i'm typing this in editpad lite because typing it into the blogger page using opera can have some nasty typo side effects if you're not careful about what you're doing. i like using opera for its keyboard shortcuts and handy mouse-gesture shortcuts, but occasionally it bites if you scotch a bunch of stuff you just spent five minutes typing for what should have been a really quick post.
i was going to put up a follow-up post to my one on acts 15 but my opinions on the passage have not changed and i remain convinced that the application regarding table-fellowship is a natural outworking of the passage but not the main thrust of the passage itself.
i am going to say a few words about grace. ironic perhaps, given the vehemence of my previous paragraph, but heartfelt nonetheless.
i love that God loves me, that he sent Jesus to be punished for my rebellion against God and my inability to live up to God's righteous requirements for entry into his heavenly kingdom. i love that there's nothing anyone, not even i myself, can do to separate me from that love that God has shown in his work of salvation in Christ. i love that when i pray, my weak and distracted thoughts and words are transformed by the Holy Spirit's power and intercession into prayer that glorifies God and shows my life in submission to his will. i love that everything that makes me Christian is entirely an act of God and none of mine. it's very comforting.
relient k, in their song be my escape says, "the beauty of grace is that it makes life not fair", and that's the truth because what we mere humans forget is that the definition of fair is not ours - it's God's. we say, "that's not fair!", because we feel it's not fair to us. it's like a dog barking to its owner that it's not fair that it's getting meaty-bites again!. it's not up to the dog what it eats - that's up to its master. we don't like to think of God being our master because to us, to our teensy-weensy pea-sized brains, it's not fair. do small children always know what's good for them? how do they learn? what's the best way? in the face of eternity, surely it's hubris to think that we know better than God what's good for us.
the thing i love most about the grace of God afforded those who after receiving it call themselves Christians is this: all you have to do is repent and believe the gospel. that's it. admit that you don't do things God's way, accept that Jesus' death is punishment for your sins laid on the one God chose to punish, trust that Jesus' resurrection is the preview of your own resurrection, and welcome the Holy Spirit into your heart and be changed by him.
that's it. you don't have to follow rules to become a Christian. you don't have to make some huge sacrifice. you don't have to sell your house. you don't have to quit smoking. you don't have to quit drugs. you don't have to leave your boyfriend and go back to your wife and family. you don't have to do any of these things to become a Christian. the offer is made to anyone with ears to hear and mouth to say "yes".
what you do after you become a Christian will reflect your understanding of what God has done and what he says his ideals are for your life. sometimes that means change, sometimes not. sometimes what you didn't have to change when you first became a Christian will become something that has to change as you mature in your faith. that happens in any relationship - some things you do with friends are only appropriate after years of friendship, some things you outgrow.
all the things i do that are wrong; all the things that are right that i don't do; all these things i repent of, now and for as often as you require of me, o God. search me, o God, and know my heart, test me and find all my evil, then lead me in ways that will be everlasting and i'll serve you, my God.