Friday, October 28, 2011


This will be my last post on "THE CROSSING: CHURCH OR CULT?". I will occasionally update links, my blogroll, and add more resources to my Gospel Resource Give Away. But unless I am compelled by Scripture and my conscience, I am finished with posting. My apologies to those who were awaiting my critique of The Crossing's "Code". 

I would encourage anyone who has an ounce of skepticism toward The Crossing and Eric Dykstra's teachings and practices, to study your Bible, read books from reliable sources, research, compare, and come to your own conclusions regarding what The Crossing teaches; whether those teachings are consistent with what the Scriptures teach. I am available to anyone for whatever reason. Leave a message or e-mail me at     
For the moment, forget my allegation that The Crossing is a cult. At the very least, The Crossing is a "seeker-sensitive" church. Is that so bad? After all, what's wrong with  glitzy, dazzling displays of special effects, a great band, clever props, and a charismatic preacher who delivers provocative messages, as long as it attracts
people to church with a call to serve their hearts out for Jesus?

Actually, there is much wrong with it. In the first few paragraphs of his  book, "Hard to Believe", John MacArthur skillfully consolidates the problem of a seeker-sensitive approach to evangelism...   

The first role in successful merchandising is to give the consumer what they want. If they want bigger burgers, make their burgers bigger. Designer bottled water in six fruit flavors? Done. Minivans with ten cup holders? Give them twenty. You've got to keep the customer satisfied. You've got to modify your product and your message to meet their needs if you want to build a market and get ahead of the competition.    
Today this same consumer mind-set has invaded Christianity. The church service is too long, you say? We'll shorten it (one pastor guarantees his sermons will never last more than seven minutes!). Too formal? Wear your sweatsuit. Too boring? Wait'll you hear our band!

And if the message is too confrontational, or too judgmental, or too exclusive, scary, unbelievable, hard to understand, or too much anything else for your taste, churches everywhere are eager to adjust that message to make you more comfortable. This new version of Christianity makes you a partner on the team, a design consultant on church life, and does away with old-fashioned authority, guilt trips, accountability, and moral absolutes. 

One suburban church sent out a mailer recently, promising an "informal, relaxed, casual atmosphere, great music from our band", and that those who come will, "believe it or not, even have fun." That's all great if your in a coffeehouse. But anyone who claims to be calling people to the Gospel of Jesus Christ with those as his priorities is calling them to a lie. 

It's Christianity for consumers: Christianity Lite, the redirection, watering down, and misinterpretation of the biblical Gospel in an attempt to make it more palatable and popular. It tastes great going down and settles light. It seems to salve your feelings and scratch your itch; it's custom -tailored to your preferences.
 But that lightness will never fill you up with the true, saving Gospel of Jesus Christ, because it was designed by man, not God, and it is hollow and worthless. In fact, it's worse than worthless, because the people who hear the message of Christianity Lite think they're hearing the Gospel-they think they're being rescued from eternal judgment-when, in fact, they're being tragically misled.  
Enough said.

"Yeah, I'm a Christian!" Really? Don't assume anything! Churches are filled with people who believe with all their heart that they are a Christian, but they are not. This is not a question you want to briskly jettison off into the periphery, not seriously addressing the substance of what is being asked. It is a pivotal question that you must earnestly pursue an answer to. It requires Scriptural understanding on what a Christian actually is, and careful introspection and self-examination. Jesus' warning in Matthew 7:21-23 are some of the most shocking, disturbing, provocative words ever recorded by Jesus in the Scriptures. 
  “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day (Judgment Day), ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’

One of the most stunning aspects of this passage is the twofold repetition of addressing Jesus as 'Lord, Lord' by people who professed to be His disciples. In it's historical/customary context, to address someones name with twofold repetition was a grammatical device to emphasize a close, personal relationship to the person being addressed.

In the passage above, Jesus is saying that there will be "Many" people (not just a few!) who genuinely think that they have a close, personal relationship with Him. They have preached in church or have told others about Jesus, they've been actively involved in church ministry and have performed many deeds of kindness and charity in the name of Christ. They even address Him as "Lord, Lord", a term of personal endearment and relational intimacy. And what will be Jesus' response?   
"And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’"
Jesus' basically told those false disciples to go to Hell-literally! Jesus' deeply unsettling words were (and still are) meant to shock His listeners out of a smug, complacent attitude regarding their assurance of salvation. And it is my prayer that you too, the reader of this blog post, will heed Jesus' sharp words of warning to you!

Jesus, that is, the real biblical Jesus, always spoke the hard, unvarnished Truth. He didn't mince words, and He never softened His message to attract seekers. Jesus taught that to be His disciple, one must surrender fully to His Lordship, deny himself, pick up his cross and follow Him, whatever the cost; relational distress and division, rejection, imprisonment, mocking, scorn, ridicule, loss of money, property, personal freedom, a hard life on the run, of persecution, expulsion, torture, and even death. 

Jesus, and the Apostles too, always preached the hardcore Truth of the Gospel; Truth dealing with God's holiness, His righteousness, His justice, and His wrath. The doctrine of sin was taught unapologetically, with blunt, sobering words.  The Apostles often addressed themselves as "bond-servants"; in other words, they (and by implication, all Christians including me) are His slaves, bought with a great price: the Redeemer's own blood. Divine Election? It is clearly taught everywhere in Scripture, yet fallen man hates the idea of a sovereign Deity choosing whom He will save from the horrors of Hell. We declare with obvious malcontent that any God who chooses to save particular people is nothing but a cruel monster. And don't forget that Jesus spoke more about Hell than any other doctrine.   

The Gospel Truth of God becoming a God-Man then dying on a cross-a form of execution reserved for the lowest of the low-is the most scandalous, idiotic, divisive, repulsive, shameful, and unattractive message that could ever be proclaimed. And yet, according to Scripture that is the ONLY message we are to proclaim! The reason why we would rather avoid talking about the real Jesus to our family, friends, and co-workers, is because ultimately, we are ashamed to be associated with Him. We don't want to be ridiculed, beat down, and shamed for our association with the real Jesus, am I right?

