There are some people who could not care what others think. I want us to become one of them. Listening to the Gospel, I want us to totally ignore what our wicked flesh says, what our culture says, what our friends often say, what the Law always says, and that which Satan screams in your ear. Because we are clothed in the righteousness of Christ, I want us to walk today with more confidence and holiness. By the end of this devotional, I want all of us — brothers and sisters in Christ — to enjoy proclaiming the following mantra, “I’m OK, you’re OK, only because He’s OK.”
Our Culture Never Lets Up
We live in a temporal world that bluffs. It talks much about “being yourself” and “not conforming,” but it does everything in its power to squeeze us into its intolerant mold. In the process, all we can do is sing along with Mick Jagger, “I can’t get no satisfaction, and I try, and I try, and I try, and I try.” We are like chameleons always seeking how we might best fit in. We are posers doing anything we can to not be disapproved or labeled a loser. Whether we are talking about body image, clothing and accessories, athletic achievement, intellectual acumen, college selection, professional credentials, housing and material possessions, career path, bank account, or family pedigree, culture calls us to always look around, listen to the mantra, take the temperature, see what’s hot, and adjust accordingly. As we perform we are applauded. As long as we keep our peers happy, our ears are tickled and our backs are stroked. We are constantly tempted to find our value and base our worth upon the grading scale put forth by the Joneses. However, it is impossible for us to find lasting satisfaction when looking at the Joneses; this is for at least three reasons:
- We can’t measure up and keep their standard all the time. At some point we are not going to be at the top of our game, and everyone knows we are only as good as our last game.
- We can’t measure up and keep the Joneses’ standard, for they are always changing their expectations. The standard of today is never the standard of tomorrow. Culture is always changing that which is excellent.
- We can’t measure up and keep all the various Joneses happy. That which is valued by some is not valued by others. Not all the Joneses are agreed on what the balanced, full-orbed, successful individual looks like.
Therefore, as we look all around seeing the applause of men, we are never done. We are always weighed and found wanting in some regard. Someone in our world is always ready to put us in our place. We are never able to say “I’m OK, you’re OK, because He’s OK.”
God’s Law Never Lets Up
Satan and his minions delight when they see parents and pastors whispering non-truths in our ears. They do not mind when fathers in the home and the church use the word “grace” as long as “grace” is misdefined and “works” are added to the mix. They are more than happy when mothers and ministers present a relentless duty to adequately perform. Why? Satan and his minions know full-well the fruit of such sermons. They know such religious talk will leave each and every believer second-guessing their salvation and/or their acceptance. They delight in children of the Father crawling about unable to enjoy God and struggling with never-ending feelings of inferiority and inadequacy.
Oh, such ministers and parents may have good intentions; they may be preaching a Law-based sermon for a number of good reasons:
- Perhaps they are concerned with antinomianism and do not wish to see their followers living in intentional, blatant, unrepentant sin.
- They may be preaching such a Law-based Gospel because they are concerned with controlling their children and members.
- They could also be desperate to keep them from experiencing the Lord’s discipline and adding scars to their lives.
- Perhaps their major concern is the testimony of Christ, their church, their family, and their children.
- Some may be fearful of granting someone assurance of faith who is really still bound for hell.
- Many could simply love God and really want his people to keep his commandments.
Yes, some fathers in the church and home think they are doing God and their followers a favor by preaching a Law-based sermon, but in reality they are doing God and his people a disservice. They are not preaching the true Gospel of Jesus Christ. In the words of Paul, such Law-based authorities are presenting a very devilish sermon — a Non-Gospel — one to be accursed.
Consequently, we as God’s children walk about, listening to the fickle world and and the unrelenting Law, sensing our failure, lack of worth, and inadequacy. We are losers, and we are miserable. We are never cool enough. We are never righteous enough. Looking at our performance, “Even though Jesus is OK, I’m not OK, and you’re not OK either.”
How about a different way of living?
Let us find our confidence in Christ, for this is where we find our true identity. We ought to find our acceptance and worth, not in what others say, not in what the Law requires, but only in the merit given us by the Father because of our union with the Son. Have we listened to the Word of God lately? Have we understood all that God has done for us? Have we preached the Gospel to ourselves today?
- We are the one’s talked by the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit in eternity past.
- We are the one’s whose names are written in the Book before the beginning.
- We are the elect.
- We are the beloved.
- We are the ones for whom the Father killed the Son.
- We are the ones for who the Son came to die.
- We are his friends — that’s pretty tight.
- We are his children — that’s pretty awesome.
- We are his bride — that’s pretty intimate.
- We are his saints.
- We are his temple; his holy of holy.
- We are those promised and destined to see his face and share in his glory.
- We are those who cause the angels to herald.
- We are those who cause the Son to sing.
- We are those who cause the Father to dance.
We have such privileges not because of our past performance. We have such privileges not because of our current and/or future performance. We have just been gifted such position and blessings. We just “are” because he decided to love us and shower us with undeserved privilege. Yes, we heard. Yes, were responded. Yes, we had faith. Yes, we repented. Yes, we seek to do good works. Yes, we strive to be faithful. Yes, we persevere. But all of this is only because he graciously targeted us, caused us to receive his free grace, and works within us to finish that which he has begun. Grace is of God, all of it. It is not a cooperative project. Grace is given not earned. And it is permanent and not temporary.
Friends, if we have called upon Christ to be our Savior and Lord, our identity is secure and unchanging. The remaining question is, “Do we believe the inspired and authoritative Word of God, or will we prefer to keep listening to the voice of our fickle word or the unrelenting voice of God’s holy Law? Will we not listen to the Gospel instead? Because we are declared perfect by God, we don’t have to listen to God’s Law in order to be accepted. Obedience and identity had a correlation under the Covenant of Works, but all is different under the Covenant of Grace. Because Jesus obeyed, and because we are clothed in Jesus’ righteousness, we are identified as holy, holy, holy just like our thrice-holy God.
Children of God, the Gospel declares us to be perfect. Our performance is over and graded, and now we perform because we desire to — we have new hearts. We can now relax in Christ as we labor to keep his good Law. We can enjoy his sovereign grace while we partner with the Holy Spirit to work out our salvation. The world and the Law’s evaluation of our performance has nothing to do with the Father’s declaration of our acceptance. Friends, this is the Gospel. This is the Good News. This is truth, and so I encourage all of us to speak the truth to ourselves today. “I’m OK, you’re OK, only because He’s OK.”