You have been ransomed by Christ. Your treachery is forgiven. You are entirely pardoned for every wrong thought and desire and deed. This is what the vast majority of Christians understand as the central work of Christ for us. And make no mistake about it—it is a deep and stunning truth, one that will set you free and bring you joy. For a while. But the joy for most of us has proved fleeting, because we find that we need to be forgiven again and again and again. Christ has died for us, but we remain (so we believe) deeply marred. It actually ends up producing a great deal of guilt. “After all that Christ has done for you ... and now you’re back here asking forgiveness again?” To be destined to a life of repeating the very things that sent our Savior to the cross can hardly be called salvation.

Think of it: you are a shadow of the person you were meant to be. You have nothing close to the life you were meant to have. And you have no real chance of becoming that person or finding that life. However, you are forgiven. For the rest of your days, you will fail in your attempts to become what God wants you to be. You should seek forgiveness and try again. Eventually, shame and disappointment will cloud your understanding of yourself and your God. When this ongoing hell on earth is over, you will die, and you will be taken before your God for a full account of how you didn’t measure up. But you will be forgiven. After that, you’ll be asked to take your place in the choir of heaven. This is what we mean by “salvation.”

The good news is ... that is not Christianity. Oh, I know it is what most people now living think Christianity is all about, including the majority of Christians. Thank God, they are wrong. There is more. A lot more. And that more is what most of us have been longing for most of our lives.

 

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