n the last Mountain Lesson we talked about confession—agreeing with our God about the sins and the calling of our lives. Confession that is centered in returning to a right standing with God is healing. It promotes the health of our spirits. It prevents infection and decay. It cleanses us.
This Christian life?
This relationship I am in with the Father? this faith I proclaim?
It is not about anything I do.
It is not about what I do to become or be a good Christian. It is not about what I sacrifice, what I offer or what I bring to the table. It is not about my morality or doctrinal stance. It is not about my adherence to man-made traditions. Or human expectations. The Christian walk is not about my misguided stabs at trying to find salvation. Over and over I have stabbed in the darkness with so many things: bible study, church attendance, prayer, devotions, quiet times and moral doctrine.Many times my bible study has been seasonal and random and rarely retaining, my church attendance has often been a reluctant duty with no life or energy, my prayers have often been as stale as a long opened bag of chips, my devotions dry as saltine crackers, quiet times full of din and static and my doctrinal beliefs rigidly and horribly misguided.
None of these will save me or you. None of them.
No! This Christian life is about what God did through Jesus. My salvation and redemption does not pivot on my performance. It hinges on the willing sacrifice of God’s Son to buy his people back. To buy me back.
I can do nothing for God, but because of what he did for me I can do everything for him. Nothing I do can earn my clear conscience. Nothing I offer can put peace in my spirit, Nothing I do can produce goodness in me. Nothing I can say or do will erase my shame. Nothing I do can or will transform me. Nothing. But glory to God, he can do all these things and has.
We tend to make salvation and its story man-centered. People-centered. We try to strain and stretch this story, this long-reaching act of ransom, so that we become the heroes and heroines.
We are not the heroes and heroines. God help the story if we are.
We are the ones needing to be saved.
Our hair has grown too long, we have lost our glass slippers, we have eaten far too much of the gingerbread house, we have given up our voices in order to obtain something we aren’t even sure will want us, our houses have succumbed to wind and flames and we have been deceived by the wolf far too many times.
We want to be the powerful protagonists of the story.
We want to be flawless characters (which of course would mean that we are static).
But everyone, and I do mean everyone, is a flawed character in this story. The absolute reality is that at any given time all of us—I do mean all, there is no exception—are flawed.
We should never be persuaded to believe otherwise.
We are not the voice in the narrative.
This is God’s story.
This is His plan of salvation.
And we can try to add to it, but our attempts will never be enough, because that is all they ever are: attempts. Futile tries.
Adam and Eve attempted to cover their nakedness with fig leaves. They tried to cover their bareness with torn and broken leaves far too small. Why? Because they suddenly saw ugliness where before they saw only beauty. They tried to write their own story; the deceiver told them God was holding out on them.
They believed the subtle, slick and silky snake.
We do too.
The deceiver tells us we can write our own stories. He implies that God is holding out on us. He convinces us that it is about us.
He wants us to believe this lie.
He tries to convince God’s people that salvation is our story, but it is not.
It is God’s story.
He is the hero.
All our attempts to live this Christian life are like stringing fig leaves together to cover a nakedness we no longer understand. Our endeavors to create and design an acceptable wardrobe is in vain. We are like the emperor who paraded down the streets in his nakedness believing he was wearing royal robes.
Only the willing sacrificial offering of Jesus covers us.
This is our salvation.
That’s it. Nothing else.