When Elyse Fitzpatrick took the stage on Friday, at the conference I attended, I’m guessing she went off-script. As her session began, conference staff rushed to replace the earlier distributed set of notes, with a new page. Elyse took a deep breath, and dove into prayer.
As soon as she finished praying and began to speak, it was obvious this wouldn’t be your typical generic women’s conference talk. She never touched on any one specific sin, and didn’t need to. She explained the difference between the law and the gospel.
In all fairness, I doubt women would attend a session advertised as “The Gospel.” Most Christians assume they’re past the elementary doctrine of salvation once they’ve walked the aisle. They’d much prefer a session that teaches them how-to pull themselves up by their scriptural bootstraps.
Today, there’d be no bootstrappin’. Elyse was on stage to clear up one thing.
We think the Bible is primarily about us, and it isn’t.
It’s about Jesus. From Genesis through Revelation I can read the beautiful story of love and mercy; God’s perfect plan, destroyed by the sins of man. His wrath for me, poured out on His only son.
I read the stories, I sing about his love, I even accept pieces of the grace. But, they’re not enough. I continue to dwell on the wrath parts and fixate on how I can work to repay my debt. I live as a beggar in the courts of God and I resign myself to acting like a “good christian” who does everything “right.”
The Word of God came for a much grander purpose than teaching the world to be “good.”
The laws (do this, don’t do that, be this, don’t be that) reveal the darkness of my heart. I am incapable of loving the Lord with all of my heart and always loving my neighbor as myself, and those are just the top two commands! I am incapable of earning my righteousness.
The bad news is, I will never get my act together. The good news is, Jesus has to do it for me, and he has! It’s because of what he’s already done, that we are no longer slaves to our selfishness. We are free to live a life that reflects gratitude for the mercy we’ve been given.
Because he loved me, I am free to love others. Because he forgave me, I can forgive the person who hurt me. Because he’s no longer angry over my sin, I no longer need to be angry over offenses.
Salvation has come by grace alone, through faith alone.
I cannot leave Jesus out of this equation. And I’m telling you now, I will need constant reminding.
Strive, fail, Gospel, rest in grace, repeat.
I’m thankful for Titus 2 women like Elyse Fitzpatrick who don’t need to hide behind *cute* remarks, witty banter, dramatic illustrations, or personal baggage. The gospel doesn’t need post-modern spin or “relevant” trendiness to go forth and produce fruit. Thanks for the reminder, Elyse.