Sunday, April 18, 2010

Amazing Grace

It can really get quite messy, this concept of grace. Once you realize that you are the recipient of it, you are responsible to extend it to others.

Think about it.
Is God gracious?
Does his grace include favor, affirmation, acceptance?
How gracious is he?
Not, somewhat, quite, very, infinitely?
What does God require or expect in order to give away his grace?
What do we do in order to deserve it?

We are taught that God is gracious and compassionate. We see it all over the life of Jesus. We hear him tell us to live the same way.
Then we use the Bible to clobber people who don't line up with our theology.

We are told that grace is free, that it cannot be earned. We see that demonstrated in Christ.
Then we preach that God only loves/accepts you if:
--you believe the 'right' way
--you live the 'right' way
--you follow a particular set of rules
--you sign on the dotted line.

Either God is gracious, loving and compassionate,
or he only loves those that we figure make the grade.

You can't have both.
Don't bother doing the 'Bible clobber' thing and also try to say that God is gracious. We've already turned off millions of people with that hypocrisy. Grace suffers every time you try to make the Bible say something that limits his love for absolutely everyone.
If it comes to a disagreement between God's unlimited graciousness and my understanding of the Bible, it's my biblical interpretation that needs to be reworked.

Speaking of hypocrisy, I'm continually having to face my own thoughts and actions. If I have received the benefits of God's unlimited grace, I need to reflect the same to all I meet.
--I have no right to choose who 'deserves' the food I hand out on the street, or who gets my spare change.
--Even though I figure that the kid on the bus should know enough to give up his seat to the lady with the walker, I still have to grant him grace.
--When I see the good church folk on their way to a Sunday service ignoring the hungry/cold/wet street campers, I need to be gracious, and not think evil of them.
--I even need to be gracious toward people who call themselves 'Christian', but are legalistic, arrogant, unloving or not gracious. (Although I'll still call them on their sad, limited, ungracious understanding of God.)

I know God still loves all of them, so I need to as well.
I know from experience that God loves me when I am a jerk, so I need to do the same.


Mark (under construction) said...

Al ... for me - one very powerful post, thankyou my friend.

Luke said...


i'm right there with ya dawg. RAWK!

shallowfrozenwater said...

thanx Al.

chris said...

I will choose grace over anything. Great post. I look forward to reading more.

Al said...

Thanks Chris. Grace always wins.


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