I’ve been teaching the doctrines of grace…forever. This morning I prayed, “God, are you sure you love me?”

I believe and reckon myself dead. I’m crucified with Christ. Yet whenever I speak somewhere, I think, I hope they like me.

With all my heart I know I’m forgiven. But I couldn’t sleep last night because guilt kept me up.

I know “It’s finished.” But sometimes I’m driven to do more religious stuff and to “turn the tide” for a God who needs my help.

I understand and teach the doctrine of Imputation. Yet I can’t tell you how often I ‘m afraid to go into the presence of a holy, big and scary God.

What’s with all that?

If it’s really finished (and it is), then what are the implications of that fact?

Go out and offend somebody.

“Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed” (Galatians 3:23).

Christians wear masks more than anybody I know…and that includes me. Someone told us that we had to be nice and sweet, and never offend. The hidden agenda behind that isn’t obedience. It’s a desire for people to like us and think well of us.

When we agree with God’s declaration of what we are—needy, sinful and without a single thing to commend us before him—and that’s settled, we are free to be dangerous.

Go out and hug somebody.

“For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:27-28).

With all my heart I know I’m forgiven. But I couldn’t sleep last night because guilt kept me up.

There’s an old sermon illustration about a country boy, John, who told his girlfriend that he loved her and wanted her to be his wife. “John,” she responded, “I love you too and I would be very proud to be your wife.” That night, John knelt down by his bed and prayed, “Lord, I ain’t got nothin’ against nobody now.”

I’ve gone to Calvary and I’ve seen Jesus die on crossbeams between two thieves for me.

“I ain’t got nothin’ against nobody now.”

No matter what I’ve done, where I’ve gone or whom I’ve hurt, Jesus told me that it was all forgiven.

“I ain’t got nothin’ against nobody now.”

To my surprise, I got hugged this morning when I fully expected to be destroyed.

“I ain’t got nothin’ against nobody now.”

I worked (and continue to work) so hard to get God to love me. I trained for years, then became ordained, and have spent my entire life studying the Scriptures and all that time praying for acceptance. I just couldn’t do it anymore and turned to walk away. That’s when I heard his voice, “Welcome, child. Welcome.”

“I ain’t got nothin’ against nobody now.”

Go out and party.

“And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!’” (Galatians 4:6).

This verse reminds me of another son in one of Jesus’ stories. He spent a long time wandering and with the pigs. When he finally made his way back home in desperation, he said to his father, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants”(Luke 15:18-19).

Then came the diamond ring, the barbecue, the band and the party.

“‘For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate” (Luke 15:24).

A friend of mine says that the problem with the church is that we have our noses pressed up to the pagans’ windows, looking longingly at their parties going on inside…and that revival will happen when it’s the other way around. That’s when pagans will have their noses pressed up against the church’s window, listening to our music, watching our dancing, and wishing they were invited to our party.