I remember the day. It was a spring day and the sun was shining. I walked to the end of my driveway and opened the mailbox. In it was a yellow envelope that contained a book I didn’t order. The book you ask? Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller. I sat outside a small coffee shop near Illinois State University and read the book in about six hours. Over the next few days I read it again and again.
Inside that book I discovered grace in a way I never had before.
Blue Like Jazz, was for me, Martin Luther’s commentary on Galatians or Packer’s introduction to Death of Death by Owen. It was magisterial. It left me laid low and in awe of Jesus in a way that was different than ever before.
You see, when I trusted Christ it was because I was keenly aware of my own sinfulness. I knew that I needed a savior because I couldn’t save myself. I also knew that now I had a responsibility to save other people too. I took that very seriously. It was my career. Everyday I woke up thinking about and trying new ways to save people.
The problem was that most of the people that needed saving first had to get some things straight.
They needed to believe in a certain cosmology.
They needed to hold to certain beliefs about the authority and inerrancy of Scripture.
They needed to understand that moral absolutism.
They needed to be a part of a particular political platform. In short,
they needed to get their worldview in order before they could become a Christian.
Then God grabbed me and shook me from stupor of legalism and self-righteousness. He reminded me through the study of Romans (which I turned to after reading Blue Like Jazz) and then Hebrews and then Romans again that when he called me,
I didn’t need belief in a certain cosmology.
I didn’t need belief in the authority and inerrancy of Scripture.
I didn’t need belief in moral absolutism.
I didn’t need to be a part of a particular political platform.
I didn’t need to have a Christian worldview to be saved.
All he needed from me was for me to be dead. Then he gave me life. He gave me new life. He transformed me. He taught me that I was lovable. He made me love his Scriptures. He adopted me as his own. He grafted me into his family. He gave me a new name and he said, “You are mine.”
He did all this. I did none of it. He didn’t wait for me to get things right in my worldview because I couldn’t. I was not going to change because I was dead in my sin and brokenness.
Grace broke into my life and changed everything. People who don’t know Jesus are no longer they‘s, but us and we. The divide between us is the width of a cross.
It is my dream that The Antioch Movement is a community of people where people are able to find and experience grace regardless of who they are. It is my dream that there never comes a day when we lose sight of the fact that we are in Jesus because of his overwhelming irresistible grace. I hope beyond hope that we will be a community that lives out the reality of a costly grace in a costly discipleship.