God loves you when you do good. He frowns upon you and punishes you when you don't.
When Elyse Fitzpatrick describes this in this week's chapter, "Your Inheritance", I relate:
...When you face trial or suffering, is your first respons to look back over your life to see if there is some reason God should be punishing you? Do you scrutinize the performance of your daily disciplines? How's my prayer life? Did I read my Bible? Maybe I should have fasted yesterday. Do you rake over every thought, word, and deed searching for some failure that makes you deserving of this trouble? (p. 88)
I relate, because for the longest time, I did not know or understand GRACE. I didn't see that the work of salvation is all Christ's and not mine. I didn't understand that the gift of salvation was not merely forgiveness but the mercy and generosity of an amazing inheritance in Christ. I spent so much of my life crushed by guilt, feeling unable to approach Him, and trying to make myself more worthy of His forgiveness and righteousness. I spent much of my life unsaved.
This week's chapter is about our inheritance. If you were brought up in the church, you likely immediately think of Heaven. And you would be right. And yet, that is not ALL that our inheritance is. Our inheritance is in essence, knowing Christ, himself, and having all the freedom, righteousness, joy, and intimacy with the Father that comes with receiving His inheritance.
And it is ours right now. Today. In the trials and challenges of this life.
Rather than relegating eternal life to a future day, we must realize that we possess his life now, especially on those days when we struggle against unbelief and sin and are tempted to think that he is so disappointed in us that he has to forsake us. The gospel tells us that being forsaken is part of the punishment for sin that our Savior bore in our place. If you are in christ, no matter what you day has been like, no matter how many times you blew it, his life is yours (p. 84)
So why is it so important to understand our inheritance and to consider it's reality in our daily lives? Because we are not yet who we will be in eternity. We are not perfect. We experience trials, suffering, and consequences of sin. How do we deal with those aspects of our lives?
Although God does discipline or train us as the Master Teacher, his work in our lives is never punitive; it is always redemptive. This means that he doesn't punish us for our sin, but rather that, because of his great love, he gently and lovingly frees us from the lies, misconceptions, and idolatries that captivate and enslave our hearts. He never punishes us in wrath because he has no wrath left. Every drop of his wrath was all poured out on his Son. (p. 88-89)
Friends, what we were reminded of this week is that, as children, we are corrected in love, not punished in wrath. If we don't repeat the Gospel to ourselves, we will be tempted to think ourselves less than children, based on our track record and daily performance. We will be tempted to thinks ourselves slaves and not free. We need not live as outcasts when He has redeemed us to be His own.
"His disposition toward you today is what it has been since he made you his own: he loves you and longs for you to know it and savor every drop of it." (p. 91)
This should, indeed, change our perspective today!
Now let's talk about it...
1) What is the most comforting aspect of your inheritance? What are you resting in today?
2) How do you respond to your own sin? Are you tempted to believe that God is punishing you? What is the difference between punishment and redemptive discipline?
3) What struck you the most about this chapter?
I'd love to hear your thoughts! You can do so in two ways...
*Leave a comment below, and feel free to discuss with others there!
*Write a blog post either answering these questions or with your own reactions to the chapter, and link up your blog post below! (Remember to add the title and url for the specific post and not your blog url and name. Thanks!)
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(It's not too late to read along. If you haven't purchased a copy of the book, you can do so here.)
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