Beginner’s Luck

Feb 10, 2023 | Articles, by Luke Walker, Marrow Ministries Free Content

We’ve all seen someone who has never done something before do it very well the first time they try. It’s called beginner’s luck, which can be defined as “unexpected success experienced by a person who is just starting a particular activity.” But inevitably, after their sweeping success, the lucky beginner goes on to stink it up when they realize just how difficult whatever activity they happen to be doing actually is.

There is something like beginner’s luck in the Christian life. When we first believed, our faith was full. It hit the ground running, both barrels blazing, and couldn’t seem to miss. Our faith crescendos in its first motions, seizing upon eternity and glory in Christ. We dared to take God for ourselves right then and there. He was ours and we were forgiven. The heavens opened and the angels sang. Put simply, we believed.

But as we pressed forward in the Christian life, somewhere along the way our faith weakened. Here and there, in the back of our thoughts, little doubts began to peek out with their ugly faces. They questioned the gospel word of God. They did not deny that God loves to bestow mercy on sinners; we are quite sure of His mercy to the lost. But we are not always so certain about His free acceptance of us as the Christians we are today. Could God really be as happy with me now as He was when I first believed? It just doesn’t seem possible. It seems…too good to be true.

Well, that’s what the gospel is all about. When we think otherwise, it shows that we don’t believe the message of the cross as we once did. And if we’re not resting in the gospel, we are trusting in ourselves—that’s the only alternative. We believe we were saved by God’s grace, but we think we have to be good enough to merit His acceptance today. Thus, we go about trying to satisfy God’s righteousness with our good works rather than reposing ourselves upon Christ and His finished work on our behalf. As you can see, what’s wrong with our faith is that, maybe, it isn’t faith at all anymore—it is works.

If we do not carefully place our faith in the Lord Jesus for our acceptance with God every day of our Christian lives, we will probably, imperceptibly, start to trust in ourselves instead. Click To Tweet

It came so easily at first, but it seems more difficult to believe now. God must be so disappointed in us, so sick of our sin, so fed up with our failures. But He assures us of quite the opposite. Why do we often feel condemned by God, when He tells us plainly that “there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom 8:1)? Why do we feel that we can’t really approach Him when we have eternal access to our heavenly Father through his Beloved Son? For Paul says, “Since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand” (Rom 5:1–2).

In fact, not only does He accept us freely in Christ today, but that acceptance is the very thing that kills sin. The ongoing power of the Spirit in our lives, most notably putting sin to death (Gal 5:16), happens through the same faith in the same gospel that saved us in the first place (Gal 3:1–6). This is why first faith raises a slaughter fest against personal wickedness, namely, because we believed we were forgiven and embraced by God in Christ. Period. Iniquity lay dying upon the ground before Him whom our soul loves. And why did we love Him so? Because He first loved us.

Beloved, if we do not carefully place our faith in the Lord Jesus for our acceptance with God every day of our Christian lives, we will probably, imperceptibly, start to trust in ourselves instead. When we first believed, we knew better, but now we think we can stack up to God’s righteous standards for the Christian life. Perhaps we believe it so earnestly that we will not allow ourselves to rest in God’s love for us until we cross off every x, y, and z from the ever-changing to-do list of our own making.

Enough of this counting up our grubby little pennies to pay for access to our heavenly Father when the priceless blood of His Son has unlocked every door in His kingdom. God has flung the gates of His heavenly palace wide open to cosmic criminals against his crown. He calls to the lost sons and daughters of Adam and Eve and bids them plainly to come in and dine at His table today. How much more does He call to His children? With great joy, He beckons us to enter freely and enjoy His company at will. Are we or are we not the apple of His eye in Christ?

It seems we have much to learn about the mysterious and mighty grace of God. There is nothing preventing us from trusting Him now as freely as we once did. Let us bask once again in the mighty company of our amazing God.

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