Wednesday, July 24, 2013
Grace Too Far?
5) Here’s one always sure to get a rise out of evangelicals. “Once you are justified by faith, you can do what you want. And if you want to do all the things you did before you knew Jesus, then you just don’t get it.” The idea that we can do what we want just gets everyone nervous. But what is the alternative? Being somehow forced to do what we don’t want to do? I sin because parts of me still want to sin. I obey Jesus because parts of me really want to do that. It’s a bummer. (Read Romans 7) I believe there is some hope the situation will change, but not until I’m dead! The prodigal came home and did what he wanted. So did the woman in John 8 who Jesus said he didn’t condemn. So did Peter when he denied Jesus and then repented.
6) How does grace change us? The Holy Spirit gives us a new heart, the mind of Christ, new affections. We are changed and the promises of sanctification and perseverance are true. But the law can’t PRODUCE anything worthwhile in my life as a Christian. It’s either there because Jesus is my treasure and I choose him over the world and the flesh, or it’s not worth being there at all. The law can really do a great job on the externals, but grace gives me Jesus and only cares about fruit that comes from the Holy Spirit. Sorry to all the preachers and Christians trying to control people. I suggest you give up.This is all true stuff, but there is one risk to grace, that iMonk does not touch on and that is grace extended to point that there is no maturity. It is true we cannot control people, but we can demand better from our leaders. Grace may give you a passing grade. But then there are higher grades than merely passing. Certainly we should demand such grades from those that lead us?
And yet, when I hear of a problem in our leaders, all I hear is grace. As iMonk noted, Peter repented. That is not actually that high a bar for and above average grade if you think about it, but we rely o grace to ignore even that low bar it so often seems.
Like all of God's fantastic message, the message of grace can be warped.