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Striving to Earn God's Favor

Truth Talk / Stu Epperson
The Truth Network Radio
May 26, 2021 1:00 am

Striving to Earn God's Favor

Truth Talk / Stu Epperson

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May 26, 2021 1:00 am

Stu's sister Karen sits down with Dr. Ashley Null, scholar and Olympic chaplain, to discuss his new book, "Performance Identity: The Folly of Striving to Earn God's Favor."

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Speaking of hangry, we got something going on at the Truth Network that's going to help the world not be so hangry. Yeah, he's talking about just needing God's Word. He said, please help the Truth Network send Bibles to Africa.

And we know that they need God's Word. We have until the end of the month, just $5 gets a Bible in the hands of a poor, impoverished believer all over the African continent with the help of the Bible League. Just $5.

Just think about that, Robbie. Just $5. So please give. If you can give more than $5, man, we'd love for you to do it. And the number to call is 1-800-YES-WORD. 1-800-YES-WORD. This is Darren Kuhn with the Masculine Journey Podcast, where we search the ancient paths to find ways that God brings light into a dark world and helps set men free from the struggles that we all face on a day-to-day basis. Your chosen Truth Network podcast is starting in just a few seconds. Enjoy it. Share it.

But most of all, thank you for listening and for choosing the Truth Podcast Network. If you are a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, you are a son. You are a daughter. You're a prince. You're a princess. You're a child of the King.

Yet so often we get on the treadmill of performance. If I work a little bit harder, God's going to like me. If I don't work hard enough, God's not going to like me. Well, we have recently been able to interview a man of God. His name is Dr. Ashley Noll. He's an author. He's an academic. He is a professor. He's a scholar. And he's also an Olympic chaplain.

Check this out. This guy has a doctorate from Cambridge, Oxford, and from Harvard. He's like one of two people in the world that have those doctors and a double doctorate from Cambridge. So I wasn't able to interview him on Truth Talk, but my baby sister Karen was. So get ready to be encouraged as my sister Karen interviews Dr. Noll right here, right now. We're going to play this. You're going to be so encouraged.

This is so important. Share this podcast when it becomes a podcast with everyone. My sister Karen talking to Dr. Ashley Noll about performance identity. That's the title of his new book.

So stay tuned. Be encouraged. Here is my sister Karen interviewing Dr. Noll. This is Karen Deny for Truth Talk Life. And today I have the honor of interviewing Dr. Ashley Noll.

How are you today, Ashley? I am blessed because I've been around the Epperson family and their friends for a marvelous lunch. And the guest speaker was Archbishop Ben Quashie, a man whose life has been tried in fire. And the result has been a life reflecting the gold of Christ in him and through him. So I'm blessed right now. Amen. Amen.

And I agree with that. Ashley has written several books, but one that we want to note specifically today is getting off the performance treadmill or is it the performance treadmill, Ashley? The book's subject is about that. Its title is performance identity, the folly of striving to earn God's favor. Wow. So in a nutshell, what made you or what compelled you to write this book?

What is your story that drew the interest of this performance identity issue? So many Christians are like the elder son in the parable of the prodigal son. They see what they do as trying to be respectable and earn God's favor. But the reality is, medals have to be earned.

That's right and good. Love can't be earned. If it's earned, it's not love. And both in my own life and in the various ministerial circles in which I operate, the power of knowing that God's love is what reaches out and grabs us and turns us around and that his love empowers us to serve rather than thinking, well, if I work hard enough, God will bless me and then he will give me his love. How many Christians are saved by grace and sustained by sweat? How many Christians secretly feel and fear that they're not good enough for God's love and they better try harder? How many Christians experience not the joy of being redeemed, but the shame they've heard from so many people now put in God's mouth saying they're not good enough?

Thomas Cramner, the man I study, he was the first Protestant Archbishop of England during the Reformation. He basically had a tremendous insight. It's the glory of God to love the unworthy. It's easy to love the worthy, right?

What glory is that? But to love the unworthy, the people that let you down, to trust that your love will win out over their fears and insecurities and anxieties and selfishness and all those things that in the end, if you just love pure enough and long enough that it will draw out of the beloved a loving response. That's how he saw God, because he studied the Bible and that's what Jesus taught and that's what Paul taught. But we know every gospel insight in one generation becomes a gospel hindrance in the next. We hang on to a past move of God to give us more security rather than being open to what he wants to do. And therefore, even the good news of free, unconditional salvation, over time, we find ways to insert ourselves in the process, making ourselves more important and therefore able to convince ourselves because I've done X, God will love me or because I've done X, other people will love me or because I've done X, I can love me even though I know I've done Y and Z. How many Christians have a pagan mentality that it's all about getting the balancing of the two scales, that I've got to do enough good to overcome all the bad I did? And then if I do that, then I can be in God's presence.

Well, that sounds reasonable, don't you think? Just one little detail. Right. It's not the gospel.

Right. And we have so many Christians today who see their unworthiness and therefore they do not want to be a hypocrite. They say, I can't go to church because I'm unworthy. I've got to fix myself up.

And when I'm good enough, then I'll go back. Karen, if I took meat and milk and put it on a door stoop and came back a month later, can I have lunch? No. Should I yell at the meat and milk? No. Should I say, how dare they let me down? Should I try to shame them and say that they needed to be better? Would that do any effect?

No. Why not? Because they don't have it in them to stay fresh on their own. The huge mistake of human beings, the huge mistake of Christians is to assume that they have the power to stay fresh on their own. What does Philippians 2 12 say? Work out your salvation with fear and trembling, right? That sounds like sweat equity to me, right?

Does it sound like sweat equity to you? We don't make any progress in the Christian life unless we make decisions. Some decisions are harder to make and some decisions are harder to stick to. And when we make bad decisions, we have to live with the consequences, right? Forgiveness comes instantly, but it doesn't take away the consequences that have to be worked out day by day.

But, you know, our hope cannot lie in us making good decisions. I don't know about you, but when I look back and I see I've come to hard and difficult decisions, it's not been because I've been such a righteous person. It's because God's love will not let me go. He puts the mirror up to let me see what it's really like in my heart. And then he says, look at how you're living. Let me enable you to live into the worth I've given. Now, the enemy says, look what you've done.

You know, you're worthless. That's condemnation. That's never from Jesus. But how do we make those good decisions? If, in fact, we know it's not because of us. Well, what does Philippians 2 13 say? For it is God who is at work in us to will and to do.

His good pleasure. We can't make any progress without good decisions. And we can fight hard to make those good decisions. But actually, that fighting hard is God's gift to us. God's handiwork in us.

We don't fix ourselves. So God approves. In Christ, God approves of us with Christ's righteousness as we are and then begins to change us from the inside out. Our hope is not what we promised to do for God. Our hope is what God has promised to do for us. And that is the message of performance identity. That is the message of the English Reformation. That's the message of the gospel. Amen. Thank you so much, Dr. Ashley Knoll. Again, talking about his book. And wow, thank you so much for sharing with us this afternoon.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-11-13 01:41:51 / 2023-11-13 01:46:07 / 4

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