Monday, May 21, 2012
Why do people fear grace?
This blog chronicles a journey. It is a journey of thought that has led to a paradigm shift. I have not had to throw the baby out with the bath water (please pardon the overused metaphor.) What I mean is that so many of my colleagues and friends are getting away from the importance of Jesus and redemption. Some are merely ridding themselves of speaking of reconciliation at all. They are moving to a far more classically liberal view of Christianity. They see Jesus as merely a great moral teacher and not so much Savior and Lord. In my view that is totally unnecessary. Evangelicals do not have a lock on relationship with God via Jesus Christ. There are Christian mystics that reject most of evangelical doctrine and dogma. I am one such individual.
I still maintain a relatively high view of scripture. Redemptively, I see it as the word of God. After all, that is exactly what Jesus and his first century followers taught; the gospel, and Jesus the living gospel is the word of God. Luther and Calvin got many things wrong. Imputed righteousness and forensic justification was NOT one of them. It is the foundation, the very ground for true reconciliation with God. Apprehending it is the vehicle that brings about peace with God and thereby transformation into a more Christ like being.
So then, the question of this post is why do people (specifically so many evangelicals) fear grace? I think the reason is obvious. They deeply fear God. I am often reminded of the proverb; “there is a way that seemeth right unto a man but the end thereof is the way of death.” The way that seems right to humanity is reformation of behavior. Following a written code will bring righteousness. It seems so right. The problem is that it CANNOT eliminate fear. What kind of death does this legal mind set bring? Spiritual death. Every time some poor soul walks down an isle for rededication they are having a spiritual rebirth that will not last! Every time someone vows to be better, live better, pray more, fast more… you fill in the action… they are setting themselves up for spiritual death. Not a death that leads to damnation; rather a death that kills the spirit operating in their lives. They set themselves up for hiding from God. They hide, and hide, and hide and hide, and then finally, they make a public or secret repentance, and wait for the scene to repeat itself in perpetuity.
This cycle is completely unnecessary. The gospel was designed to bring peace with God twenty-four seven... once for all time. One believing the gospel should rest in the love, mercy and grace of God at all times. This is precisely why the Apostle John wrote the words that “perfect love casts out fear.” One who has been perfected in love should not fear… not ever! Grace is the precise treatment for fear; going boldly to the throne of grace is what the believer should always do. They should rest in it. This in the long run will bring about real transformation.
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