"The bible is not a book of virtues, it’s a book of gospel, It’s not a series of moral exemplars, it’s a record of God’s intervening grace into the lives of people who don’t deserve it, who don’t seek it, who continually resist it and even don’t appreciate it after they’ve been saved by it." - Tim Keller (from his sermon, "Real Freedom and the Listening Lord")
Since I quoted Keller yesterday, I thought it would only be fair to quote him a little more in context of his view of scripture. It's such a refreshing take for me, because I know that I am just like the folks of scripture he goes on to describe:
"The very best human beings in the history of the world are moral and spiritual failures, that can’t rise above their own culture. They can’t rise above the brutality of their own times, and they can’t escape the self-centerdness of their own hearts."
So where is the hope for these folks that are so like me, the selfish and the hell-bent? It is only in the reality of a God who breaks into their world, a God who condescends, a God who becomes flesh, a God who becomes weak, a God who suffers, a God who meets individual meanness, and a God who takes all that selfishness, hate and hellishness on his shoulders and suffers so that I might have life. This is humanitys' only hope.
Keller continues about such folks like me:
"... but God continues to come to them, continues to not give up on them, continues to patiently speak to them, to help them, to aid them, to save them and to rescue them again and again and again…"
How has God changed since the time of the "great" men and women of scripture. He hasn't. He still continues this reckless pursuit of rebels.
Most people think just the opposite about God and scripture. Keller again:
"You may think that the message of the Bible is you give God a righteous life and God will bless… but the message of the Bible is that God always comes to us by sheer grace and then we owe him. In other words 'Is bible mainly about you and what you should be doing or is it about him and what he has done?'"
The bible, this whole Christian life thing, is radically rooted in what God has done and what he is doing. This is the truth that gives me a taste of humility, and at which one day my knee every will bow with everyone on earth and proclaim that his ways are good and just. It is this reality that gives the weary, shaky, broken-down soul like mine hope and blissful rest.
Finally it is the reality of what God has done that gives Christians true grit to face life's challenges. It is precisely and only because Christ faced every challenge there is and now he lives in us, his children, that we have the joyful challenge to extend the grace of God's work to this hurting world today.