This post came from a Gospel-centered Blog, which I came across several years ago, but unfortunately, I am unable to find the original source of this post, in order to provide the link for my readers. Again, this is not my original thoughts, but nevertheless, I am able to identify and resonate with these words. But I read these words with the Biblical understanding that because of my continuous sinfulness condition, humanity, brokenness, imperfect sanctification, my psychological temperament and insecurities that there will always be an ongoing struggle with being real (in motives, thoughts and deeds). I will need the proper distinction between Law and Gospel applied to my soul – in order to learn to be real; and in the midst of not being perfectly real – I am still loved, accepted, forgiven and secure in the Person and Work of Jesus Christ who was the only one who perfectly was real. So therefore, the Gospel is the Power of God to save, rescue, redeem and forgive my own hypocrisy within my heart. Only the Gospel enables and empowers me to experience mercy, grace, forgiveness, acceptance, freedom, peace and joy in the midst of my messy life of being human, being a sinner and being a child of God.
THE POST ————————————————–
” I’m convinced that I cannot be real with others or myself without the gospel. It’s not a “cannot” like “I cannot eat ice cream because I’m on a diet.” No, it is more like “I cannot leap tall buildings in a single bound.” It’s an impossible cannot, not a voluntary, self-imposed cannot. Without the gospel, being real with others is an impossibility for me. If I lose sight of the gospel, it’s not long until I find myself saying this or doing that so that people will view me one way and not another.
As soon as I begin to say or do things so that others think I’m like this or like that, I’ve ceased to be real with them and with myself. This is hypocrisy. When the gospel loses its central place in my consciousness, my modus operandi is to attempt to create and sustain an identity with which those within my circle of relationships will be impressed.
The main problem with this failure to be real with others and myself is not that I’m failing to be real with others and myself. That’s a problem for sure, but it’s not the main problem. So what is it? It’s my failure to be real with God. My main problem when I’m saying and doing things for the purpose of influencing how people think of me is that, ultimately, I’m failing to be real with God Himself.
Consider two ways in which these two failures are connected. First, when I fail to be real with others, I’m guilty of exalting man’s view of me over God’s view of me. It means I care more about what man thinks of me than I do about what God thinks of me. This is idolatry because it essentially puts another god before my eyes, namely, the god of human opinion. To be real with people means having no other gods before the God (Exodus 20:3).
Second, when I fail to be real with others, I’m guilty of relying upon human works to make myself presentable rather than upon God’s grace. It means that I’m seeking acceptance on my own terms rather than resting in the acceptance that has come to me by grace. Trying to be who I am not before others is a form of works righteousness. It is the kind of thing we do when we are not resting in God’s gracious provision in Jesus.
Choosing not to be real with others is ultimately an affront to God’s grace. Only through the gospel can I admit who I really am to others or even to myself. When I lose sight of the gospel, there’s no way I can bear up under the weight of the knowledge of the sin that lurks within the recesses of my own heart. If I can’t bear it myself, I certainly can’t bear allowing other people to see it. But through the gospel I can bear to acknowledge the depth of my own sin, whether to myself or to others, because it has already been judged in Jesus. As Paul says, for those who are in Jesus the Messiah there is no longer any condemnation (Romans 8:1). The gospel says that because of the work of Jesus not only do I not have a sentence of condemnation hanging over my head but I also have God’s full and gracious acceptance. Only when I see those two twin truths in the gospel, namely, that I’m no longer condemned but rather graciously accepted because of the work of Jesus the Messiah, can I truly be real with others and begin to give God His rightful place in my life.
Beyond this, the gospel also announces God’s provision for my ongoing struggles with being real. It reminds again and again that God has dealt with all of my sin, even my hypocrisy, in Jesus. He accepts me not because I’m being real but because Jesus was real in my place in his life and death. Only the gospel enables me to press forward in my quest to be real with God, others, and myself.”