Ordo Salutis: False Narratives into True
What we’re really doing when we are concentrating on our ideas, images, gaining new information and using our ability to think is rejecting false narratives we used to believe and exchanging them for true narratives. This doesn’t sound super-Scriptural or super-spiritual, but it is a quite practical application of one of the meanings of repentance.
Getting rid of false narratives was one of Jesus’ hopes when he said, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:17). He was calling the crowds to reconsider an old narrative–my sinful life prohibits me from participation in the rule and reign of God. Jesus said, A) turn from your sin, and B) know that it is for you that God’s kingdom has come, and you must enter it.
Perhaps the very thing that stops us today from choosing to enter the kingdom is the false narrative we have believed about God or ourselves.
James Bryan Smith, in his Apprentice Series, outlines several false narratives prevalent in Christian circles. Here are three of them.
|False Narrative||True Narrative||Scripture|
|God is an angry judge. If you do well, you will be blessed; if you sin, you will be punished.||God is good.||Matthew 5:45; 19:17; John 9:2-3|
|God hates sin so much he will send you to hell for just one unconfessed sin.||God is trustworthy as our Abba Father.||Matthew 6:9-11; Mark 14:36; Romans 8:28|
|God needs us to earn His favor and will only give His forgiveness and love to those who deserve it.||God is generous with His grace to us.||Matthew 20:1-15; Romans 5:8|
The hardest part of narratives is that they are so deeply engrained in us that they are subconscious. We don’t think about them, we just think them. And yet, with God’s grace, He can transform and renew our minds so that these ideas are not the ones we choose to trust, but rather, we choose to trust the One who gave us the capacity to think in the first place.