One day, this guy who worked in our youth ministry told us that he had just accepted Jesus and become a Christian. WHAT?? But he WORKED for the church. How could he not be saved?
His wife, who was mentoring me at the time, said that she was just as surprised as the next person, but that God was doing an amazing work in her husband. Matthew 7:22-23 says, “On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’” Basically, “Yeah.. you’ve DONE all this stuff for me, but I don’t KNOW you.” Um… scary. And that was my life…until I heard the gospel preached for the first time and my life was changed.
Legalism is a constant battle for me. It’s tempting to think, “I work for a church now…therefore, God is pleased with me.” And before working on staff at Fellowship, I would think the opposite, “God’s probably mad that I missed church this morning… but I’ll make up for it! I’ll spend extra time reading the Bible this week..”
But the Bible doesn’t teach that. The Bible teaches that God is for me- no matter what! (Romans 8:31) That he loves me deeply and knows me better than I know myself. (Psalm 139) He knit me together in my mother’s womb— “knit”— like he took time to make me and thought carefully about the intricacies that would make up who I am. He cares. He loves me regardless of how I perform. AND, for that matter, when I do “perform well” (in my own eyes), Isaiah 64:6 says that “our righteousness is as filthy rags.”
He died for me, not because of anything that I have done or could ever do, but just because he loves me. Period. He loves me.
Okay. So… what do I do if when those untrue thoughts present themselves? I focus on the truth of the Gospel. John Piper says that sometimes you just need to “get alone with God and preach his Word into your mind until your heart sings with confidence that you are new and cared for.”
This is what I know to be true:
He is for me.
I’m clinging daily to that truth.
Jordan Scott is the Communications Coordinator at Fellowship Memphis. (fellowshipmemphis.org)