Thursday, September 23, 2010
Why Must They "Reconcile?"
D.A. Carson writes:As I read that and one more time the grace versus works discussion erupted, I asked myself, "Why do we set action and grace as opposites - or even need to reconcile them - why not just pursue both with vigor?"These things are not necessarily opposed to each other. All gifst require action and response. If my wife gives me an object d'art for some occasion, that gift must be properly displayed, it must be kept clean, maintenance of some sort may be required. Should a friend give me clothing for my birthday, it must be worn, washed, folded or hung, and generally cared for.You will not grow in the Christian life through stasis. You must move.
People do not drift toward holiness. Apart from grace-driven effort, people do not gravitate toward godliness, prayer, obedience to Scripture, faith, and delight in the Lord. We drift toward compromise and call it tolerance; we drift toward disobedience and call it freedom; we drift toward superstition and call it faith. We cherish the indiscipline of lost self-control and call it relaxation; we slouch toward prayerlessness and delude ourselves into thinking we have escaped legalism; we slide toward godlessness and convince ourselves we have been liberated.
But move where? Move how?
What is "grace-driven effort" and how is it different from some other kind of religious or spiritual effort?
The gift of life given to us by Christ's death and resurrection is indeed a gift, but as any gift, it places responsibilities and burdens upon me. I have on occasion received gifts that I did not enjoy. They were stored and no action resulted from them. Is that what we think of the gift Christ gave us with His very life? Is it that unappreciated? Must we debate whether to put it into storage or to maintain it?
I find this discussion wearying becasue it creates a false dichotomy. Salvation does not result from works, but there is nothing in that statement that says the gift of salvation comes with out action - NOTHING.
It's our attitude that matters. When one uses a gift, do you think of the giver? I make an effort to. When you go through life, a life impossible without the gift of grace, think of the giver of that life. Honor Him by maintaining it well.