleship is a call to live in light of gospel.
So, what’s the hashtag of your life in Christ? I asked that in last week’s sermon (inspired by Immanuel Lutheran Church, Belvidere, IL). It’s another way of asking, “What’s your calling as one redeemed by the blood of Jesus?”
Here are a few examples I’ve received since Sunday:
I’d love to hear yours.