- This topic has 3 replies, 3 voices, and was last updated 5 years, 4 months ago by Jessica.
September 11, 2015 at 3:47 pm #10469JessicaGuest
Here is a testimony that Tom Bruscha read (it’s not his) at the end of his sermon last Sunday.
A Testimony of Finding Liberty in Grace
“Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free,
and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage” Galatians 5:1
I have a fundamental, Bible-believing, independent church background. I am extremely grateful for the Scriptural upbringing that I received from my parents, relatives, friends, church, and school. I eagerly learned Biblical truths, memorized Bible verses, and soaked in the lessons of the Sunday and mid-week services. I was a member of the young preacher’s club and held revival meetings in my garage for neighborhood kids. Yet, in all my doings for God, something was missing—the joy of serving Christ.
I was taught to keep the commandments in order to be blessed (Lev. 26:3), to find mercy (Ps. 103:18), to avoid being considered an “evildoer” (Ps. 119:115), to remain in the Lord’s love (John 15:10), to know God (1 John 2:3), and to associate with the perseverance of the saints (Rev. 14:12). Long story short, I felt indebted to keep the Ten Commandments.
I went to church to keep the fourth commandment. Sunday was said to be the New Testament Sabbath due to Christ’s resurrection on the first day of the week. Working on the Sabbath, which included mowing the grass between church services, was in violation of the Law, because there were six other days in the week to do manual labor.
If we did transgress the law, or commit any other sin, we had to confess the sin in our lives (1 John 1:9). Otherwise God would be angry with us (Ps. 7:11). I lived my life walking on eggshells afraid of incurring God’s wrath. The sixth commandment is “Thou shalt not kill.” You would think this should have been easy for me to keep, right? Well, Jesus said, “whosoever is angry with his brother without cause shall be in danger of judgment” (Matt. 5:22). Sometimes I did get mad at my siblings. One evening at bedtime, an intense thunderstorm began. I was in my bed scared and crying, because I thought God had sent the thunderstorm to punish me for being mean to my brother and sister during the day. I spent a good portion of my bedtime confessing every sin that I could recall. Each flash of lightning and boom of thunder caused me to beg God for forgiveness.
I didn’t just fear (revere) God; I was terrified of falling into the hands of the living God when He judges His people and enacts vengeance (Heb. 10:30-31). One broken commandment made us guilty (James 2:10). My motivation for serving God was to avoid His rod of judgment (Ps. 89:32). I was in bondage to keeping the law, and I had the Scriptures to prove it.
Besides trying to obey the commandments, I was attempting to adhere to the opinions of men. Christians were labeled “bad Christians” or “good Christians.” Only bad Christians missed a church service. Being water baptized by immersion made you a good Christian. Bad Christians went to movie theaters where it is dark – after all Satan is darkness and God is light. Good Christians did not go to Pizza Hut, because they serve alcohol. Only bad Christians watched Billy Graham, because he invites musicians who use drums. Good Christian men wore ties on Sunday. Bad Christian women wore pants outside of the home. Divorce was treated like an unforgivable sin. Sitting in the back pew was for “backsliders.” Wearing orange socks near Halloween was Satanic. The list of examples goes on and on.
I tried hard in my own strength (the flesh) to meet the man-made requirements to be a “good” Christian. The result was I became overwhelmed by my inability to meet the constantly changing standards. I also started noticing that the “good” Christians were still imperfect people. If they couldn’t keep all of the rules and standards, who could? What was the point? Fed up and discouraged during my teenage years, I concluded that I was saved and secure, so did it really matter if I lived for God or not?
My motivation for service was wrong. I was attempting to serve God through the flesh by seeking to uphold the ordinances of man. I had finally arrived at a point in my life where I realized that I could not meet all of these standards. Sadly, instead of surrendering to God’s guidance, my decision to live for myself only placed me in further bondage.
It was the dispensational truth of the Mystery that changed my life and attitude towards service. Not only did it correct doctrinal questions that I struggled with but, through this understanding, the Lord showed me the reality of what His grace meant to my life. One charge against the Grace Movement is that it sets people at liberty to sin. It is my personal experience that grace will set us free to serve.
As I was coming to understand Paul’s unique apostleship and message, I remember taking inventory of my current life and remembering all the wrong things I had done for many years. I thought God, how could you ever forgive me? His answer was I already have.
Paul stresses that our forgiveness rests fully on the work of Christ. He has already paid for all of my sins on Calvary. There was nothing more to confess, because all was forgiven! It was at the moment that this became clear that I truly began to understand the love of Christ. He loved me despite my shortcomings, failures, and sins. God knew I would never be perfect, so He sent His Son to be the perfect sacrifice for my imperfections (sins).
Some would have tried to explain this to me without telling me of Paul’s uniqueness, but I knew the Bible too well not to have several counter verses. It had to be the truth of the Mystery that set me free. By discerning God’s message of grace revealed through Paul, I read that God “sent forth His Son…to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons” (Gal. 4:4-5). I was not indebted to keep the commandments given to Israel. Christ had set me free from the Law.
I learned we are not “appointed to wrath” (1 Thess. 5:9) because Christ satisfied God’s wrath against my sins through the Cross (Rom. 3:25; 2 Cor. 5:19). In other words, God was not angry with me for every infraction. He loved me and desired that I allow Christ to live His life through me (Gal. 2:20).
It was through Paul that I learned I had been living to appease the opinions of others at the expense of the desire of Christ. “For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ” (Gal. 1:10). I needed to realize that I was “accepted in the beloved” (Eph. 1:6) and “complete in Christ” (Col. 2:10). I started to learn that I wasn’t to serve in my own strength and discernment, but I was instructed to yield to the Spirit.”Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?” (Gal. 3:3).
The gospel of the grace of God is what frees us to serve Him! It is how we find joy in serving our Savior. We are motivated to live for Christ freely out of appreciation. For this reason, I remind you to stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ has set us free!
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September 12, 2015 at 11:10 pm #10497Sharleen AustraliaParticipant
Great testimony Jessica. I just wonder what his family and Christian friends think of his new found knowledge?
September 13, 2015 at 7:24 am #10501PamParticipant
What a terrible way to live, really heartbreaking. The fears that this young man experienced are probably one of the reasons people turn their backs on God. You can get saved without rightly dividing, but you can’t really find liberty in grace without it. Thanks, Jessica, for the reminder.
September 13, 2015 at 8:01 am #10503JessicaGuest
Yes, this testimony gave me some peace, as it may have answered my question about why so many young people seem to walk away from “the church”, and in the process, turn their backs on God as well. (Just like you said, Pam!)
I will assume, Sharleen, that his family and friends are worrying about him, and praying for him, thinking that he is a worshiper of Paul. This has been my experience, anyways. 🙂
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