In celebration of Christmas, the new cover art, and the fact that I’ve never adequately told you how much good this book will do you, for the next eight days I’m going to post an excerpt from each of the eight chapters in Back to Basics: Eight Foundations for Kingdom Living, the book I co-authored with Doug Roberts and Ben Pasley.
Each day I’m also going to give one 50% refund on the price of the book to the first person to gift a copy of Back to Basics to a friend from our merchandise page at our store.. Early elf gets the deal! You won’t know if someone else has already nabbed it on a given day unless they post a comment to brag about it.
Don’t get the idea that this book is going to add eight things to your to-do list on your way to being a complete Christian. Quite the opposite, it’s about stripping away the non-essentials. It’s going to remind you to relax into some key truths. This excerpt begins with Doug talking about God’s Love. Enjoy.
“If you look at I John, it says, ‘This is love not that we loved God but that He loved us and He sent His son to us as payment for our sins.’ It’s not that I love God but that He loves me. God was secure in His love for me before I ever responded to His love. God’s love for me does not depend on what I do or how I act.
“Now when I was in the ways of the world, doing the sins I did and not knowing Jesus, God loved me. When I got saved and repented of my sins and began walking as a son, God loved me. God does not love me more now than He loved me then. God loved me the same when I was a sinner as He loves me now that I’m a son. His love is no greater or no less. I cannot earn God’s love and I cannot lose God’s love. What is affected is my relationship with Him. When I was in the world as a sinner, I did not have a relationship with the Father so I couldn’t respond and really know His love. Once I became a believer, my relationship with Him changed so now I can respond to His love and know His love. His love for me is the same. His love does not depend on what I do or don’t do.”
“It is amazing how often we intellectually grasp a principle like this and might even preach and teach it, but still discover places in our lives where we act like we don’t have a clue about it. I’ve had times when I could talk and teach and write about grace all day, and then be full of striving and not at rest in my own soul,” Tim admitted.
“This is what religion tries to do,” said Doug, “it puts us in a mindset of performance, that I have to earn God’s love by keeping this, doing this, and by not doing this or doing that. But when we understand God’s love, we know that it is not what we have done that saves us; it is what He did through His son, Jesus. Who can earn salvation? What can you pay for the cost of your sins? Jesus paid the price. He paid it on my behalf. It was God’s choice to give His son to redeem me from that which I was.”
Ben took off his glasses, as if relaxing into the truth Doug was speaking, thought a minute, and then asked, “How do you respond to those who say, ‘No Doug, God did everything but now we have to respond and do something, too. Don’t we have to be the ones to have faith?’”
“Have faith in what?” Doug’s response was unexpected by his companions. The loud question rang through the RV, and Tim and Ben smiled at Doug’s boldness. He continued, “Faith in what you can do, or faith in what He has done? If you have faith in what God has done then you settle the issue that He is God. And because He is God you can’t add to it or take away from it.
“Isaiah 46 says, ‘I am God and there is no one like me. I declare the end before the beginning.’ Now, I believe we can choose to walk away from God’s plan. But I believe if our heart is to walk in the purpose of what the Father has for us, then no weapon formed against me is going to prosper. It says that nothing can pluck me out of the hand of the Father. I can walk away from the relationship I experience with the Father, but I don’t believe that the Father will walk away from me.”
Ben continued the thought: “People talk about their faith as though it is some sort of machine. Hollywood stars and rock stars talk about their faith. Christians say, ‘because I have faith I am saved.’ People settle on that as though faith were some sort of a magic word. As if in and of itself it had some sort of a quality or purpose in it. But we have to question like you did, Doug, and say, ‘Faith in what?’ That is amazing.”
“We are saved by grace through faith,” Tim added. “Faith is not the source of our salvation. It is just the vehicle.”
December 1, 2011