Profile PictureMUSTARD SEED DISCIPLESHIP by McKay Caston

Don't Buy the Lie

If Jesus' blood really covers every moral failure, human weakness, mental struggle, personal insecurity, and strain of religious self-righteousness...

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In personal correspondence with a woman plagued by her continual sin and emotional depressions, Francis Schaeffer says something every Christian needs to embrace and remember.

"Christianity is not only a religion for the mentally healthy. [In fact], ever since the fall, none of us are totally mentally healthy, no more than any of us are totally physically well... Christianity is for weak people just as we are, but we must honor Christ and his finished work by bringing [all our weakness, sin, and other imperfections] under the work of Christ and leaving them there. When we do less than this, we are dishonoring Christ and his finished work—as though [the cross] is enough for some things but not enough for my weakness and sin." (Letters of Francis Schaeffer, 115)

What stands out to me in that statement is the idea that the shed blood of Jesus to forgive us completely and reconcile us unreservedly to God in perfect standing as beloved sons and daughters is enough for some sins and weaknesses but not enough for other sins and weaknesses, and that it dishonors Jesus when we refuse to place everything at the cross and leave it there.

Here is the problem.

Whatever I do not believe the blood of Jesus covers, I will try to cover myself. It becomes my duty to redeem my own corruption. To that end, I will pursue religious activity as obligation and duty rather than joy and delight. Instead of seeing Scripture, prayer, worship, etc. as means of grace, they become tools of penance, whereby the more I do, the more of my sin debt is paid down.

Of course, this kind of religious activity is not only a fool's errand, but it’s also a “religious lie” from the enemy that utterly undermines the wonder, beauty, and transforming power of the gospel. For Jesus described our sin debt in the parable of the unmerciful servant as a mountain none can conquer. None except Jesus, where, on a cross, he stood atop that debt, nailed but victorious, canceling it all with his blood.

The key word is all.

There is nothing—no thing—that remains of your debt. There is nothing left for you to pay. So, to hell with penance. Literally.

By faith, take every moral failure, weakness, mental struggle, physical malady, insecurity, and strain of religious self-righteousness, place it all in the nail-scarred hands of Jesus, and sing with John Newton:

Let us wonder, grace and justice

Join and point to mercy's store

When through grace in Christ our trust is

Justice smiles and asks no more

He Who washed us with His blood

He Who washed us with His blood

He Who washed us with His blood

Has secured our way to God.

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