Not doing

stuck

Work hard not to work

We have about 10” of snow covering the field out back.  Six of the ten arrived today.  I’ll spare you the gory details but my 2005 Toyota Pickup ended up stuck in the field.  I was mad at it so I let it sit all day.  Finally, after dark, when the neighbors couldn’t see me, I decided to get her out.  My plan was to drive down the hill,  through the snow, and into the neighbors drive way.  But she wouldn’t cooperate.  Now I was really mad!

I decided to get the snow blower out and clear a path along my driveway, gradually angling onto level ground.  So I blew a wide road in the field and cleared the snow around the tires.  After a pep talk, I started her up and surprisingly, she smoothly followed the “field road” back to level ground.  She didn’t even spin her tires.

Living like a believer in large part is clearing the path.  It’s about getting things out of the way, not the least of which is the persistent belief that obeying God enhances my standing before Him.  It seems I’ll trust me before I trust Jesus.  Sounds a “little” arrogant when I put it that way. 

Clearing the path to Christian living means tossing morality, religion, serving, and any other “good” thing we take pride in.  It means refusing to boast in our accomplishments or abilities.

Well my 2005 Toyota Pickup is resting in her parking space.  And I’m remembering that being a Christian is about resting in Jesus.  The writer of Hebrews said, “labor to enter rest.”  I think he means, work hard not to work.

Grace Freak 

Dan Rockwell

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13 Comments on “Not doing”

  1. Jeff Eshenour Says:

    Pastor Dan,

    Why do you say things like this:
    “It’s about getting things out of the way, not the least of which is the persistent belief that obeying God enhances my standing before Him.”

    …when the Bible says things like this:

    “He who believes in the Son has eternal life: but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” – John 3:36

    “So then my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling;” – Philippians 2:12

    “And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation.” – Hebrews 5:9

    Now I am not at all proposing that you can earn your salvation or that you can be saved by works. However, obedience goes hand in hand with belief and to teach that it is not necessary is a dangerous thing. Even the demons have belief. Faith without works is dead.

    Respectfully yours,
    ~Jeff~

  2. Dan Rockwell Says:

    Hi Jeff,

    Thanks for jumping in.

    If you think I’m against obeying you’ve misunderstood what I’m saying.

    What concerns me is believers who focus on obeying rather than God’s grace to us.

    I’ll grant you that grace is unsettling, even disturbing. It was to me when I began learning about it. But today, I’m more motivated than ever to serve and obey. I love Jesus more. I’m more delighted than ever to be a beleiver. The great thing is, my freedom enables passion.

    My position is we can’t begin living like a Christian until we know we don’t have to.

    Respect back atcha,

    Grace Freak Dan

    • Jeff Eshenour Says:

      The message of grace does not bother me. It is the seeming unimportance of obedience and holiness that bothers me. If you don’t mean to downplay obedience, then may I suggest that you put statements like that into your writings so that you have a more balanced explanation? It is writings that focus only on one extreme with no explanation of the other that begins to lead people astray.

      Also what do you mean by your statement that we can’t begin living like a Christian until we know we don’t have to? I know you say that grace is free and therefore it cannot possibly impose obligation otherwise it wouldn’t be free. But can you provide Scriptural support for that?

      ~Jeff~

  3. Dan Rockwell Says:

    Jeff,

    The goal of this blog is to advocate for grace in a world that, in my opinion focuses on works. I won’t be changing that focus but I appreciate your concern. I think it’s misplaced.

    My support for the idea that grace can’t obligate is the definition of grace that you can find in any Bible dictionary – gift.

    Regards,

    Dan

  4. Jeff Eshenour Says:

    Do you believe that we experience obligation as believers from anything else besides grace? Do we have any obligation at all?

    ~Jeff~

  5. Dan Rockwell Says:

    Jeff,

    Life is filled with obligations. None of them are imposed on us by grace. We may freely choose to obligate ourselves to a life of service or obedience.

    Dan

  6. Jeff Eshenour Says:

    Pastor Dan,

    I’m not trying to draw this out, but I am trying to understand where you’re coming from here. We can obligate ourselves but we’re not obligated by grace or anything else. Is that what you’re saying?

    ~Jeff~

  7. Dan Rockwell Says:

    Jeff,

    I think I’ve stated my position. I’ve enjoyed our exchange.

    Regards,

    Dan

  8. Jeff Eshenour Says:

    Pastor Dan,

    I respect your decision to not continue further in this discussion, but I will be honest; I’m a little disappointed. I honestly do not understand where you are coming from but I’m trying to grasp it. I would think if you are trying to inform people of biblical truth that you would want to do everything in your power to explain it in such a way that they understand. That is your job as a pastor. I do not understand your defensiveness but it automatically makes me question your stance even more. Sorry that this could not have ended on a better note.

    Maranatha!
    ~Jeff~

  9. Tim Funk Says:

    Dan, I’m afraid I’m going to have to agree with Jeff on this one, in this blog and comments, even though Jeff asked you for scriptural references you avoided the subject and wouldn’t give one.
    To this I am surprised, considering the fact that you are a pastor, you should be able to give at least 1 if not more verses to support your claim. And if someone is trying to understand a comment you made, you should be more than ready to explain it completely.

  10. A-Train Hollinger Says:

    🙂 this will go on forever, I LOVE HEALTHY DEBATE! even though i said that, i probably won’t be writing here more because there are more useful things we fellers can do to advance the Gospel. group meeting would be quicker for those that are sincerely interested.

    anywho, everyone and their brother’s cousin’s sister’s great aunt that lives in wisconsin can try their hand at “one-verse-midgetism” to try and advocate ourselves in unsuccessfully proving our stances.

    I love boldness as presented in this blog. Keep stirring up controversy until you’re convinced otherwise (everyone).

  11. Mark Says:

    I agree whole heartedly with Pastor Dan. The evidence to support this idea is easily found throughout scripture. The idea being that grace and works are both important aspects of christian living but that only one is a requirement or obligation.

    ephesians 2:8-9
    “for it is by grace you have been saved, through faith, NOT BY WORKS, lest any man should boast”

    Romans 10:9-10
    “That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved”

    The idea that works are an obligation belittles Christ’s death on the cross.

  12. Dan Rockwell Says:

    For anyone following these exciting comments… I posted another blog related to this one –

    https://gracefreakdan.wordpress.com/2010/02/14/faith-%e2%80%93-grace-and-obeying/

    In that blog I offer my thoughts on some verses mentioned in this conversation.

    Enjoying grace,

    Dan


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