Tullian Tchividjian stepped down from his leadership role as senior pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Fort Lauderdale, Florida after he confesses to an immoral relationship. His wife committed adultery, he then followed the same destructive path. His last few tweets as of today were:
“I’m so so sorry. I love you all…fade to black.”
“So grateful that God is a bottom feeder.”
“No vertical condemnation does not mean no horizontal consequences. Surrender early.”
“Welcome to the valley of the shadow of death…thank God grace reigns here.”
“You and I are persistent promise breakers. God alone is a perpetual promise keeper.”
From his twitter page.
His bottom feeder comment reminds me of the song Swing Low, Sweet Chariot. As I like to say whenever I play that song, that chariot will swing as low as it has to in order to rescue the worst of us.
The Bible tells us that when Jesus suffered on the cross, He “swallowed death“. He became sin to make us the righteousness of God. Because of his love for us and for his Papa He voluntarily drunk the dregs of all it means to be separated from Love – His Papa – to rescue us from all that we had become apart from him. The way I like to think about Christ’s atonement is that Jesus has plumbed the very lowest depths of hell to rescue whoever might be there. He came for every last one of us sinners (see Ephesians 4:9-10).
Jesus took Tullian’s sin upon himself at the cross. At the cross Jesus became guilty of Tullian and his wife’s adultery and has already suffered the wrath of God on his behalf because of his great love for them. Jesus has done the same for you. He became guilty of all your sin.
Tullian is obviously receiving the forgiveness and restoration that Jesus extends to him. He has confessed his sin and can expect, along with anyone else who confesses their sin, to be completely forgiven and cleansed from all unrighteousness:
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9 NIV)
One of the comments on one of the posts on Tullians Facebook page was this:
“Tullian Tchividjian, hearing the news was heart breaking. I pray God uses this to further his gospel and pray you and your wife find common ground. You said it yourself “I am the biggest sinner I know.” You are upholding that phrase well but you are also upholding a better practice, confession and repentance. What you did makes you no less of a leader to a lot of us. Depending how you handle the situation it could even make you a bigger one. Come out of this a better pastor, father, and husband. Don’t rest and give the devil hell.”
God will and is using this to further the Gospel (The Good News) that Jesus loves and forgives sinners. None of our sin will remain secret for long. All of heaven knows all our stuff already, and the Lord has said, “you may be sure that your sin will find you out” (Num 32:23) and “God cannot be mocked, we reap what we sow”. And again, “But there is nothing covered up that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known.” (Luke 12:2 NASB)
We will all stand before God one day and give an account for our lives. Jesus has assured us we have the opportunity through trust in him and by receiving his gift of righteousness that we can stand before him pure and clean and as white as snow warmly received by cheering crowds of heavenly saints and angels because we trusted and appropriated his gift.
Or, we can hide and cling to our sin and suffer the profound shame and regret in the presence of a Holy God and all the saints and angels.
“People who conceal their sins will not prosper, but if they confess and turn from them, they will receive mercy.” Proverbs 28:13 NLT (NASB says “will find compassion”)
Another quote from Tullian:
“If the depths of everyone’s sin was made public, we would all be much more gracious to each other.” ~ Tullian Tchividjian
He’s very quotable. I also wholeheartedly believe he truly is a man after God’s own heart. This phrase was used by the LORD of King David. His sins were made public too. He suffered some severe horizontal consequences. Many who are reading this have as well. There is grace for you!
The thing about grace that is often overlooked, and even perhaps not stressed enough (even by Tullian) is that grace empowers us to live holy lives. To live a holy life is a New Testament imperative:
“…but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, “YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY.” If you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth…” 1 Peter 1:15-17 NASB
He means it. He gives us the Holy Spirit to see to it. He expects it, commands it, and demands it. So, what does being “holy” mean? I have come to learn that, just like the commitment we make in marriage, it means essentially that you become 100% God’s… i.e. wholly God’s, surrendered. This is what the Bible also refers to as, “pure in heart”. We get to surrender our all to love! This is why I love the song I Surrender All which appears on our last album:
The result of this complete and absolute and total surrender is living empowered by the Holy Spirit to do and be and live as God would have you to. His Grace (His unmerited favor) works this into our lives:
“For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, 12 teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, 13 looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.” (Titus 2:11-14 NKJV)
I still love Tullian and still think he has a great deal to contribute to the kingdom of love in Jesus Christ… in fact, even more so now. I am reminded of a quote about Johnny Cash after he passed on: “Sinners make the best saints.”
I will still recommend Tullians books and teachings (Here is one not to be missed: Jesus Plus Nothing Equals Everything!). I also suggest you visit his Facebook page and subscribe for grace filled quotes and encouragement. I pray for the healing of his marriage and that God would bless his ministry to all the rest of us sinners made saints by the grace (unmerited, undeserved, unearned favor – and smile – of God upon us) of Jesus (whose Name means “I AM Salvation”). I encourage you to run to Jesus yourself and find his open arms welcoming you back into the sweet loving fellowship of your Papa who loves you intensely and immensely.
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