“Jesus gave everything of Himself so I could have everything of Him. Not just a ‘get out of hell free’ card, but a destiny, an identity, a purpose, a brotherhood… a life.” –Inseparable, p. 18
This week we’ve been reading Chapter 2: Made Right. When I was writing the book, I felt like it was extremely important to start out with the gospel: The story of God’s original plan for the world and people, how everything and everyone is broken by sin, and what He did through Jesus to put us back together. Once we’re in Christ, we’re right with God, now and forever. When we’re in Christ, instead of being separated from God we’re bound together with Him in love.
I’d like to take a moment to talk about repentance. It’s a word that might make you roll your eyes–at least it did for me for a long time. I spent a lot of time in religious circles and I got really tired of always being told to repent. My understanding of it was that it meant I had to wallow in shame and hate myself all the time for the bad things I do or have done. I couldn’t have been farther off in my ideas of repentance. While we will experience sadness or guilt over the error of our ways, rather than “beat yourself up forever” repentance means to “change your perspective, way of thinking, and direction.” It means we choose to believe God, trust Him, and hand over control. We embrace a new life, a new way of thinking and being that comes through the refining work of His Spirit in us. It’s a lifelong commitment to seeking God’s Kingdom and being a learner and lover of Jesus. So while our initial repentance and decision to follow Christ is indeed crucial, we will spend the rest of our lives aligning ourselves with God’s desires for us rather than giving in to the temptation to take life into our own hands. That’s why the gospel is so important for all of us, not just those who don’t yet trust Jesus.
I hope you’ll take a moment to read Romans chapters 1-3, as well as this excerpt from chapter 2 of Inseparable:
“You were once at odds with God, wicked in your ways and evil in your minds; but now He has reconciled you in His body—in His flesh through His death—so that He can present you to God holy, blameless, and totally free of imperfection as long as you stay planted in the faith. So don’t venture away from what you have heard and taken to heart: the living hope of the good news that has been announced to all creation under heaven and has captured me, Paul, as its servant” (Col. 1:21–23, the Voice).
Jesus has reconciled us to God. It’s been done. There is no way we could ever make amends with God on our own, and we need to allow ourselves to enjoy the freedom that brings our souls. I hope you have felt the sweet relief of having the weight lifted off your shoulders through His forgiveness. Don’t go back and pick up baggage you have already left behind. I pray that you will start to see yourself through God’s eyes. When He looks at you, He no longer sees you as a sinner—He sees you as righteous in Jesus. Paul wrote, “Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ” (Phil. 3:8–9 ESV, bold emphasis added). When God sees you, He sees the covering of Christ. Stay rooted in that.
This week’s assignment is to read Chapter 3: Corpse Alive. We’ll take a look at how God brings us from spiritual death into spiritual life. Hang on to your hats!
***CONTENT ALERT: the Corpse Alive chapter discusses depression, death, and other sensitive topics.***
This week’s discussion questions:
Have you ever known someone who clearly views her/himself only as God sees her/him? What was that person like?