Thursday, May 27, 2010

There Is NO "Grace, But.."

My blogging friend Lydia of Joy To Be Me blog once wrote a post on how there is no "Grace, BUT.."  (You can read her wonderful thoughts here.)  Here are my own thoughts on the very same thing:

Why do people sometimes think in terms of "Yes, Grace is true, BUT..."?  Why do we add to the perfect, finished work of Christ to make us RIGHT with God?  Why do we put some religious qualifier at the end of the work of God called Grace?  People sometimes say, "Yes, Grace is true, BUT we mustn't give license to sin.  Yes, Grace is true, BUT we have to live holier lives.  Yes, Grace is true, BUT we need to focus on avoiding sin more.  Yes, Grace is true, BUT we must teach on God's wrath.  Yes, Grace is true, BUT I still have to improve myself.  Yes, Grace is true, BUT God is still dealing with my sins.  Yes, Grace is true, BUT I have to do something to be worthy to receive it.  Yes, Grace is true, BUT I have to do my part.  Yes, Grace is true, BUT not for me."  I have struggled with thinking some of those things myself.  And yet...

There is NO qualifier to God's grace!  It stands on its own, pure and radical and true!  No strings are attached or it wouldn't be GRACE!  There is nothing we have to do to add to it or get it, or it wouldn't be GRACE!  It's free acceptance and unconditional love given to us!  It's crazy!  It's amazing!  It's too good to be true, yet it IS true...we are loved and accepted and forgiven for FREE through the work of Jesus, a work He did once and for all, a work that is now finished.  How can we add to His complete work?  It's perfect and stands for all time.

Because Grace is true, we are free to fail and still be "in."  Because Grace is true, we are holy NOW.  Because Grace is true, we are FREE from sin and never separate from God!  Because Grace is true, there is no wrath on us EVER!  Because Grace is true, we are better than improved - we are NEW!  Because Grace is true, God is finished dealing with our sins FOREVER!  Because Grace is true, we don't have to be "worthy!"  Because Grace is true, we need do NOTHING!  Because Grace is true, it is true for ALL of us, even you, even me.

If we even add one little qualifier or "but" to Grace, what we are really doing is adding in Law.  And we know what that does!  Law only stirs up and points out sin.  Law can never make anything righteous.  Grace is the ONLY way to have the righteousness before God that we all want.  And we already have that righteousness for free, as a gift, by Grace!  We have no need for Law, then.  Christ's work was complete and sufficient to give us exactly what we need for free - real Life in a perfect, wonderful, intimate relationship with God!

It's like the scene in Back To The Future when Doc is about to take Marty to the future and says, "Where we are going, we don't NEED roads!"  We don't need the road of the law to guide us when we are already at our destination, soaring in the heavenlies with Jesus!  We don't need pathways to walk on when we can fly!  That stuff would only distract and keep us from the joy of experiencing the freedom we already have!  There is NO such thing as Grace, But..

Is it not clear to you that to go back to that old rule-keeping, peer-pleasing religion would be an abandonment of everything personal and free in my relationship with God? I refuse to do that, to repudiate God's grace. If a living relationship with God could come by rule-keeping, then Christ died unnecessarily. Gal. 2:21.

Law isn't the gospel.  Grace is.  I'm sticking with Grace!  And there are just no "But's" about it!

                                With love,

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May the amazing grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the extravagant love of God, and the intimate friendship of the Holy Spirit be with all of you. 2 Co. 13:14