adoption · church · faith · family

are you afraid of grace?

[Note: If you haven’t already, please also read yesterday’s post on paying for grace, because these two concepts need to go together. Thanks.]

It seems a weird question, but I think it holds a place deeply in most Christians’ hearts. Here’s why.

I think that we are afraid of “too much” grace. We think that if we just say “grace covers it all” that people will take licenses and just do whatever they please. As if, first of all, we are supposed to be keep tracking of what people are doing with their “share” of grace, and secondly as if the grace that saves us is not enough to keep up and sanctify us until the last day.

“Those who have been saved by Jesus and have been covered by His blood cannot out-sin the coverage of God’s forgiveness.” – Tullian Tchividjian

I cannot help but think about what kind of people are afraid of this happening. It makes me consider marriage. You marry someone. You say you love that person and that person says he or she loves you. Do you then proceed to test that love? What kind of person says, ok, let’s see if that person really means it. Let me go and do all the things I’ve always done before I was married, i.e. date other people, flirt, spend money like there’s no tomorrow, stay out all hours of the night, never let anyone know what I’m doing or when I’ll be home. Who does that? What kind of spouse would you be to say, my spouse loves me so much, I’m going to do absolutely nothing to love him back or show him I love him back in any way? I feel like I’ve watched those sitcoms. It’s painful.

We don’t do this in our human relationships, why do people fear it happening in our love affair with God? Why are we so afraid of the kind of grace that says, I already paid for everything you’ve done AND everything you are going to do? It’s a blank check for all your life. It doesn’t say, spend it wisely. It doesn’t even say, I know you’re going to abuse it so I only left x amount of dollars in the account for the check to clear. It says I know you’ve been abusing it, I know you will continue to abuse it whether you realize it or not, and I also know, that by that same grace that saved you, I will make you come to understand your abusiveness and I will make you into one who repents and turns her heart toward me more often and quicker than ever before.

More talk of repentance, less talk of sin. We who are broken by our sinfulness are the true heirs of Christ. It isn’t that we suddenly stop sinning. It is that we repent more. It is that we are more deeply broken over our sin. We are more shaken by the things that we once overlooked and even denied to ourselves. We are more aware, increasingly aware until our dying day, that we are ever in need of a miracle. Only a magical, mystical miracle will do. We are that bad off. We are that far from hope.

And the beauty is that we get that miracle. We get to see it. We get to taste it and feel it. We get to drink it in and soak it up. We get to bathe in it and immerse in it. We get to bask in all its glory.

Who is the one that wonders when we’ll take that for granted? Why do we watch like hawks each other for the very moment someone screws it up… AS IF we can screw up that kind of miracle in the first place? I’m reminded of the tale of Edmund in Chronicles of Narnia. He betrayed his family and Aslan and was generally a miserable little boy. But Aslan traded his life (oh spoiler, in case you are still living under a rock) for Ed, and the human part of us goes, really? C’mon. He’s a spoiled brat. But we read the rest of the story and we get to see him mature and go on to be a hero. But even if he didn’t become a hero and was still kind of a brat years later, I don’t think for one moment Aslan would have changed his mind. Because it’s not about Edmund’s worth. It’s about Aslan’s. And Aslan’s worth demands an exchange of something for nothing, an upside down system, a salvation that baffles the wisest of us all. We’re too interested in returns on investments. We want to be assured that efforts always pay off and that we get what we’re entitled to, and more to the point people we don’t like who wrong us or are different from us get what’s coming to them. But Aslan’s ways are not the white witch’s ways, and Edmund is set free.

We’re afraid of that kind of freedom. We’re afraid of the kind of justice that feels like no justice at all. We hate the idea that someone guilty gets off free. We loathe the one who skips away from the jail house. Why? Because we forgot that’s US. that’s ME. *I* get to walk. *I* am acquitted. The glove does not fit. It is not my glove. It was traded in for Another’s glove, Another’s hand. He wore my cross, my crown of thorns, my grave clothes. And I get to skirt the whole scene of the crime. Seems outrageous.

I love and belong to an outrageous God. There is nothing I can do for the rest of my life to deserve it or earn it, but it’s mine mine mine. This does not make me wonder what else I can get away with. It makes me fall to my face and worship. Does it not do this to you? And if you’re on your face, how can you be watching anyone else?

Jesus, I pray this day that I will see myself as you see me. Covered and paid in full for all time. I pray that I will doubly see all others who claim Your blood as Savior and You as Lord the same way, as fully free and a fellow sojourner with me until you call us home. Let us love and treat each other as the royalty we are. Amen.

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