God’s Not Really That Holy, I’m Not Really That Bad

The following blog post was written by Tim Challies…

How do you know that you really get the gospel, that you really understand and believe it? Or perhaps better said, how do you know that the gospel has really gotten you, that it has taken hold of you and begun to permanently transform you? I found myself pondering this question last week and was soon thinking about people I have known who once professed faith, but who eventually grew cold, grew distant, and fell away. If you have been a Christian for any length of time, you, too, have known people like this. Over time it became clear that their faith had been a mirage. They had deceived the people around them, but they had first deceived themselves. And any time I see these people fall away I am left asking, What would have marked them as true believers? How could I have known that they really got the gospel? How could they have known that they really got the gospel? Maybe it would have been this: You know that you really get the gospel when it is God’s grace rather than God’s wrath that amazes you. I often hear people express their amazement and even their disgust at the very notion of a wrathful God. But when I hear true believers, I hear them express amazement at the reality of a gracious God. It is grace, not wrath, that baffles them. “Why? Why me? Why would God extend such grace to me?” This is, I think, why John Newton’s “Amazing Grace” has remained such a popular and powerful hymn. Newton’s cry was “amazing grace.” Wrath did not surprise or offend him. He knew of his wretchedness, his own deep depravity. He was already convicted that he was fully deserving of God’s justice. So it was grace that shocked him. It was grace that seemed so out-of-place. If there was any offense to the gospel it was that God would take the sin of a very bad man like John Newton and place it on the perfect man Jesus Christ. You know that you really get it when the shocking thing about the gospel is not that God extends wrath to sinners, but that he extends grace. And here’s why: The basic human condition is to believe that God isn’t really all that holy and that I’m not really that bad. God is lenient toward sin, and, as it happens, I am not really all that deeply sinful anyway. So we are a good match, God and I. It takes no faith to believe that. It takes no great change of mind and heart. But the gospel unmasks that kind of delusion. The gospel helps us see things as they really are. The gospel says that God really is far holier than I dared even imagine and that I am far more sinful than I ever could have guessed. And, right there—with the right assessment of both God and me—right there the gospel blazes forth. Right there the gospel gives hope. (Once again I’m indebted to Michael Kruger’s lectures on Romans)

Source: God’s Not Really That Holy, I’m Not Really That Bad

1 thought on “God’s Not Really That Holy, I’m Not Really That Bad”

  1. Thank you I just logged on to catch then I read that blog and realised why I believe. I got Baptised in 2007and walked on a cloud for a while but then i thought God had forgotten me I was making the mistake the evil one wanted me to.I had forgotten him.
    I relapsed into drink few drugs started listening to the wrong music did an even worse sin. I was out for me but a member at Bethesda never gave up on me she was with me the day I was told I had cancer 23rd August 2013 that day apart from the shock of realising I had cancer without thinking I did not dive into a bottle or do any drug to get away from myself. I admimited my sin to an elder they decided I could stay and welcomed me back with open arms.
    I have sinned in every way most members would be shocked to know the reality of what I’ve done where I’ve ended up in drug houses just so I could drink, these people were not friends they stole £60 out my purse I forgive her (I think) as I know what she’s going through the desperate measure you go to lie, cheat, manipulate, steal just for money for that fix.
    My huge thing now is “Why would God except me? a sinner of the lowest sort? surely he can never love me?” I always think of Mary Maqgdaline he forgave and saved her so yes he can choose ne despite everything. The hardest thing is convincing myelf I’m worthy.
    That has been my struggle slowly I stopped hearing the voice of temptation I turned to the Lord and I do believe one night he spoke to me. Now that could be my imagination but it was his words, I had prayed to open the Bible to a page that helped me I opened Job, my hardest book to grasp. I thought “Well that didn’t help” then a whisper said “Can you see now my child, open your eyes, from now on your blindness to me has been lifted” and it hit me hold onto my faith whatever like Job.
    D-Day as they call it or diagnosis day was the last day I ever drank or did street drugs (the hospital pumped enough into me!) and I have unfortunately not had an easy recovery, first lymphodema then peripharal nurology now my thyroid’s stopped working and drugs from doctor do not agree with me, but I can’t sleep all day I have a family who need their mum and wife, I myself too want to feel I’ve achieved something even the ironing as it helps me. To be able to clean the house alone is giving me a sense of achievement.
    I pray I can make church tomorrow as most members will know who I am, as been so unwell the website has been a huge thing for me I can lkisten to Andrea’s sermons at home and it keeps me on track.
    I hold my dear friend Barbar up tp the Lord for healing she’s been there just when I need someone,

    A member who is graqteful
    Grace is a baffling concept Praise the Lord
    (excuse any spelling errors husband’s computer has lost spell check)


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