I am always struck by the significant number of people who willfully reject surrender to Christ because of the perception that by not doing so they can maintain sovereignty and authority over their own lives.
"I don't need the guilt that comes with Christianity," it is often said by those who believe that following Jesus is an invitation to always feeling shame or remorse for natural desires and temptations - for just being "our true selves."
Such a stunted view of grace is a testament to not only the Church's struggle to act as effective agents of it, but also the deceiver's skill at manipulating minds to miss it.
The truth is as real as Scripture is explicit: "There is no longer any condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus."
The guilt, sins, shame of the past – whether committed in a hotel room, an abortion clinic, a computer screen, or in a wayward mind – are forever nailed to a wooden cross at Calvary. That doesn't mean, of course, that scars won't remain, or that there won't be lasting earthly consequences for our mistakes. But freely justified by the blood of Jesus, the penalty due has been paid in full.
But besides just the fundamental misunderstanding of repentance and salvation by grace, what is most perplexing is that those who reject it willfully sentence themselves to a lifetime of unending, guilt-ridden penitence to those peddling the spirit of the age.
Rather than serve a personal God who saves, they choose an impersonal one that capriciously and arbitrarily threatens. For example:
Call me crazy but, "Be kind to Mother because if you don't she'll smite us all" doesn't sound like the testimony of one who is living a guilt-free existence.
Nor do the recent tweets of far-left columnist Mark Joseph Stern. After applauding The New York Times for hiring conservative writer David French, a man who has cashed in handsomely on his decision to begin only punching rightward in his columns, Stern was forced to prostrate himself before the religionists he serves.
Look at this and try telling yourself that these are the words of someone who isn't living under the pressing weight of fundamentalist, religious guilt:
Desperate attempts to justify and explain yourself, public renunciation of all those who run afoul of "the faith," penitence and promises to be better – this isn't the language of one who has been liberated from guilt; these are the words of someone who is wallowing in it.
Everyone, even Ellen and Mark, will be a slave to something. But unlike the world, whose false gods will repeatedly fail and betray, there remains only one Master who offers a yoke that is easy and a burden that is light.