Archives For righteous

The number one objection to grace says if you give people a big grace they will do whatever they want.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer in The Cost of Discipleship famously called this cheap grace.

I do not believe any grace is cheap since it cost Jesus everything.

I would rather argue the cheapening of grace comes not in it’s cost, but in our response to the gift we have been given. After all, Bonhoeffer and anyone speaking against a cheap grace is not referring to the price Jesus paid.

They are speaking of our response having received this amazing grace.

We don’t want people to think they can do whatever they want without consequence.

Grace is never without consequence.

Paul addressed this in Romans 6:1-2. After proclaiming an enormous grace, he knew the natural tendency of people to see what they can get away with.

Why is it we feel we must portray a model of perfection as Christians?

For as long as I can remember, the stereotypical Christian was one who cleaned up well and always answered the “How are you Doing?” question with positive enthusiasm.

Do we present a church which has arrived and is all together, or one filled with people on the journey of figuring it out?

Donald Miller, in his refreshingly candid book Scary Close: Dropping the Act and Finding True Intimacy says,

“Grace only sticks to our imperfections. Those who can’t accept their imperfections can’t accept grace either.”

A photo by Keith Wickramasekara. unsplash.com/photos/C-6TaN2fxK8

Sometimes it is these imperfections which bring beauty.

Miller would imply Christianity, at is core,  is an admission of weakness. We seem to grasp this as a way to enter the door of faith.

I hate checklists for spiritual growth.

They lead towards a works orientation and a focus on being performance-based.

When a recent church service message started with a “Checklist for Spiritual Zeal” I was concerned.

6 commands from Ephesians 5 were restated as questions.

Each one had an emphasis on not having a “hint” of such and such bad thing and of “never” acting another way. It was a list of do’s and don’ts which were totally and completely unrealistic.

When “never’s and always” are included for spiritual behavior, my legalism alarm begins to ring.

“So how are you doing?”, asked the speaker.

The church expected to be hammered into submission and guilt.

What followed next shocked me.

He went on to overview chapters 1-3 saying that all these commands are a response to what God has done.

Charis by Preston Sprinkle

January 5, 2015

I picked up a free copy of Charis: God’s Scandalous Grace for Us by Preston Sprinkle. As you know, if there is a book on grace, I want to get my hands on it.

I had never heard of Preston Sprinkle before. I have no idea what his views on other topics are. But, what I read in the pages of Charis, blew me away. This is one of the best books on grace I’ve ever read.

Sprinkle is a PhD and seminary teacher. He runs in academic circles. He brings great historical background to so many passages. But, unlike most academics who can only be understood by others with higher degrees, Sprinkle speaks the language of the people.

Charis is an overview of grace in the Bible with an emphasis on the Old Testament. Some “grace” teachers reject the Old Testament outright, even saying the Bible Society’s decision to include the Old Testament was a huge mistake. Charis proves them wrong.

“For I have the desire to what is right but not the ability to carry it out” (Romans 7:18)

Paul eloquently demonstrates in Romans 7 the struggle so many of us feel as we walk with God. We want to do what is right, but keep making the same mistakes.

Disobedience is not in our hearts, but it keeps rearing its ugly head in our lifestyle.

In Verse 24, he hits the ultimate expression of frustration exclaiming, Wretched man that I am. Who will deliver me from this body of death?”

Our “wanter” is broken

We don’t live consistently with that which we genuinely desire to do.

Change is not something we get out of a machine or through an app on our phones.

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So What do we do? We usually go to one of two extremes.