Sunday, February 22, 2015

Well,thats not what I wanted to hear!

I feel... disconcerted, like I've screwed up, or missed out. Like a terrible missionary. Here is what happened. We were on a big outreach in Karamoja. Several days in. Tired but overall pleased with how things were going. We were kicked back and relaxing, enjoying the fact that now that the sun was set the day was finally cooling off. The visitors from the states, the CLIDE staff, the translators and the local evangelists, we had all eaten and we were talking and enjoying each other's company. A discussion ensued as to if we were righteous.
I was shocked and saddened to hear several of them concur that we could all safely say we were mostly righteous. Like 75%. One of them said we can't really know exactly what is right, it depends on the situation or one's motivation. One said there were gradients of sin so some sins got you in more trouble than others. They all were sure that we needed to do some serious work to become more righteous to please God. Even as I was hearing this discussion I was praying and trying to figure out how to interject some truth and to help them see how the majority of this was lies from satan! These are the guys that I've been teaching with for YEARS now! How did I not know this is what they believe?  Worse, have they heard nothing I was teaching through them?  Or were major things "lost in translation"?! Does that mean false teachings have come from me through them? Oh Lord, please let that not be the case!
Most of these guys have been with CLIDE far longer than I, so I made the mistake and assumed that their theology was sound. After hearing this I'm now afraid that some may not even be saved!
Please pray for the people I work with when I'm up in Karamoja that they can know the Truth and that they will be set free! Free from worrying that they aren't good enough. Free from fear that they won't make it into heaven. Free from working to earn God's approval everyday. May they know the Truth that Christ didn't just die for us but He lived for us too!!

In order to never make the same mistake again I want to wrap up this post with some scripture in case you found yourself agreeing with my mistaken co-workers.

  • Isaiah 64:6 tells us that our righteous acts are as filthy rags to God. 
  • Ecclesiastes 7:20 tells us that no one is righteous. 
  • We know that we are all sinners and not righteous.No matter how hard we try, we make mistakes and can't fool God. 
  • We also know that we can not enter heaven without being righteous. Matthew 5:20
  • So where does this leave us? Look at Romans 3:21-24. Righteousness is a gift given to those who believe! I picture it like this: When Christ took my sin, he gave me his righteousness! So now, when God looks at me He sees the righteousness of Christ covering me! 
  • There is NOTHING I did or can do to earn this righteousness. Romans 10:9 says all we have to do is confess and believe. 
Be set free friends from working to earn anything from God!! 


Jeff Chamberlain M.D. said...

Jennifer, praying for you and your team. the concept of our fallen nature and christ's gift to us is so simple, but counter cultural (in all cultures).


Anthony said...

I find this kind of thinking to be very common in Uganda. Perhaps in all denominations. Many PAG Christians (though not official doctrine), have this kind of thinking which surprised me. I've ended up preaching on this theme about 50% of the time because it's so important. So many people fear death, not sure if they've been good enough. So many people think they have lost their salvation if they forgot to repent of one sin. So many people have a very narrow view of sin that it's just certain things, no thinking about the sins of pride, lust, fear, lack of trust, worry, not loving God perfectly, not loving others perfectly. So they end up thinking the saved people are basically sinless, and others are sinners.

I think we have to be careful to come at this issue in a gentle way. I don't necessarily think the people are not saved. They are just confused from lack of good teaching. But they still trust in Christ. In fact, most Christians in the US are in the same boat, but maybe not to such an extreme degree. Every Christian that I've met, including myself, struggles with works righteousness, adding that on top of trusting in Christ. I have trouble thinking that they are all not truly saved because of that. They have trusted in Jesus as their Savior, so that they have forgiveness and their punishment taken away. But they are confused as to how righteousness works. It's also partly our sinful nature. It's hard to accept free grace. We have trusted in Christ, but we want to add to it, to add our righteousness to his. It's a temptation we all struggle with and all have to continually fight against whether in US or Uganda. That's why Christians need the Gospel preached to them every week wherever we are, to constantly be reminded that it's not up to us and our righteousness, but up to Jesus.

Keep preaching the good news of the Gospel! The truth can spread if we keep proclaiming it