I know I struggle with the shame of being associated with Jesus. Truth be told, before God caused me to be born-again, I absolutely hated hearing Jesus Christ's name. I was extremely uncomfortable and annoyed with anyone who shared the Gospel with me. Even after I became a Christian, I struggled for years with the misplaced shame of saying Jesus' name. I cringed at the idea of telling people that I was a Christian, and then sharing the Gospel message with unbelievers; a message I once dreadfully hated myself. By God's grace, it has gotten much easier, but it has not disappeared completely. And I know that I am not the only Christian who struggles with this: we all do to some degree.           

Sharing the biblical Gospel with those we love is almost always universally rejected. The pure hatred and contempt your family, friends, or co-workers have for the real, biblical Jesus comes out of the dark shadows to rear it's ugly head, discarding as rubbish your ridiculous, moronic message of a crucified God-Man. Their rejection of the Gospel, however kind and thoughtful, is a tacit refusal to submit to the the uncompromising demands Jesus makes on their life, to repent and believe the Gospel or perish in Hell for all eternity.     

The truth is, in our fallen, unregenerate state, we are no different that those who crucified the Lord Jesus; unless we are born-again, an act that is impossible for fallen man to initiate himself, we live our lives seething with hatred and contempt for Him. And yet Christians love Him because He loved us first. He died for us who would crucify Him even today if we had the opportunity. In one sense, we are still in the bloodthirsty crowd two thousand years ago, shouting, "Crucify Him!"  

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is a serious, serious, matter. But in contemporary circles today it is trivialized and lost in the fog of seeker-sensitivity. Jesus is reinvented to be a hip, cool, attractive, tolerant and undemanding Savior who is all love and only love; a Jesus  who is obligated to bless you if you serve your heart out for Him. If that's who you think Jesus is, then that's not the real, biblical Jesus; it is an idol of your own invention or one that you have imported into your own belief system; crafted to avoid the Truth of the real, biblical Jesus. 

I have thought about that question a lot over the past few weeks, and I have decided that I do not have enough personal experience with The Crossing church or Eric Dykstra to say one way or the other. Just know this. If your church pastors are delivering performance-driven sermons that pressure you to do more, give more, and try harder, then you are not hearing the biblical Gospel. The preaching ought to be focused primarily on what Jesus Christ has already "done" for you on the cross. 

If you attend The Crossing, then it is up to you to come to your own conclusions. Just know that salvation comes through the proclamation and preaching of Christ and Him crucified, an embarrassing, offensive message. The Apostle Paul said, "So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ." (Romans 10:17). 

Eric has to do more than just encourage his congregation to read their Bible, and throw out a few Bible verses here and there during his "talks". He is commanded to explicitly and clearly explain what the Scriptures teach (2 Timothy 3:16-17). He must preach the horrors of sin and the offensive message of Christ crucified for sinners (1 Corinthians 1:22-23). If Eric is not preaching the Gospel and all it entails, whether intentional or not, then members of his congregation face the real possibility of being numbered among those who will cry out, "Lord, Lord" at the Last Judgment. 

I sincerely believe that if Eric Dykstra explicitly and clearly preached the pure, undiluted Gospel of Jesus Christ at The Crossing, then church attendance would drop dramatically. Why? Because preaching the genuine Gospel has a tendency to weed out false disciples from Jesus' true disciples. The undiluted Gospel is a harsh, sobering reality that false disciples are not comfortable with. It is offensive and confrontational. They would probably go on to find another church where the message isn't so demanding on their lives; a church for people who don't "do" church.  

Have you ever considered that the reason why people don't want to "do" church in the orthodox sense is because they don't love their Holy, righteous, and just Creator? They don't want to face the truth of their rebellion and hostility against Him? They don't want to hear the confrontational and ludicrous message of the cross? They don't want to be faced with Jesus' demand for their unconditional surrender and submission to Him alone? They don't want to hear of the sure doom of Hell for failing to repent?

Could it be that the reason why seeker-sensitive churches are so popular is because they appeal to our fallen tendencies to be thrilled and entertained? They offer a means to salve our felt needs, increase our sense of self-worth, and have an appealing works-righteousness mentality that suits fallen man's sensibilities? Ultimately, seeker-sensitive churches and every other man-made religion and human philosophy offer a paper fortress to hide from the real, biblical Jesus.

What is happening in Christianity today is nothing new. It's the same old trick, only dressed up in slick, new clothes. The Apostle Paul wrote to a young pastor named Timothy explaining this very thing. Here's the entire passage followed by the same passage with my thoughts [in brackets]. 
I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.  But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. (2 Timothy 4:1-4) 

  And now let me exegete that passage for you [in brackets].           
 I [The Apostle Paul] solemnly charge you[Here Paul is issuing a strict command to Timothy]in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom:[Paul is emphasizing the utmost importance of what he is about to teach Timothy] preach the word [The entirety of the Scriptures, Christ and the foolish message of the cross]; be ready in season[When the Gospel is popular and warmly received]and out of season[When the Gospel is unpopular and repudiated]; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction[Exposing false doctrine, correcting  wayward Christians, and lifting God's people up with the Gospel. This is the divine calling of every pastor].  For the time will come when they[They=people who have been exposed to Gospel Truth]  will not endure sound doctrine["They" don't want to hear about a Holy and just God who demands absolute moral perfection, they don't want their rebellion exposed, they don't want to hear about Hell, they don't want to be told that they must deny themselves, they don't want to be told that Jesus is their only hope of rescue, they don't want Jesus in their face telling them to repent or perish, they don't want to hear about the high cost of following Christ, etc.]; but wanting to have their ears tickled["They" do want to hear a nice, comforting, feel-good message, they want to hear that they are actually pretty good people, they want to hear that Jesus is love and only love, they want to believe that they can please God and earn His blessings by being obedient, they want the Heaven without the Hell. etc.] they will accumulate for themselves teachers[false teachers will increase in relation to the number of those who want their ears tickled with pleasing, man-made doctrine] in accordance to their own desires[their fleshly, temporal desires to be entertained, feel good about themselves, and avoid the hard truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and Him crucified], and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths[They hate the Truth and suppress the Truth by replacing the Truth with man-made religion or philosophy]. But you, be sober in all things[Preaching the Gospel of Christ and Him crucified is not  a trivial matter. It requires a certain temperament to impress listeners with the seriousness of the spiritual realities they are confronted with], endure hardship[Living out the Gospel every day will not make your life easier, it will actually make life more difficult], do the work of an evangelist[Preaching the Gospel], fulfill your ministry[Shepherd Christ's flock as commanded in Scripture].
This may come as a surprise to some Christians, but the Gospel is not just for unbelievers. True, it is the message of the Gospel that brings salvation to sinners, but the Gospel encompasses much more than the particular point at which we became a Christian. Some believe that once they become a Christian it's time to move on to a deeper spiritual life, abandoning the basic Gospel tenets and even abandoning Christ Himself. 

