“One of the signs that you may not grasp the unique, radical nature of the gospel is that you are certain that you do.”
Timothy Keller, The Prodigal God.
That statement got my attention when I first started reading The Prodigal God. When it came to Jesus, the people who were most sure about what they knew about God were the most wrong in what they actually experienced with God.
Yikes! I have a graduate degree in God-knowledge, but I sure want my experience to be shaped by what Jesus was about.
So, we begin in earnest this Sunday on the study of one of the most famous stories Jesus told about how to truly experience God. The story is found in Luke 15 and we will look at the first ten verses this week. Jesus begins to explain why the Wrong people liked him so much and why the Right people could not stand him.
Here’s a hint: the Right people had the wrong math when it came to God, sin, salvation, success and failure. The wrong math about these things leads, on one hand, to a sense of pride, complacency and judgmentalism. Wrong math also leads to a sense of shame, guilt, and striving without success. I was never good at math, so I mostly bailed on the subject, which is what others might do when it comes to God.
Jesus turns their math about God upside-down. He even goes further. He dumps math and replaces it with a party.
Now, that is salvation.