My father-in-law – Bill Keyes.
This Christmas, my father-in-law gave me a book he had read recently by Jerry Bridges & Bob Bevington – The Bookends of the Christian Life. I’ve enjoyed reading it and have been particularly blessed by the way that I’m reminded of the essential truths concerning my relationship with God through Jesus alone.
We must learn to live like the apostle Paul, looking every day outside ourselves to Christ and seeing ourselves standing before God clothed in his perfect righteousness. Every day we must re-acknowledge the fact that there’s nothing we can do to make ourselves either more acceptable to God or less acceptable. Regardless of how much we grow in our Christian lives, we’re accepted for Christ’s sake or not accepted at all. It’s this reliance on Christ alone, apart from any consideration of our good or bad deeds, that enables us to experience the daily reality of the first bookend [Christ’s righteousness], in which the believer finds peace and joy and comfort and gratitude. (p 29)
This truth is so important for every Christian to rely on: “There’s nothing we can do to make ourselves either more acceptable to God or less acceptable.”
And I think this is so important for every church planter to acknowledge every single day!
It was so easy for me as a church planter (and so I believe it’s easy for other church planters) to believe that somehow I was more special to God when I was “doing ministry” and planting the church. Unfortunately, that’s just not the truth. God doesn’t love me more because I’m a church planter!
In fact, there’s absolutely nothing that I can do that will make me more acceptable to God – and there’s nothing I can do to make me less acceptable to God. I stand before God only on the basis of Christ’s righteousness! (2 Corinthians 5:21)
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