That is not the case at all. The New Testament teaches that we ought to never, ever get beyond Jesus and His Cross. The Gospel is to remembered, cherished, meditated upon, proclaimed, and lived out continually throughout our entire lives. The Gospel is for Christians as much as it is for non-Christians. And your church, led by qualified, Gospel-getting pastors is the primary means by which the Lord ensures His people are nurtured and growing with the richness of His grace. Every sermon we hear in church ought to be bursting with Gospel Truth; a much needed banquet for the desperately hungry Christian soul.    

The Apostle Paul taught in 1 Corinthians 1:8, "For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God." There is no question that the Gospel has some very difficult elements to embrace. God's sovereignty, His holiness and justice, the depth of our sin, judgment, Hell, a God-Man dying on a cross, the Gospel call to repent, predestination and election, self denial, hidden sins, increased pain and suffering, persecution, death.

These things are foolishness to the perishing. But as a Christian I need to be constantly reminded of these difficult elements. They are such a blessing and an encouragement to hear because the difficult elements of the Gospel fit into a much bigger, glorious picture. They constantly remind me of the greatness holiness of God, my complete failure to keep God's laws and inability to save myself, my wretchedness and depravity, and the treasure trove of promises and blessing to all who believe the Gospel. Here are just a few examples of the Gospel reminders I receive in my church week after week after week....
  1. God is Holy, righteous, and cannot tolerate sin; all sin must be punished because He is just. All my sin was transferred to the sinless, spotless Jesus Christ on the cross and He was punished in my place so I am forever acquitted in God's courtroom. The righteousness of Christ that accrued during His life and ministry on earth as the second Adam is transferred to my account upon my conversion so I am clothed in a foreign righteousness, therefore future sins cannot be held against me. 
  2. The Messiah Jesus Christ dying on a cruel cross to rescue sinners is the most scandalous and outrageous message that could ever be devised. Yet the cross is the pivotal place where God's justice and mercy meet; demonstrating that God is both just and merciful.
  3. The cross also demonstrates how great my crimes against God are. I am a sinner; a complete and utter failure in keeping God's laws. A vile monster capable of horrific acts of evil. One who would stand in the crowd yelling, "Crucify Him". A filthy and corrupt image bearer who bears false witness the the character of the Christian God. Yet even at the lowest depths of my depravity, the  Lord has gracefully provided salvation to me through Jesus Christ, from the slavery of my sin and from the eternal torments of Hell.
  4. Up until I got saved, I had suppressed the Truth of the Christian God. As bad and wicked as I am, It was God who gracefully gave me eyes to recognize my spiritual poverty and my utter inability to save myself. It was God who caused me to become a Christian.  I had no power or choice over being born into this world, and Jesus say the same of those who are born-again.
  5. God is sovereign; He is the Author and perfecter my salvation. My faith itself is a gift from God. It's not that faith preceded my regeneration, but rather regeneration that preceded my faith,  I would have never figure out that I needed Jesus all on my own. God had to perform spiritual heart surgery so that I may live.
  6. In my unregenerate state I was a rebellious traitor to the majestic Creator of  all things. There was genuine hostility between the Lord and myself. But Jesus Christ lived the sinless life I could never live and died the death that I deserve so that by faith, all hostilities are permanently erased. I have been adopted into God's family, never to be turned away for sinning too much or doing too little.
  7. I know that God chose me for salvation before the foundation of the world, not because of anything good I have done, but because of His great mercy. Therefore I have assurance that God will keep me and preserve me despite my tendency to stray and be unfaithful. 
  8. The more I comprehend the Holiness and righteousness of God compared to the utter vileness and wickedness of my sins, the cross of Christ keeps getting bigger and bigger and bigger. And the bigger it gets the more thankful I become and God is glorified all the more.   
  9.  Jesus' call for me to repent is not a one time event at the beginning of my life as a Christian; it's an ongoing process of sanctification. When we love other things[work, alcohol, traveling, sports, drugs, exercise, attention, sex, money, eating, pornography, politics, approval, religion, philosophy, vanity, entertainment, etc.]more that we love the Christian God, we are engaging in idolatry. Daily repentance is turning away from my worthless idols and turning to Jesus Christ. This makes sense because Christ is the most perfect Being with the greatest intrinsic value, so turning from idols of lesser value to Christ is what is best for me.  
  10. Denial of self, persecutions, and death for following Christ is tempered by God's promise that in Heaven there will be no more sorrow, pain, tears, suffering or death. I will be glorified and enjoy perfect communion and friendship with the my awesome Creator. All because of what Christ has done for me.   
  11. I don't ever have to question God's goodness regarding the pain and suffering I experience in my life; no matter how evil, horrible or absurd things become, God is in complete control, down to the orbital path of every single electron since the creation of the world.  I have God's promise that all things will  work out for my ultimate good and His eternal purposes will be fulfilled.
  12. We look at the the state of the world; starvation, natural disasters, horrendous accidents, moral decay, sexual predators,violence, rape and murder, and we accuse God of being unjust, "Where is God in all this? How could an all-good, all-powerful Deity allow these things terrible things to happen?" But we have it backwards. God is the one who is good. We are the ones who are evil and deserve instant death because we are cosmic traitors at heart who would dethrone God if it were possible. We are actually asking the wrong question. What we should be asking is, "How could a Holy and Just God even allow a single traitorous person to ever live a single second?" The person on planet earth who is experiencing the greatest pain and suffering right now is basking in the grace of God. This is true of Christians and non-Christians. The greatest injustice ever committed is that God would send His sinless, perfect, morally blameless Son to bear the all-mighty, all-powerful wrath of God against sin and pay the sin debt of everyone who would ever believe.
  13. Pride is a great sin, and I am full of it. But the cross humbles me. It demonstrates that I am no better than Adolf Hitler, Pol Pot, Josef Stalin, or Kim Jong Ill; we all share the same sinful corruptions of the heart. This fact helps me not be so condemning of others, because, if it weren't for God's "common grace",
    I would express the evil intentions of my heart in horrific ways.
  14. The very fact that God knows every evil thing about me allows be to be relationally transparent with other Christians. I can share my worst struggles with them, and they can share their worst struggles with me, because we all know we are depraved and in desperate need of grace. 
  15. By preaching the Gospel to myself I am reminded that I am will never be rejected or forsaken by God because of my sins. I reject my feelings of guilt and unworthiness because of sinful habits and pitfalls, because my feelings ultimately betray the objective, historical facts of Christ and Him crucified for my sins. I am forgiven in Christ and adopted into God's family, never to be revoked. Therefore I need not listen to my self-condemnation, but preach to myself Christ and Him crucified for all my sins.     
What concerns me most about The Crossing is that some attenders are not exposed to the genuine Gospel. That they are not being saturated and marinating in the Gospel week after week after week after week. You need to be constantly reminded of God's holiness, your sins, the Hell that you deserve, and the salvation that Jesus Christ has provided for you through His sacrifice on the cross. This ought to be the message you receive from Dykstra week after week after week after week after week. If it's not, then He's not preaching the Gospel as he ought to.

