On the one hand, I set out to write Saving the Saved in an effort to bring liberty to followers of Jesus who have found themselves bound to a performance ethic. So many of us need to fire our inner lawyer who is constantly cross-examining and condemning us, pointing out all of the bad things and pillaging our peace.
But I actually thought about entitling it, Saving the "Saved" because I wanted to not only bring a sense of tranquility to the restless believer, but I also wanted to—and this sounds cruel—torment the moral person who thinks they're "saved," but [aren't] really..
2. What was a turning point in your own understanding of the gospel?
Some years ago I decided to preach the gospel of Matthew. I wanted to preach through it to get a sense for what I really thought about the gospel. I was drawn to Matthew because he writes to religious people. Well, that was so me. I grew up going to church, the son of a preacher, and I knew I had taken some things for granted. Each week during the four year series I just had this sense of, No one else may like this, but this is pretty amazing! Then it started to spill over into my marriage, parenting, friendships, the whole nine, you know?
3. How do we live as Christians in a meritocracy?
[The] notion of a meritocracy—a society predicated on earning—colors everything around us from schools, to jobs, to money. And in a social media age we can now even quantify popularity based on the amount of likes you get or followers you have.
We see [the same dynamic] in the days of Jesus. You were esteemed back then if you were married, had sons, were wealthy and were of a certain class. Now get the complete irony of Jesus who was single, poor, homeless, chaste, and childless. Not only that, but nothing even remotely suggested Jesus was trying to play by the rules of the meritocracy. When they tried to make him king, he refused. Often times when he performed miracles he told people to keep quiet about it. And he died the most shameless death one could back then—on a cross.
Why did he live in such rebellion to the meritocracy? Well, because all that mattered to him was the acceptance and approval of his father. That formed everything. The only time we hear God talking to Jesus is to tell him that he's pleased with him. Once we settle into that same truth for us, our pursuit of pleasing others dies.
All of us have this mixed up notion that we need to do good things in order to find peace or acceptance. This is called moralism. Now along comes Jesus and he says you can't do enough good things, like, there's not enough moral sanitizer to cleanse your soul. So Jesus does it all for us on the cross, and he flings the door open to a relationship with God and says come on in. For many this is just too good to be true. And for many others we rush in on grace, yet turn around and think we have to maintain the relationship now by works.
—Bryan Loritts on the difficulty of resting in our salvation
Bryan Loritts is lead pastor of Abundant Life Christian Fellowship in Mountain View, California and president of the Kainos Movement, an organization aimed at establishing the multiethnic church in America as the new normal. Previously, Bryan served as a pastor at Trinity Grace Church in New York City and as cofounder of Fellowship Memphis.