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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Offensive Grace

I don't like being told I'm helpless.  That I can't do anything to save myself.  I like feeling self-sufficient and independent.  I like feeling in control.

The thing is, I'm not.  I'm not really in control of my life.  I don't have control over my future.  And I certainly have no control over my life or how long it will last (ruling out suicide; that's an entirely different discussion).

God is in control of my life.  He gave me life, and he decides what will happen in it, and how long it will last.  And most importantly, God has guaranteed that I will not die eternally.

God has taken the responsibility for my salvation on himself.  I can do absolutely nothing about it.  No amount of good that I do has any bearing on my place in eternity.  Jesus took the punishment for MY sin on himself, and gave me his holiness and purity as a free gift.  I did not die for my sins.  I cannot claim the reward of salvation on my own because I do not deserve it.  I can only accept it because Jesus earned it for me and has given it to me freely.  He suffered an unbearable death on the cross in my place, and in the place of all other people who have ever lived.  He took the worst possible punishment--separation from God himself--on him, so that we would never have to experience it.

To many, many people, this sounds ridiculous.  "What does some Jewish teacher who lived two thousand years ago have to do with me?  How does his death guarantee my salvation?  Why do I even need salvation?  Why shouldn't I be able to earn it on my own?"

We don't like owing things to people.  We don't like to admit that we can't do everything for ourselves.

This is why the Gospel is foolishness to so many.  This is why grace is offensive.

Paul wrote to the Corinthians:
"For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God....Where is the scholar?  Where is the philosopher of this age?  Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?  For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe.
"Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 
"For the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man's strength...God choose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.  He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things--and the things that are not--to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.
"It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God--that is, our righteousness, holiness, and redemption.  Therefore, as it is written: 'Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.'"  (1 Corinthians 1:18-31)
Grace is a gift.  Plain and simple.  It's not something we deserve, it's something God gives to us because he loves us.
"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God--not by works, so that no one can boast."  (Ephesians 2:8-9)


Linking with: Upward not Inward, A Wise Woman Builds Her Home,  Deep Roots at Home, We are THAT Family, Messy Marriage, Graced Simplicity

2 comments:

  1. A beautiful post, I do so love yo visit here, one can feel a sense of calming. Thank you.

    Yvonne.

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  2. I'm still in awe of God's grace. I don't understand and that often gets in the way of my willingness to receive it, Jaimie. But it really does boil down, as you've so aptly said, to His love for us. Thanks for this encouraging and comforting post, my friend.

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