Just to demonstrate what I hear week after week after week at Redeemer Bible Church, listen to this link JESUS ON THE MOVE IN BRAZIL AND CHILE This is from pastor R.W. Glenn just last week recapping his mission trip with John Piper. An example of solid, Christ-centered, Cross-centered, Gospel-centered preaching. 

Next is a short Kinetic Typography video as preached by R.W. Glenn. Super cool to watch and the theology is powerful and amazingly liberating! 

I want to provide plenty of links so that you may honestly assess whether you are a biblical Christian or not. Do not assume you are a Christian. Please take the time and effort to answer this most critical question. Commit to only one sermon a week if you have to; do this so you can have assurance of your salvation, that you will not one of the many crying out at the Last Judgment, "Lord, Lord".           
Now I'll provide a bunch of links from reputable pastors of the Christian faith. Some of the links are "rabbit holes" for you to explore other teachings from these pastors.  

This is a five-part series by pastor R.W.Glenn. It was preached when he first arrived at Redeemer Bible Church in 2002.  This series clearly defines what a biblical Christian is WHAT IS A BIBLICAL CHRISTIAN R.W. Glenn's other preaching resources can be found at Solid Food Media. 

Here are six more links from Tullian Tchividjian that will help you answer the question, "Are you a biblical Christian?" It is a series based on Philippians chapter 3. 


People tend to make light of sin, thinking sin is just a few minor moral flaws, definitely not deserving of Hell. From the sermons I have heard from Eric Dykstra, a thourough exposition on the doctrine of "sin" is suspiciously absent. If your doctor told you to take a variety of pills and restrict your diet without telling you that you have a serious disease, then the prescribed treatments will make absolutely no sense and you will refuse the treatment. 

In the same way, fallen humanity has a terminal disease called "sin" and Jesus came to rescue "sinners", so they may not go to Hell but have everlasting life in Him. What is the point of telling people that they need Jesus if the diagnosis of their sin is not thoroughly explained? If people don't understand what sin is and it's dire consequences, then Christ on a Cross will be a joke, a ridiculous absurdity. Telling people that "Jesus died for your sins" just doesn't cut it, because people don't understand the "sins" that Jesus died for. Sinners must be exposed to God's Law and it's requirements, then, by God's grace, they will understand the exceeding sinfulness of their sin.  

Eric Dykstra alludes to sin, but in trying to make The Crossing more appealing to those who don't "do" church, the doctrine of sin is watered down so much as to make Christ's death on the cross irrelevent. After all, who want's to hear that they are wretched, evil, defiant, rebellious, lawbreaking, traitorous, destitute, spiritually blind, spiritually bankrupt, haters and would-be murderers of the Holy and just Christian God? For those who don't understand sin, these next few links, by God's grace, will open your eyes to the magnitude of how sinful you really are. You really are much, much worse than you think!!! 

Desiring God These two sermons by John Piper are part of his Magnum Opus, preaching the entire book of Romans verse by verse over ten years! I provided only two links in the series, but there are many more in the series on sin following these two that I strongly encourage you to listen to. John Piper will knock your socks off; he's that gifted! 

This is a Sunday school lesson by R.C. Sproul in his "Chosen By God" series. The series itself gets into the sticky topic of predestination, but Sproul does a great job at clearly explaining this difficult doctrine. He is one smart man! This particular lesson WHAT IS FREE WILL explains that unregenerate sinners do not even have the ability to choose Christ. This entire series can be watched on the Ligonier Ministries website. In fact, everything this man ever taught is worth watching or listening to. I have often mentioned God's holiness without any explanation, I highly suggest that you watch Sproul's "Holiness of God" series too. Understanding God's holiness is critical in assessing our own fallen condition. 

