Saturday, May 15, 2010

A Spirit of Wonder

From Tim Keller's sermon, Beholding the Love of God (4-2-95):
A real Christian is the person who says, "It is an absolute miracle that God loves me. It's just a miracle that I'm a Christian." This is actually an acid test...

There's two kinds of people that go to church. There's religious people, then there are real Christians...A real Christian is somebody who sees everything that comes as a gift. In other words, a real Christian sees that you're totally in debt to God. But a religious person is someone who is working hard, making an effort, trying to be good, going to Bible studies, just saying "No" everywhere, denying themselves a lot of pleasures, and so forth. A religious person is someone who is trying to put God in their debt. That's the difference...And a Christian is somebody who sees themselves in God's debt.

Here's the acid test. If you're a real Christian there is a spirit of wonder that permeates your life. You're always saying, "How miraculous. How inter-planetary. How unreal." You're always looking at yourself saying, "Me, a Christian? Incredible! Miraculous! Unbelievable! A joke!" But a person who's trying to put God in their debt, there isn't any spirit of wonder at all...

If you ask a religious person, a person who doesn't understand the grace of God. You say, "Are you a Christian?" They say, "Of course I am. I've always been a Christian. Sure I'm a Christian." My friends, if you are a Christian there's no "sure" about it, and there's no "of course" about it. Not a bit.

The acid test is your spirit of wonder stays there even when things go bad. You see when things go bad, when problems happen, here you can tell the difference between a moralist and a Christian. A moralist says "What good is all my religion? What good is going to God? I tried hard to be a Christian. I'm trying hard to be obedient to God. What good is it? God owes me." You get mad....

Christians, to the degree you behold the grace of God. To the degree you meditate on it and let it become a holy fire in your heart. To the degree you experience in a sense and behold the love of God. To that degree you're going to find that in difficulties, you'll be able to say "My Father must have a purpose for me, because He loves me. Besides that, He doesn't owe me a good life. He owes me a far worse life than I've got." You can handle anything. And when good things come you say, "Behold, what a miracle!"

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