Quotes from Getting Jesus Wrong
I recently finished Getting Jesus Wrong by Matt Johnson. I would recommend this book to discover if you have accepted a false view of Jesus. Johnson has a great understanding of law and gospel and how a focus on Christ not the Christian is most important. Here are quotes that resonated with me:
While we still live in a messed-up world, hope is not something we can activate through spiritual activity or church associations. No, the core of the Christian faith is about objective hope that lives outside of our personal experiences and hearts. Objective hope is found in the miracle of the death and resurrection of Jesus.
Here’s the good news: the mountaintop experiences of life aren’t normative. If everything in our lives of faith were a mountaintop, then nothing would be a mountaintop. Jesus does not require that we ascend up to him; he descends to us
But on each step of the way faith must be grounded in who Jesus is and what he’s done...Not hope in what is in your heart for God, but what is in God’s heart for you...Not hope in what you must do for God, but in what your Savior has already done for you.
Rather than view the Christian life as an achievable game of morality and then fall into inevitable prideful despair aghast at our sin and our failure to live up to the rules, we can take our eyes off of our own navels and look up and out. This involves straightening up and looking to what Jesus has done in his historical, objective, living, dying, and rising for us (Romans 4:25) and holding on for dear life to his proclamation that “it is finished” (John 19:30).
Tickling ears with a best-life message is easy. Preaching and practicing non-judgmental, no-strings-attached grace in a diverse community in different stages of life and maturity . . . that’s tough.
The problem with self-focused faith is that it locates hope in an internal quality we think we can get our hands on—a quality made possible by obeying the rules of an “owner’s manual.” This is faith in a quality of faith instead of our object of faith, Jesus Christ himself...When we make it about morality, we are set up for pride or despair. Instead, the focal point of Christianity is Jesus Christ. We fall in love with him again and again because of his grace to sinners—to us.
The fact is—and this has to be received in faith—God is making all things new despite whether you are willing or able to cooperate with him. Those who are in Christ, those who belong to Jesus possess a glorious already-not-yet present. Yes, we are called to express our faith in love, but don’t forget that faith is God’s gift. That good gift is not based on your ability to perform for him. You’re in the family. You’re adopted, loved, and secure.
A Sunday morning message can include a lot of talk about Jesus or a whole bunch of Bible teaching. But when the transformed life of the believer takes center stage in the pulpit, you’ve got a problem.
Therefore, what I most need when I go to church is a reminder of forgiveness and our great Savior who loves me unconditionally. This is what gives me the courage and motivation to go out and once again seek to love my God and my neighbor.
The true purpose of the Law is to kick our butts and show us our desperate need for Jesus. The Law is not good news. It’s a death sentence and a never-ending accusation. The Law imprisons us and puts us under guarded watch (Galatians 3:23–24). This is not to disparage the Law. As Paul says in Romans, the Law is holy, righteous, and good (7:12). The Law isn’t the problem; we are the problem because we can’t live up to its demands...The Law rattles our cages. Better yet, we need the Law’s full force to get us good and dead—dead to our own selfishness, blindness, and perpetual sin. The Law cannot save. It condemns, judges, accuses, reviles, kills, and brings wrath. These are the Bible’s words by the way, not mine.
The Law and gospel must always go together, but they have different functions. One kills, and the other makes alive. One is the diagnosis, the other is the cure. And Law is always in service to the gospel.
It means that all that I’ve experienced as God’s “no” (Law) has an answer in the gospel of Jesus (God’s “yes”).
“God’s love does not find, but creates, that which is pleasing to it.”
When I go to church, I need the message of death and resurrection over and over and over.
The resurrection message is easy to get wrong though. Many have in their minds that salvation is a one-time event (I walked the aisle and prayed the prayer). From there on out, staying in the club means you’ll have to pay your dues and perfectly obey, or at least prove how committed you are through your works. But death and resurrection in the life of the Christian isn’t a one-time event. That is, we are saved in a moment in time. We are being saved in the present, and we will be saved in the future. It’s an ongoing, everyday process. The fringe benefit of this news is that the Law can’t condemn the Christian anymore. It will accuse you for sure. You can be certain it will give you a measuring stick for holy perfection. But it will point you to Christ again where real perfection is found. The Law can no longer condemn you. In Christ, you are free.
Our holiness is not achieved but received.
I cling for dear life to the truth that my redemption is as sure as Jesus’s resurrection.
Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. Jesus is the bread from heaven that satisfies forever. Jesus is the water of life—the spring that never runs dry...And I have hope, that even when I don’t “feel” it, God’s promised presence is with me. He is holding onto me, even when I lose my grip on him. He will not let me go.