Tuesday, May 6, 2014

As a Little Child

Jesus said, "Whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will not enter into it at all."
We've been taught this means to have "child-like faith." But the context is about Jesus receiving children to Himself. Let us look at this with what is said next, "'Whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will not enter into it at all.' Then taking the children in His arms, He was blessing them. And putting His hands on them."

Is Jesus actually picturing us receiving the kingdom of God, not as a child would, but as if it were a child?

People love getting to see & hold my baby daughter. They smile & are excited. Is that the type of eager & happy attitude Jesus is saying people should be having when they are getting saved instead of an attitude of brokenness over sin? Remember the gospel is that Jesus DIDN'T hold our sins against us & that He TOOK THEM AWAY on the cross. He was broken for us so we don't have to be broken. Receiving salvation was never meant to be a time of shame over sin but instead a time to rejoice over the REMOVAL of sin & shame!

Some people are afraid of holding a new born. They don't trust themselves to handle him or her properly. Likewise I've heard people choose not to be saved because they couldn't handle it properly, meaning they think they sin too much.

But was Jesus saying the genuine salvation experience doesn't spring from an attitude of shamefulness over sin or a fear of hell/God/punishment but with eagerness & happiness treasuring what God is giving to you?

Was Jesus cluing us into what makes false conversions? Is getting saved about the fleeing of fear & flames or the freeing Fatherly embrace of God? People who were saved in the New Testament leaped with joy, they didn't bow & wail.

It is no wonder so many seek to "recommit" their lives to God. Because right from the start they are taught that God holds sins against them, that He demands apology & remorse & shame & brokenness on our part before we ever engage Him. That is not good news!

It treats God as a newspaper stand. You have to pay Him one of those supposed demands every time you want a taste of good news. Whenever you have to pay for good news you aren't getting good news, you aren't getting the true results of the gospel. You aren't receiving God's free gift. You are receiving falsehood that pins you down instead of frees you.

Jesus told a Parable about a "Pearl of Great Price." He said, "The kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, he went and sold all that he had and bought it." We have been falsely told that Jesus is the pearl & we must give up all we have to pay to get Him. But the truth is that admission into the kingdom is free. Jesus is the merchant who found our beauty & paid the great price of His life for us. We are the beautiful pearl.

The message is not that we are wretched sinners in need of a savior. It is that we are lost but BEAUTIFUL pearls that need their value restored. Redeem means "to restore value." The good news isn't that God is awesome & we are filthy failures. It is that we are beautiful to our awesome Father regardless of our filth & failures & that He & Jesus "gave everything they had" to make us a part of their family.

So when someone is coming to be saved they shouldn't be picturing a disappointed dad withholding all love until he receives an apology. They should be seeing a Father who loves them more than they ever realized whose heart is home. A Father who has already done all the work, already has everything provided for you. You don't even have to lay down your burdens. He lifts them off of you. This is true forgiveness, not that He temporarily gives up a grudge, but that He grasps your guilt & erases it, freeing you forever.

How sweet to hold the kingdom within you & the joy it brings.

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