If You… (#741)

If all you end up with are religious rules and human effort, you've missed the reality of the Gospel. Much truth in Scripture is set in conditional sentences. "If you abide in me..." "If you seek wisdom as gold..."  Some people think these are in conflict with "unconditional love."  What gives?  Wayne and Kyle continue their conversation about Scripture by talking about how we handle handle the "If you..." of the Scriptures. God's love is never conditional, but our participation in his life is the result of us living in that love. This is not quid pro quo or God passing out blessings based on our performance. If you interpret these Scriptures with that religious veneer you will disfigure the character of God and distort the wonder of Scripture. The conditional statements of Scripture invite us into the process of transformation and allows us to reap its rewards.

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8 Comments

  1. THIS WAS GIVEN TO ME BY GOD BELIEVE IT OR NOTGODS MESSAGE TO YOU….
    As I struggled wtth my Parkinsons tryimg to make things perfect I realized that only God can make a perfect anythingl
    I made this quilt which has many flaws NOT MISTAKES as some would say. I named it the PATHWAYS. There are two obvious paths. Which one will you take? One is dark like the world we live in. The other is white. A place we all want to live in. Both are challenging to say the least. Which one will you take? You say I will/would take the clean one. Will/ Would you? If you knew what each offers you might say and do differently! Which one do you think I chose. Ah so you think I chose the clean path. Well you are right and wrong. I had no one to tell me the difference between the two. I like many who will/would take the time to read this maybe no one has told you. The other stripes represent the battle between good and evil. The red stripes represent the blood that He shed for you. Yes you. Maybe you say many things about this God /Man because of your lack of true knowledge. You don’t seek the truth. Truth is not relative. Truth is absolute truth. Statics prove that one out of everyone dies. No one gets off this planet alive. That is truth. There are many truths but if you don’t search for yourself you will walk down the wrong path. If you listen to others an take their truth for your own with out searching you will take the dark path.
    Ps 18:30 As for God, His way is blameless; The word of the Lord is tried; He is a shield to all who take refuge in Him. That is either the truth or a bold face lie. You can’t go half way. It is all or nothing. If I am going to base my life on something it has to be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help me God. Listen: let’s say you got a speeding ticket. You went to court. The judge says your guilty. The penalty is death. Your stunned. You try to reason with him but he just laughs at you. He says you sinned and death is the punishment, However, if you can find someone to take your place you’ll be free to go. He looks around the courtroom and all turn away from him. Just then a man pushes through the crowd and says I will take his place. He is bewildered in utter disbelief. WHY!!! The man says because I love you. Well that is what Jesus did for you. He was crucified for your sins and the whole worlds sins because He loved us more than His life. John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son that whosoever believes in Him shall not die. THAT IS ABSOLUTE TRUTH.
    JANE BURGESS EASTER 2020

  2. Hi guys. I have been listening to your podcasts for some time now and as much as I enjoy them I think you two are on the fence between Law and Grace. As we all know the two do not mix. The Law was nailed to the cross 2000 years ago and has been done away with yet you continually go back to it to confirm your standing with God. That will not work. Christ died with all mankind in His body. Died, buried and resurrected. I suggest you leave the Law out of trying to please God. He is not pleased with anybody other than His son and through the Son’s faith we have been redeemed ….. nothing to do with our faith or our actions and deeds.

    • Thanks for your thoughts. I don’t understand them, however. I have no idea what we said that makes you think we go back to the late to confirm our standing with God. Neither Kyle nor I feel that way or live that way. We are both interested in actually following him, not to earn his approval, but to dwell in his wisdom. If you’re saying all the wisdom of Scripture is Law, I think you’ve really, really missed something, either in what we said or in how this life in Christ bears fruit in us. Nothing we said was about approval or making him pleased with us.

  3. I find reading scripture I’m very conscious of been on the wrong side of “if you…” statements. Most of the time, it’s not good news to me and I find myself saying “yep, I’m not there”. Often, I feel a huge gulf between where I am and where I “should be” to find the trail head or find fruit in God that’s really wonderful. I’m frequently discouraged by how narrow the road seems to be, and how hard it is to find.

    I can relate when Jesus said we are lost and came to seek us out. If the eyes of God look for people who’s hearts are longing for Him, it must be heartbreaking when he sees where we are a lot of the time. Like God talking to Jonah and saying “Don’t you see there are 100,000 people there who can’t tell their right from their left?”, or Jesus looking around and seeing crowds of people like sheep without a shepherd, or seeing everyone weeping around Him after Lazarus died. I can only imagine what it must be like for Him to see where we really are, and why there would be a lot of rejoicing if any of us find our way to a trail head.

    Would it be fair to say that even the desire to seek God, or wisdom & understanding are the fruit of something else too? Maybe they are just the first places we notice God working in us. I remember when I was younger, those first few chapters of Proverbs were the first part of the Bible I ever read, and I drank the words again and again before I ever thought to go on and read anything else. I don’t know why it hit me the way it did, except that it was a gift … and it would probably be different for someone else.

  4. (From Wayne:) Hi Caleb. What I love about this journey is that the “If you” statements are not expectations he has for us, but invitations into a different way of living. Of course, we all start out on the wrong side of those statements, and learning to walk with him into his liberty and freedom is a life-long journey. If we could relax and enjoy the adventure we wouldn’t be so hard on ourselves, or even see these as “should” to somehow earn his favor. We already have that in the work of Christ. What we also have, is his help to learn, to have the empowerment to live with ever-increasing glory. Yes the road is narrow at times. Jesus told us it is. There are so many ways we get sucked off of it, but with his loving hand he can direct us back and show us the way forward. And I agree with your last paragraph. Even the hunger for him and his words is a gift and how he accomplishes it is unique to us all.

    • Hi Wayne, thanks for getting back to me. Yes, been able to relax a bit and been less hard on myself has always been helpful. I guess I have a lot of desires & expectations, and still trying to sort through what’s from God and what I have put on myself. It seems God desires things in a different way that I do, having a very patient way of working out things he hopes for.

      I’m just thinking out loud a bit now: if I didn’t feel any guilt about been on the wrong side of “if you …”, and if I wasn’t trying to win God’s approval / favor, I think something inside would still feel a dissonance between who I am now, and who I hope to be. Paul described it so well in Romans 7, when your best ideals are used against you, and something groans inside longing to be free. For me, I think the guilt and trying to win God’s approval has got a lot less over the years. Beginning to see there is no need to impress God by my Bible reading or devotion to him… But like you said, if God and his ways are worth it just for themselves, I still feel a sense of grief/loss when I’m not living in sync with that, and sometimes in big ways. What a mystery it is God inviting us into such a new kind of life, and discovering who he made us to be.

  5. Wayne, I think one of the biggest Ah-Ha moments gifted to me from Father was a few weeks ago on one of your podcasts when he spoke to me through your words as you clarified that “me trusting God” and me trusting God for a fairly specific outcome of my choosing, might be polar opposites.

    Quite a while back my wife and I bought a used car from a coworker and after driving it for several days the coworker told me “IF YOU… press and hold the unlock button on the key fob, it will roll all four windows down on hot summer days to rid the car of excessive heat before getting into it. I didn’t know about that feature and probably wouldn’t have figured it out on my own, or taken the time to read about it in the owners manual. Owning and driving the car these past years has been a great experience. The “IF YOU…” that the coworker shared with me simply made the experience better.

    • I love that illustration, Perry, and I believe it’s that simple. You could have felt stupid or guilty for not knowing that, but I’m sure that’s nothing your coworker wanted you to feel. Instead you just learned what you needed to know and had an added bonus to owning your car. He was just letting you know…

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