Not just a sinner saved by grace!

Another eventful and packed week of the nine weeks of Exchanged Life training is well over. We were told at the beginning that at times it would feel like we very drinking water from a fire hose these weeks. It’s intense and hard at times, but incredibly rich. I was smiling about it the other day after we had just had three hours of teaching about the first 19 verses in Romans chapter 5. Three hours to sit and wrestle with the richness of what God through Paul’s writings revealed first to the first century church in Rome, and now to a group of three Americans, two Bulgarians and a Dane in a classroom in Marietta, Georgia. 

I feel extremely privileged to have the opportunity to do these nine weeks. It’s a rich experience to sit and share and hear other people be transparent without any masks or pretenses. The truth is being shared. The truth about pain, hurts, good times, bad times, exciting times, and times when we have encountered The Truth of Jesus Christ in our lives. It’s holy ground when somebody shares directly from their hearts. And I feel honored to sit with this group day in and day out and be allowed to be real. 

This week has been a roller coaster ride with extremes of coming home Wednesday and yelling and even cursing at God (trust me, he much prefers raw honesty which sometimes includes very bad words to religious “we have to sugar coat what we say to God, or else he might get hurt or his throne might break”-thinking) to a sense of quiet peace of just sitting with God without an agenda, without expecting anything and just allow him to be God and me to be his son. I still have much to learn in the area of God being my heavenly, perfect father. That’s definitely one of the big themes of these first couple of weeks. God wants to correct my misconceptions of him as a father, and he wants me to not just know, but also experience the truth about him as my father. He wants me to know him not just at an intellectual and theological level, but also at an emotional level. God is a God who created us as three part beings with a spirit, a soul, and a body, and he wants us to encounter him at all three levels. 

I really enjoyed the truths that were shared from Romans chapter 5-8 this week. These chapters are so rich and so stockpiled with truth, that even though we spent nine hours talking about them, we’ve only scratched the surface. I love the book of Romans for the clarity that Paul brings to what it looks like to live like God’s child, and how he shows how frustrating life is when you, even as a believer, yield to the evil desires of your flesh that always bring death. 

How important it is to understand for a believer that we are new creations (2. Corinthians 5:17). We are free from the law. Jesus fulfilled the law. We are free from the law, and we don’t have to submit to our flesh and Satan’s desires any more. We can walk in the Spirit (Romans 8 ) which simply means living out of who we are as opposed to living out of who we are not any more (Romans 7 describes very well the experience of countless Christians who don’t know who they are in Christ, or just don’t live out of their true identity, and who try to live a Christian life in their own strength and end up frustrated and tired). It’s a question of seeing your identity and life in Christ, and living out of who you truly are.

All sociologists agree that we live from what we perceive to be true about ourselves. If you as a child of God see yourself as: “I’m just a sinner saved by grace” you will live your life with your head down and very rarely, if ever at all, experience the abundant life that Christ promises to his followers (John 10). If you get to see the truth of the New Testament that you’re not a sinner any more if you have accepted Christ as your Lord and Savior. You may sin occasionally, but that doesn’t change your identity as a saint. You’re a child of God. You’re a co-heir with Christ (Romans 8). You’re perfect in your Spirit, which is who you truly are (Hebrews 10:14). This is not bragging. This is the truth from God’s own word about who those who are in Christ Jesus truly are. There is life, freedom and joy here!

I could write much more, but I will call it a day for now. I sense that God is up to something very interesting in me these weeks. He is touching on some areas in my belief systems about who he is and areas of my relationship with him and significant others where I sense there is still pain. But he is always gentle, and he always only brings up as much as he knows I’m ready for. How wonderful it is to know that God always knows exactly what he is doing, even when it doesn’t feel great. He has given me many challenges this past week, and I’m still thinking about several of them. How good it is to know that God won’t get mad at me, if I’m not ready to go even deeper with him at this point in some of these areas. He is patient, and will keep calling on me and wait until I’m ready for more life in him. 

I enjoy the safety of sharing life with my new friends at Grace Ministries International. How rich it is to journey together on our individual journeys with God. 

I’m looking forward to seeing what this next week will bring!

Blessings, Torben

4 Responses to “Not just a sinner saved by grace!”

  1. October 1, 2008 at 3:19 pm

    Hi Torben!

    Just a note to let you know that I continue to pray for you as you go through AT. Thanks for the update. It looks like God is doing something great in you. I am just putting the final touches on a newsletter on victory. What a difference it makes to go into battle knowing that you have already won the war! I’ll send you a copy when it is ready.
    Keep on!

  2. October 4, 2008 at 10:19 pm

    Thanks Dave! I really appreciate it! I’m looking forward to reading your book!

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