Whenever you tell someone you speak and write about grace, they are quick to offer cautions.
Grace must be kept in balance. “You don’t want sloppy agape or cheap grace now do you?”
Oh yes, well watch out for so and so, he is dangerous…
Grace is treated as though it is radioactive material moments away from a chain reaction causing irreparable damage.
Attempts to balance out its scandalous nature are made.
We stand off from grace poking and prodding it like an alien life form. We push away the very thing we so desperately need.
Holiness and godly lifestyle are zeroed in on as the antidote to help us keep this nuclear substance in check. The Biblical word for this is Law.
In his book, [amazon_link id=”B00CB5UEX0″ target=”_blank” ]One Way Love: Inexhaustible Grace for an Exhausted World[/amazon_link], Tullian Tchividjian offers these thoughts on grace and Law, citing J. Gresham Machen
Machen says, “a low view of law always produces legalism; a high view of law makes a person a seeker after grace.“
Machen takes our caution towards grace balanced with an embrace of Law and turns it upside down. He says that those who preach a radical grace actually have a high view of Law, rather than a low one as the antinomian label (against law) suggests.
Tullian reflects on this, “A low view of the law concludes we can do it – the bar is low enough for us to jump over. A low view of the Law makes us think that the standards are attainable, the goals are reachable, and the demands are doable. The Law gets softened into “helpful tips for practical living” instead of God’s unwavering demand for absolute perfection.
A cautious grace may reflect our deep down sense that we can do this.
Pastor Tullian says, “We will always maintain a posture of suspicion regarding the radicality of unconditional grace as long as we think we have the capacity to pull it off .”
Are we focusing on achieving the unreachable or receiving the gift God has for us?
A high view of Law shows that we cannot do it. A high view of grace trusts God has done it for us and gifts it to us free of charge.
Scandalous? Radical? Perhaps even dangerous?
We sing it don’t we?
“Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me.”
In those words lie a proper perspective on both grace and our sinfulness. A high view of Law requires a high view of grace to be the solution to the problem the Law exposes.
Don’t water down grace like gas station or office coffee.
Grace does not need warning labels to protect us against lawsuits.
Grace is meant to be embraced, not fixed with child proof safety features.
If at the end of the day we focus on our ability to do the impossible, we are not different than any other religion on the planet.
Grace is what makes Christianity different, it is what makes it true.