The windows are open. Through them a cool breeze wafts through, and with it comes the pattering of a gentle, soaking rain. Bird chatter adds melody to the soft percussion of raindrops. As for me? Having the leisure to sit, wrapped in a throw, on the couch by a window, with a candle on the coffee table and good reading at hand has made for an ideal morning.
Joy is welling up in my heart–joy at good news:
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Gal. 2:20)
…how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify [cleanse, free] our conscience from dead [useless] works [attempts] to serve the living God. (Heb. 9:14)
Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it. (1 Thes. 5:24)
These verses (and a commentary based on Hebrews 9:11-23 that references them) have reminded me of the incredible freedom of a clear conscience available through Jesus’ work. While I may think that good standing before God is dependent on my faithfulness in prayer, diligence in study, sacrifice in serving others–none of that makes a difference. As the commentary points out:
God does not love you because you serve him; God loves you because he is love! He accepts you because you believe in Christ. That is the only reason. […] God welcomes you into his presence not on the grounds of your Christian progress, the depth of your knowledge, or even the degree of victory you have found, but on the grounds of the blood of the Lamb.
The answer to the hazy sense of guilt that hounds even Christians–those who have believed and accepted Jesus’ work for them–is not to be better at Christian disciplines, but to look again to Jesus’ one-time solution. There is such joy to know though I have been found lacking, Jesus has done everything needed for me to be brought into good standing before God, with nothing that I can do to add to it. Seeing life in this light dispels the compulsion towards the busy work of trying to be good enough. I’m not good enough, but Jesus is, and He invites me into a fullness of joy, life and purpose in the kingdom work that He is doing.
And so, as the rain slows and I start thinking about the day’s tasks, I pray for the grace to remember, to trust, and to learn this truth again and again in the moments and events of this day, this week, and on.