Thursday, March 28, 2013
Sequenced, But Insperable
Christians who obey God and then expect grace and blessings have got it all wrong, according to renowned pastor Tim Keller. The proper understanding of the Gospel is grace first, obedience second.\
The sequence makes all the difference.
Keller, pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City, was citing scholar Alec Motyer when he underscored the order in which God saves. Addressing thousands of women at The Gospel Coalition's Women's Conference last week, Keller stated that they can never understand the entire Bible unless they understand the proper sequence.
"God did not give the children of Israel the law (the Ten Commandments) and then have them say 'we'll do everything the Lord says' and then He says 'good, now I'll save you, I'll take you out of Egypt on eagle's wings,'" he said, as he preached on the Old Testament account of Moses leading the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt.
Rather, God saved them first. "Now, because I've saved you ... obey me."I understand this message entirely, but I do not understand its necessity now. I find the opposite problem to be more prevalent. I find that people tend to accept the grace and not follow-on with the obedience. I find that people tend to expect grace to overcome their lack of obedience.
Keller has the sequence right, but the two things are inseparable. If, after receiving God's grace we are not obedient then we do not yet have His grace. Grace inextricably and totally results in obedience and if the obedience is not evident then the grace cannot be relied upon.
That, I think is the message for our time - not that grace comes first, but that grace and obedience are inseparable.
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