John MacArthur of Grace To You is an amazingly gifted preacher who has been around for decades. His common-sense, yet bold and unyielding approach in preaching biblical Truth is very interesting to listen to. Here are a couple of excellent sermons that are  relevant to my charge that The Crossing does not preach the Gospel. The sinless Christ receiving the wrath that sinners deserve so we can be acquitted in God's court at the Last Judgment is again, suspiciously absent at The Crossing. Any gospel preached without exposing sin and without Christ's cross is no gospel at all. The first link is a leftover is from my last entry on the doctrine of sin.

Now don't freak out at the mention of "Calvinism", also known as "The Doctrines Of Grace". The Doctrines Of Grace are the very teachings of Jesus Christ and the Apostles that were lost in obscurity but restored in the Protestant Reformation. Jesus and the Apostles taught Calvinism, although it was obviously not called that back then.

The Doctrines Of Grace explain some of the Gospel difficulties addressed earlier in this post: the radical corruption of man and his inability to respond to the Gospel call,  predestination-God's choosing certain people for salvation, the atonement-for whom did Christ die for, the unilateral work of regeneration by the Holy Spirit, and God preserving and protecting His chosen people from damning apostasy. 

While The Doctrines Of Grace (subsumed under the umbrella of "Reformed Theology") do not appeal to fallen man's sensibilities at first glance, studying and embracing them as Truth will help you see the BIG picture of God's redemptive plan. And if you are a Christian then you fit into God's redemptive history! Affirming their Truth scripturally will liberate you so much; God is glorified, and you will be so satisfied with God's love for you.   

Many pastors preach the Doctrines of Grace, but my choice for this post is Tullian Tchividjian of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church. These are mid-week sermons so they are not very long, about 30-35 minutes. Part one explains the importance of doctrine, and that it's ok to embrace the mysteries in the Bible because they demonstrate that "God is God and we are not".  


I decides to add R.W. Glenn's explanation of The Doctrines Of Grace. There are five sermons and run a bit longer Tullian's, but its the same theology, just sliced up and served in a different way. R.W. Glenn adds more proof texts than Tullian Tchividjian. I think it's interesting how God uses different personalities to preach His Truth, each one adding their own unique preaching gifts and biblical insights.  

Thursday, October 27, 2011


This two and a half minute video by my pastor RW Glenn explains an essential doctrine of the Gospel. Plus, this video, with it's "kinetic typography" is super cool to watch!

Crossing people, is this what you are being taught in your church? Or is it all about "do more , give more, and try harder and then God will bless you".

As a Christian, I don't have to "do" anything to merit God's favor. In fact, apart from faith in Christ and trusting what He has "done" for me,  there is absolutely nothing I can "do" to please God. By trusting in Christ and His finished work, I am free from the demands of God's laws.  That doesn't mean I can live any way I want to, but it does mean that because I am under the ministry of the Holy Spirit, God tenderizes my conscience to live the way God wants Christians to live, and therefore protects me from falling away.

Here's an excerpt from a letter I wrote to someone who responded to my blog. I will not mention his name, but it does contain essential Gospel Truth, and it bears repeating. 

[We are not justified (declared not guilty) by our works. Apart from faith in Christ, we are incapable of doing anything good to merit God’s approval. One Scripture that is misused to prove that we are justified by our good works is, “You see that a man is justified by works and not faith alone” (James 2:24). That passage directly contradicts Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.”

To resolve this apparent contradiction, you have to understand the sense in which both James and Paul are writing. Paul is saying that we are not justified by our works. James is saying that works are the result of our justification. Read the whole of James chapter two and the context will be obvious. Read Ephesians 2:1-10. 

In other words, I don’t go to Elk River and hand out conference flyers to gain God’s approval. I hand out the flyers because God has caused me to be born again, and as a result of the Holy Spirit’s work in me, I want to hand out flyers. I want to "contend earnestly for the faith" as God commands  in Jude 3-4. 

You see the difference? God does not justify us because we do more, give more, and try harder! That is never, ever the case! It is everywhere in Scripture.

The fact is, we cannot come remotely close to living up to God’s standards set forth in Scripture. After all, when was the last time you had a sinful thought, said a harsh word, or committed a sinful act? Have you loved the God of the Bible with heart, soul, mind, and strength, every second of every day for the entirity of your life?

Jesus said a couple of interesting things in His famous, “Sermon on the Mount” that should bring clarity. “For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.” [Outwardly, these spiritual leaders were as righteous as you could possibly be] And again in Matthew five, “Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48) 

These verses are intended to make us fall on our knees and say, “I can’t be perfect, never. My righteousness will never, ever surpass that of the Scribes and Pharisees. I am lost, ruined! I will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven because I haven’t lived up to God’s standards set in the Scriptures. God help me!!" As a Christian I sin countless times every day! I cannot go ten seconds without sinning! I am a complete mess in thought, word, deed and complete devotion to God! 

But, what is so liberating about the Gospel is that Christians don’t have to do more, give more, and try harder to please God. We don’t! Jesus said in Matthew 11:28-30, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS.  For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” 

You see, the people of Jesus’ day were weighed down and breaking under the legalistic burden placed upon them by the Scribes and Pharisees. They had to do more and try harder, never being able to live up to their man-made standards. These people were weary of trying to merit God’s favor in order to be justified, and they lived in constant fear that they were not "doing" enough. There was no assurance that they were approved by God. 

Then Jesus comes along and says, “Just trust me, that is all you have to do”, and it rocked their world! 

Think about this: false religion is a “do” religion. True religion is a “done” religion. People living under false religion think, “What do I have to “do” in order to be granted salvation, gain God’s approval, or receive God's blessing?" While people living under True religion-the Gospel-think, “I don’t have to “do” anything to earn God’s approval because Jesus came and has already “done” what I cannot "do"; He gained God's approval for me! 

I perform deeds pleasing to God because I am so grateful to God for saving me through what Jesus has accomplished for me.

Just think of your response to the question I asked, “If you died today and found yourself standing before God, and He asked, "Why should I allow you into My Heaven?" Your response was, "I don't think Jesus would ask me "Why should I let you in?" I believe He would say, "Well done, my good and faithful servant"...Jesus knows my heart, He knows how much I love Him, what I do to serve Him and I know Jesus and His Father through the understanding of the Word.”

