January 2012

English: Civil Air Patrol 1985 Cessna 172P, wi...

Civil Air Patrol Search and Rescue Aircraft

No, it’s not a joke, but it is pretty funny when you hear my story! My point will then be clear.

But first, we need to stop thinking of grace strictly as forgiveness, comfort, or a favor we don’t deserve. Grace is continual action. Grace is power. It isn’t static; it’s dynamic. It moves, it drives, it does things. Paul says it’s not by works of the Law we’re saved, but by the works of grace. Not just God’s grace, but ours as well, through partnership with Him.

We can think of grace as fuel. The idea is to burn through that fuel like a jet fighter on take-off in full afterburner. The sinner idling on the tarmac doesn’t burn a fraction of grace the disciple does! Think of it this way: if grace were money, it relates to your discipleship as a grant rather than a salary. Grace is a gift from God rather than something He owes you; but it still revolves around work. Grace isn’t the opposite of work; it’s the opposite of wages and payment. Sin is about wages and pay-back—“the wages of sin.”

Second, grace is also about poise, as in gracefulness and ease. Poise is related to position, as in a rattlesnake poised to strike, or one’s position on economics. Lack of grace means stumbling rather than dancing. At the risk of sounding like a class-A klutz, allow me to demonstrate:



Square Peg in a Round Hole - geograph.org.uk -...

Square Peg in a Round Hole

I just read this cool article entitled Our Changing Spiritual Relationship Status. It brings up a point that I make in my book about Christians being confused about how they fit with God. We’re often told that, by default, we humans can’t relate to the divine at all. I especially love this quote from the article:

Having said all this, I believe there was another reason for the incarnation. As much as it helps us relate to God, something even more profound took place. In Jesus we find God eating food and sleeping on the ground. God entered through a tunnel and left through a tomb—same as us. God sat at the barren table of poverty and drank the cup of our suffering. He didn’t just come so we could relate better to Him, He came so He could relate to us.”

My thought is that if we have so much trouble relating to the divine, how will we ever develop a deep, abiding love instead of a shallow or mandatory love, not to mention imitate it? What are your thoughts?

English: Foggy sunrise in San Francisco and Bu...

Image via Wikipedia

How often have you heard that you’re a no-good sinner and will always be a no-good sinner? Jesus taught, “Make a tree good and its fruit will be good.” (Mat. 12:33) “Wash the inside of the cup and the outside gets clean in the process.” (Mat. 23:26)

Some will say, “Jesus was good on the inside, but we can never be.” This is only partially true; and it robs us of hope. The idea that we’re nothing but no-good sinners and will always be no-good sinners in this life is a terrible conflict with God’s refinement and redemption process.

In a busy restaurant, I recently overheard part of a conversation between two people, apparently Christian. One was saying, “But even when I’m saved and in heaven, I’m still a sinner. God only lets me in because His love is so great that He forgives me.” The other person nodded emphatically.

I don’t know where the rest of the conversation went, but I thought how sad it is that we’ve been convinced that even in a resurrected state in a perfect heaven, we still can be no different. Even then, we can’t be made new; we can only be forgiven, which, for many Christians, is the “greatest” expression and fullest extent of God’s love.

It’s so bleak, so minimal, so unworthy of our calling; and it’s hardly true redemption. If this is the best hope that the “saved” can look forward to, no wonder the “doomed” have less than zero chance and God is so underwhelming. (more…)

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