Wednesday, March 07, 2012

What God Is About

As it turns out, forgiveness and removal of sin was a secondary issue; it wasn’t the point. Jesus said, “I have come that you may have life.” Forgiveness was only the warm-up act. God’s life—the giving and receiving and enjoyment of it—is what God is all about. Today. With you.


  1. Tom NeSmith12:30 PM


  2. Lee Brown12:30 PM

    Thanks for this HUGE reminder, Ralph!

  3. Billy Warren12:31 PM


  4. "...but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." Hooray!

  5. Debbie Rector12:35 PM

    Celebration dance going on inside this earth suit! Thanks for sharing LIFE ♥

  6. Rene Trabu12:35 PM

    WOW !! Amen ♥

  7. John Brangenberg12:46 PM

    The two are inseparable. How can anyone enjoy God while weighed down under a burden of sin and guilt? Why do we need to label any part primary and secondary? It's all part of the same glorious gift of God.

  8. My point is both true and experiential: many Christians remain more focused upon sin—the pointing out of it, the confession of it, the avoidance of it, etc.—than they are upon life and the enjoyment of Him.

  9. Aletta Ticki Martinez1:47 PM

    This is liberting!

  10. Blake Rymer3:27 PM

    This is very good!

  11. Ryan Lytton3:32 PM

    I think some context helps us here.

    "7 So Jesus said to them again, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. 8 All who came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. 9 I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and [a]have it abundantly"

    Jesus' words are a contrast of his purpose and work with that of the thief. He's explaining to them the difference between his shepherding and that of the enemy. That doesn't remove the importance of forgiveness or removal of sin. Quite to the contrary, entering through Christ requires just that, the forgiveness and removal of our sin. We cannot walk through that door and find pasture is we are still weighed down by sin.

    As John Brangenberg pointed out, the two are inseparable. Christ came to forgive us and remove our sins SO THAT we can have life. The abundant life of Christ does not mix well with sin. And while I appreciate that you are trying to emphasize that we should focus on living that life, instead of worrying about sin, I don't believe balance will be found in overemphasizing one to make up for an overemphasis of the other. We need to both flee sin, and run towards God. And those two actions are in fact one.

  12. Now that Christians are no longer weighed down by sin (since it has been removed and forgiven), a continued focus upon it is counter-productive. A continued pointing out of sin does not provide balance but bondage. Sin seizes opportunities brought about by sin-avoiding behavior management commandments—always has and always will—and death results. (See Rom 7:7-11, 21-25; 1 Cor 15:56) That kind of life is the best attempt this world has, but it is not Christian life. Those fixated will trade experiencing the life of Christ (not a life lived for Him, but His life found in us) for days of behavior management. . .and the failure which must come from it.

    By focusing upon Christ, who is our life and who dwells in us, is the fruit of the Spirit produced. The Spirit is in conflict with the flesh, and by our sowing toward Him (talking with Him, focusing upon Jesus and the cross and resurrection, enjoying all that is ours through the New Covenant, etc.) does He win that conflict. And Christ’s life comes out! (See Gal 5:16-25) It’s amazing and it’s miraculous.

    What I am getting at is Christ in us, found by us, and lived through us. That’s LIFE—His life now made mine.

  13. Ryan Lytton5:38 PM

    I agree that we shouldn't focus on sin in our daily lives. But that's not what your original post claims. You claimed that forgiveness is a secondary issue, grounded in Jesus' claim that he came to give us life. So his redemptive work was not for the purpose of forgiving sin, but for giving life. The problem with that is that forgiving sin and giving life are the same thing. Neither I (nor I assume John Brangenberg) are claiming that Christians should go around pointing out each others deficiencies. We aren't suggesting that we should continue to focus on it either. We're saying (or at least, I'm saying) that we cannot relegate his forgiveness to a secondary idea. Without it, Christ would not be in us, he would not be found by us. He would not live through us. Christ came to redeem mankind from sin, so that they could experience communion with God.

  14. Well said, Ryan. While I don’t see forgiving sin and giving life as the same thing, each is part of the whole. I think of life as Jesus Himself, and it has simply been my overwhelming experience that many of us are not knowing and enjoying Jesus because we’ve been focused upon behavior management. Behavior is very important, and a Christian’s way toward it is vital. An improper view plagues us and I want to help people move on to life. Thank you for this discussion—it has been a good work out.

  15. Ben Thompson11:12 PM

    Awesome insight! I was just thinking about that today also, lol. Get this - remember where God said in Hebrews 8:12 AND way back in Jeremiah 31:34 "..for I will forgive their wickedness and remember their sins no more.."? God's very specific in the way he puts things in order. Notice how wickedness is mentioned first. Wickedness is an identity issue..sins are the fruit of wickedness. Life is what we needed and through faith in Jesus, He forgave or "divorced" us from our old identity through giving His life to us. Great stuff Ralph! -Ben