This is reminiscent of the parable of the Prodigal son in Luke 15:11-32. Here’s a bit of the text as it applies to you. The legalistic older brother says, “Look, for so many years I have been serving you and I have never neglected a commandment of yours….” Jesus is talking about the Pharisees here. The younger brother, broken and humbled by his inability to save himself goes to his daddy and simply asks for forgiveness, and his daddy gladly receives him and then throws him a massive party!
Jesus came to fulfill the Law of God that Adam failed to do. He was the second Adam. He lived a perfect life and then went to the cross to be punished for all the sins of every person who would ever believe. The doctrine of “imputation” is clearly recognized in 2 Corinthians 5:21, “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” 
In other words, on the cross or sins were transferred to Jesus “account”. Then God the Father treated Jesus as if he were the most vile, despicable, sinner the world had ever known. Jesus experienced Hell is some sort of supernatural event we cannot comprehend. Jesus paid the sin debt we could never, ever do on our own. 

Just think if you got a credit card bill for a hundred billion trillion dollars. You would be in absolute chaos thinking, “I can’t pay that off! Never can I do it”. Then someone comes along and pays the debt for you! That’s what Jesus accomplished on the cross.  

But that’s not all Jesus accomplished. Because Jesus lived a perfect life as the second Adam, His righteousness is transferred to our “account” the moment we trust in Jesus.
This Truth has massive implications in our daily lives as Christians. 

First, we are adopted into God’s family. He is our Father and now He loves us as His children. There is never any alienation or anger toward us when we sin because He sees us as perfect as Christ is perfect. He is never upset when we slack off in our bible reading, prayer, or fail to perform well in our ministry at church. 

Second, we cannot lose our salvation, ever, ever, because every sin you will ever commit in the future was already paid in full by Jesus on the cross. God did not save you because of your good works, therefore you can never, ever lose your salvation for not being good enough.

Third, you can rest in Christ! You love Him and do good things because He is your Lord and you are loyal to Him. You never have to worry about not doing enough. Christ is our Sabbath rest. He has "done" what you cannot "do". We are free from the bondage of sin and slavery, and to unbiblical rules and regulations. We have liberty to live and do ministry in the ordinary, mundane way we live out our lives at home, at work, in school, or on vacation. Of course we should be involved in Church ministry, but we need not be burdened by orbiting our entire lives, talents, and finances around the church you attend as Eric demands. 

In Christ, you are free! Let it sink in and enjoy being free from burdensome and legalistic church rules not found in Scripture. The home page on my blog has a picture of a sturdy chain. I believe with all my heart that, however well intentioned the pastors at The Crossing are, they put their people in chains, in bondage. But the Truth of Jesus, of the Gospel will set you free from those nasty chains.]  

For every single time you fail to live according to God's standards, look ten times to the Cross and realize that all of your sins were paid in full by Christ. When Jesus said "It is finished", He means, it IS finished! 

Don't trust your subjective feelings when you think God does not approve of you when you sin. Rather, trust in the objective fact of the record of your sin being wiped clean, and God sees you as perfect in Christ, even when you sin!

That's the Gospel! Now isn't that better than the legalistic teachings coming out of The Crossing church? 

God Bless you, Casey      

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


That's the million dollar question, isn't it? After all, God demands absolute moral perfection from you. Jesus said, "Therefore, you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect" (Matthew 5:48). So unless you are absolutely perfect in thought, word, and deed every second of every day for your entire life, you are in BIG trouble!

Yet, the Bible speaks of righteous people all the time. Let's look at some examples... 

In the Old Testament there are plenty of references to righteous people. Genesis 6:9 says that, "...Noah was a righteous man." Psalm 5:12 says "For it is You who blesses the righteous man, O Lord..."  The book of Proverbs is filled with verses like this, "Blessings are on the head of the righteous...."(Proverbs 10:6.)

In the New Testament are many more references to righteous people. James 5:16 states, "...The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much".  In 1 John 3:7, the Apostle wrote, "Little children, make sure no one deceives you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He (Jesus) is righteous." Jesus Himself affirms in Matthew 5:45 that there are both righteous and unrighteous people. "...For He (God) causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous."

In the first chapter of the book of Romans, the Apostle Paul quotes an Old Testament passage, " it is written, "But the righteous man shall live by faith"". (Romans 1:17). Then in chapter three Paul seems to contradict that verse by quoting another Old Testament passage, " it is written, "There is none righteous, no, not one; there is none who understands, there is none who seeks after God. They have all turned aside; they have together become unprofitable; there is none who does good, no, not  one"" (Romans 3:10-11, emphasis added).  The Old Testament prophet Isaiah says in Isaiah 64:6, "For all of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment." In Job 15:14 it says, "What is man, that he could be pure. And he who is born of a woman, that he could be righteous?". It says in Genesis 6:5 says this about all men, " And the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually". And yet the Bible says says just four verses later in Genesis 6:9, "...Noah was a righteous man."  Are these bonafide contradictions? The answer is "no" as you will see...

  1. The Bible teaches that all people are not righteous.
  2. The Bible teaches that some people are righteous
Obviously both propositions can't be true at the same time and in the same sense. That would be nonsense!

That depends on what the Bible means by "righteous" in each proposition.  Let's start by stating the biblical facts.
  • The Bible teaches that God is righteous. He is holy, He is morally flawless. He only does what is right. He cannot do anything bad because of His Holy nature. He is not Holy because He does only good things, He does only good things because He is Holy. 
  • The Bible teaches that the totality of mankind is not righteous. We are sinners. We are morally corrupt, wicked creatures in rebellion against our perfect Creator;  every single one of us is born with a seething hatred for the Christian God (Yes, even that nice, little old lady down the street!) We cannot do any good thing because we have a sin nature. We are not sinners because we sin, we sin because we are sinners.  
  • The Bible teaches that some people are righteous.
We resolve this apparent contradiction by understanding that the sense in which all people are "not righteous", or "unrighteous" is not the same sense in which some people are "righteous" as taught in the Bible. So the word "righteous" has a different meaning in the first proposition than it does in the second proposition. 

