What are the three most important words I’ve ever heard in my life? I love you? Nope. I’ll give you a hint. Jesus spoke them on the cross just moments before he died. Here’s another hint. These words changed me when I finally started taking them seriously. I went from a life abiding in shame and guilt and pain to a life abiding in love. Ready for the answer?
It is finished.
Now I am freer than I’ve ever been in my life: free to be who God made me to be; free to believe who God says I am; free to enjoy the process of becoming. I love more and receive love more. Even in the midst of struggle, my passion is alive, well and becoming stronger every day.
But still, every once in a while, I hit road blocks. Like the other day. Suddenly I was stopped and there were yellow caution signs and orange detour signs all over the place. These allegorical signs shout out warnings to me.
- You’re a failure!
- You should have done more!
- You should have done less!
- You laughed too loud!
- You were not prepared!
- You were unloving!
- You cheapened grace!
What? Cheapened grace? Hey, that’s a new one!
It happened after I wrote Being Seen. I heard about one of my favorite pastor-teachers accusing another of my favorite pastor-teachers. The accusation? Antinomianism. (That’s a big word!) It’s basically a derogatory term in Christian circles and refers to teachings that cheapen grace by discouraging personal accountability.
You know what I’m talking about. We’ve seen the scene played out in many movies. The Italian gangster confesses to the priest, gets absolution, then goes out and kills again. Cheapening grace is when you decide that since Jesus paid for sin, once and for all, nothing anyone does matters anymore.
But we all know that’s not true. Sin is ugly and violent and destructive. It matters. That fictitious movie gangster went out and killed another – after a supposed absolution! If he was real, his sin totally mattered, especially to the family of the murdered person.
And yet, in Being Seen I wrote that my sin was not mine. Isn’t that cheapening grace? And yes, that’s right. I just compared my possible sin to the sin of a murdering gangster. Sin is sin. And if I cheapened grace with my words, then wouldn’t I be encouraging some murdering gangster to continue on?
In the words of Charlie Brown, “AAUGH!”
The truth is this: the moment I begin to shout down the accuser of my soul with, “IT IS FINISHED! IT IS FINISHED! IT IS FINISHED!” there’s going to be some push back. Doubts and funky feelings start to fight for space. It is no coincidence that antinomianism shows up right after I wrote those words about disclaiming my sin in Being Seen.
Look, I don’t want to be someone who cheapens grace. I don’t! But even more, I won’t go back to the lies that tell me I’m guilty. Because of Jesus, I am innocent and I refuse to water down this amazing grace. If I err, may it be on the side of overstepping grace, rather than going back to the accuser’s road blocks and signage.
And I as I meditate on those famous three words of Jesus and look on my life and the lives of others I know well, I can see that He was talking about more than sin. Jesus was also talking about ending the harmful, twisted effects of sin on this world: poverty, loneliness, hopelessness, disease, fatherlessness. The list goes on.
At the cross, Jesus put an end to everything that had the authority to keep us from dwelling in the transforming power of God’s love.
And that’s where I want to remain – dwelling in His love. In this dwelling place of love I am becoming more and more like… me. The real me, the daughter made in her Father’s image. And as I do, my desire transforms from the simple goal of abstaining from sin to the complexity of magnificent dreams, filled with relentless passionate love acts that change the world around me.
And guess what? Some of those dreams are in process now. Some of those love acts are happening. Some really good stuff is REALLY happening! This is an exciting life. This is a life worth living. This is what Jesus died for.
It is finished.
Do you have a question for me? Write it in the REPLY box and post it to me in the Comments section!
Carla Porter writes, sings, designs architectural interiors and loves God, all in Los Angeles, California.
© 2013, Carla Porter and Whisper of Grace, all rights reserved.