  • All of humanity is not righteous in the sense that we have all broken God's laws. "Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness" (1 John 3:4). Who can say they are morally perfect?  
  • Lawlessness is not just performing sinful acts, it as also not doing what we ought to do as taught in the Bible. "Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin" (James 4:17). 
  • Sin is also more than doing what we are not supposed to do, or not doing what we are supposed to do. Sin is a moral pollution that flows out of our corrupt nature. This internal corruption defiles every aspect of our lives; out thoughts, intellect, emotions, conscience, motives, inclinations, words, and deeds. Like I said before. We are not sinners because we sin. We sin because we are sinners". Just think about that for a moment...
  • ... Jesus teaches this internal corruption in Matthew 15:19-20, emphasis added, "For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornication's, thefts, false witnesses, blasphemies. These are the things which defile a man". 
  • Before we become Christians, all we are capable of doing is sinning. We cannot "not" sin! I'll explain. The Apostle Paul teaches in 1 Corinthians 10:31, "Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God". Paul also teaches in Romans 14:23,  "...whatever is not from faith is sin".....
  • .....The totality of what Paul is teaching in these two passages is this. If your motivation for doing good deeds is not for the glory and the exhalation of the Christian God  (Specifically, the God of the Bible) through faith in Jesus Christ alone, then you are not doing anything "good". Every attempt you make to do good and please the god of your making, (which is idolatry), the Christian God sees as nothing but stinky, rotten garbage, a filthy menstrual cloth. Remember what God spoke through the prophet Isaiah, "For all of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment."  (Isaiah 64:6)
  • We have a corrupt sin nature, called "Original Sin" because Adam as our representative, broke God's law and we inherited a sin nature. "Therefore, just as through one man (Adam) sin entered into the world, and death through sin (spiritual death), and so death spread to all men, because all sinned. (Romans 5:12)
So I think you have a good idea of what the Bible means when it says all people are not righteous. Now to unpack the second proposition...

  • God is righteous and just, which means He must do what is right. He demands absolute moral perfection from his creatures made in His image without the tiniest exception. Judicially, God cannot neglect our sins. He always acts according to His Holy and just nature. He must punish all sin, otherwise He would not be just.
It is obvious that we do not have the righteousness that God demands, which  begs the question, "How then is it that some are righteous?" 
  • The sense in which some people are righteous is by receiving an alien righteousness, and that alien righteousness is the righteousness of Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 1:30 says, "But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us, wisdom from God, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption" (Emphasis added). 
  • The Apostle Peter affirms that that those who are deemed righteous have received by faith, the righteousness of Christ. "Simon Peter, a bond-servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours, by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ" (2 Peter 1:1 emphasis added). 
  • God. speaking through the Old Testament prophet Jeremiah, declared the coming of Christ and that it is in His righteousness that sinners are pardoned and declared "Righteous". "For the time is coming," says the Lord, "when I will place a righteous Branch  (Jesus) on King David's throne. He will be a King who rules with wisdom. He will do what is just and right throughout the land. And this is his name: 'The Lord Is Our Righteousness.' " (Jeremiah 23:5-6).

You have to understand that God revealed His salvation plan of a coming a Savior progressively. This is called "Progressive Revelation". The Old Testament saints were justified by faith in what God had already revealed through prophets. They were trusting in what God was going to do in the future to wash away their sins by means of a Savior. 

God's promise of a coming Savior goes all the way back to the third chapter in Genesis right after the fall of man through Adam's disobedience, God spoke to the serpent (Satan) and said, "The LORD God said to the serpent, “....and I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed;  He (Jesus Christ) shall  ]bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel.” (Genesis 3:15)  In Deuteronomy 18:15, Moses said, “The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your countrymen, you shall listen to him. Then again in verse 18, "I will raise up a prophet from among their countrymen like you, and I will put My words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command". There are countless other prophesies about the Savior to come who was fulfilled fulfilled in Christ. 

The people in the Old Testament and all those alive before Christ's coming were justified by faith alone, just as the people in the New Testament period up to the present are justified by faith alone. The difference being, that people in the Old Testament period were saved by faith in God's promise of a coming Savior, while we in the Church age can look back in retrospect at the Savior that God had promised as revealed in the Person and work of Jesus Christ. 

It is my understanding that in Greek, the language in which the New Testament was written, did not have a corresponding word for "righteous", or "righteousness". The Greek word that comes closest is "just" or "Justified". So when the Bible speaks of the a person being righteous, it really means a person being "just" or the "justified".     

What exactly is justification? Easton's Bible Dictionary has a thorough explanation of justification....

"a forensic term, opposed to condemnation. As regards its nature, it is the judicial act of God, by which he pardons all the sins of those who believe in Christ, and accounts, accepts, and treats them as righteous in the eye of the law, i.e., as conformed to all its demands. In addition to the pardon (q.v.) of sin, justification declares that all the claims of the law are satisfied in respect of the justified. It is the act of a judge and not of a sovereign. The law is not relaxed or set aside, but is declared to be fulfilled in the strictest sense; and so the person justified is declared to be entitled to all the advantages and rewards arising from perfect obedience to the law ( Romans 5:1-10 ).
It proceeds on the imputing or crediting to the believer by God himself of the perfect righteousness, active and passive, of his Representative and Surety, Jesus Christ ( Romans 10:3-9 ). Justification is not the forgiveness of a man without righteousness, but a declaration that he possesses a righteousness which perfectly and for ever satisfies the law, namely, Christ's righteousness ( 2 Corinthians 5:21 ; Romans 4:6-8 ). 

The sole condition on which this righteousness is imputed or credited to the believer is faith in or on the Lord Jesus Christ. Faith is called a "condition," not because it possesses any merit, but only because it is the instrument, the only instrument by which the soul appropriates or apprehends Christ and his righteousness ( Romans 1:17 ; Romans 3:25 Romans 3:26 ; Romans 4:20 Romans 4:22 ; Philippians 3:8-11 ; Galatians 2:16 ).
The act of faith which thus secures our justification secures also at the same time our sanctification; and thus the doctrine of justification by faith does not lead to licentiousness ( Romans 6:2-7 ). Good works, while not the ground, are the certain consequence of justification". 

Justification is accomplished through "imputation". The best verse in all of Scripture on imputation is 2 Corinthians 5:21, "He (God the Father) made Him who knew no sin (Jesus Christ), to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him (Christ). 

Keep 2 Corinthians 5:21 in mind as I flesh this out. Jesus Christ's mission was twofold. One part of Jesus' mission was to take the punishment that we deserve for our sin. On the cross, all of the sins of every person ever to have faith in the Christian God, including those in the Old Testament, were  credited or "imputed" to Jesus Christ. Then God the Father treated Jesus as if He committed every one of those sins. And yet he was perfect and blameless. This satisfied God's legal requirement of sin's penalty keeping His righteousness and justice intact.   

Jesus Christ also came in the flesh for another reason; a reason that is often overlooked by Christians. Jesus came to "do" what the first Adam failed to do. Christ came as the second Adam. Jesus kept all the demands of God's laws which Adam failed to do; this is the righteousness that God demands of us so we can boldly stand before Him blameless. The righteousness that Jesus accrued during His life and ministry is credited or "imputed" to those who confess Christ as Lord and Savior; when we receive Christ by faith, we are receiving Christ's righteousness as a gift.

....This Latin phrase coined by Protestant Reformer Martin Luther means "Simultaneously righteous and sinner". All those who put their faith in what Christ has done on our behalf 2000 years ago receive His righteousness as a gift through imputation. So even though Christians are still sinners and we still sin countless times every single day, God looks at us as perfect as God Himself because we are cloaked in the perfect righteousness of Christ.

Why? Because when we receive salvation through Christ by faith alone, by trusting in His finished work, we are adopted into God's family. God remembers our sins no more. All sins, past, present, and future are never held against us. It's like they never happened. Therefore, God is never mad at us when we sin. He doesn't get impatient with us because we are stuck in the same sinful pattern day after day after day. He does not look at our performance and judge us by how well we have done on any particular day. He does not complain when we don't measure up to His standard of perfect righteousness. His attitude toward you is always that of pure love, grace, and generosity.  

You see, Christians don't have to "do" anything to gain God's approval because we can rest in what Christ has already "done". We never have to worry about losing our salvation by "not being good enough" because Christ was good enough on our behalf. There is nothing we can "do" to to lose our  righteous standing before God, because Christ paid the penalty; it is done, it is finished!

There is no more hostility between God and redeemed sinner, there is no condemnation , no hard feelings, no grudges, even when we don't do our best and our deeds are sinful. And as Christians, our good deeds are no longer filthy rags to the Lord because we have the right motive to do them, which is to glorify the Christian God and reflect His image by faith in His Son.

I have listened to sermons by Eric Dykstra, and he has it all wrong. His theology is  legalistic, among other things. Let me ask you some hard questions. If you  attend The Crossing,...
  • Do you base your standing before God on how well you serve Him at The Crossing? 
  • Do you think that God is upset with you when you don't offer Him your very, very best; when you don't serve at the highest level you think you are capable of? 
  • Do you feel guilt and shame because you have not kept up to the high standards that Dykstra demands? 
  • Do you think that God  blesses you more if you do more, and blesses you less if you do less?
  • Do you think God is happy with you based on your subjective feelings rather than on the objective Truth of Christ dying on the cross for sinners 2000 years and receiving His righteousness as a gift by faith?  
  • Do you buy into the lie that you must give 10% of your income to The Crossing instead of giving only what is practical to you?
  • Do you feel guilty if you don't give as much as The Crossing demands?  
If you have answered yes to any of these questions, then maybe you have adopted a legalistic mindset and are enslaved to an abusive church; a church whose  leader cares more about his vision than shepherding Christ's redeemed people, ministering to those who are hurting, teaching the Bible, and proclaiming the Gospel. Christ doesn't want you to work, work, work, do, do, do, to gain His approval; you don't have to. He has already done what is needed so that by faith in Christ you are righteous in God's eyes.

If you are truly a Christian, then you will perform good deeds out of adoration,  love, gratitude, and loyalty to your Lord and Savior who purchased your salvation. Your good works don't save you but are the "fruit" of genuine saving faith. Jesus wants you to rest and rejoice in what He has accomplishes for you!

Start preaching the Gospel to yourself. You can wake up every single day and say something like, "I am forgiven, not on account of my good deeds, service, and faithfulness, but because Christ paid the penalty I deserve. He has given me His righteousness as a gift through faith. His finished work 2000 years ago gives me liberty to glorify God in whatever situation I am in. My ministry does not mean that it must take place in the context of church. I can fulfill God's calling and  live a life that is pleasing to Him, even in the most boring, mundane circumstances. I dare not trust my subjective feelings, but rely on the objective Truth of what the Scriptures teach regarding my righteous standing before God. I need not be burdened with misplaced shame and guilt because I don't think I have done enough to please God. I can boldly declare that God will never look upon me disapprovingly, even when I keep committing the same stupid sins over and over again. In His sight I am perfect".    

Even as Christians we are all miserable, wretched, vile, wicked, scummy, rebellious, traitorous, Hell deserving sinners. You really are much worse than you think! But Christ is the friend of sinners who know that those awful things are true of themselves. Those who know that they are morally bankrupt  and  have nothing to offer God. They must rely on Christ's finished work on the cross to pay their sin debt and receive the gift of Christ's righteousness to be approved of God. Christ doesn't want you to be weighed down with unbiblical rules, codes, and church ordinances that bring unjustified guilt and shame upon you if not obeyed. He wants you to rest in Him and what He has done for you.

Who is righteous and who is not? Christ is righteous and you are not. But by faith in Christ you can receive His gift of righteousness and no longer fear condemnation. Praise the Lord!