Monday, May 07, 2007

ungrace

I am rereading (again) Philip Yancey's What's So Amazing About Grace? I think I'm entering a little more into the depth that is there.

I am trying to make better sense of the absolutely unconditional love of God's amazing grace and the importance of not sinning once one has received this grace through faith in Christ. Yesterday at the nursing home along with communion, we looked at living out the truth of our baptism from Romans 6. There Paul makes no bones out of the fact that grace is not to lead to further sin so that one experiences more and more of God's grace. Indeed it is to lead us in quite the opposite direction. My point here is to wonder if my own striving to be righteous can get in the way of God's needed grace, if from that I can get a case of ungrace. It can, but not necessarily, I think, depending on where my confidence really lies; is it in myself, or in the Lord and within the fellowship of his people?

I can pick up cases of "ungrace" in my heart, as well as thinking I see it in the words and actions of others. It is something we all battle with, since the grace of God in Christ is not a natural disposition of fallen sinners (though in Christ we are being renewed). We tend towards an ungrace that can easily look down on others while failing to see ourselves as we are.

Grace want to take everyone in, even the self-righteous ones (though self-righteousness stands in direct opposition to grace and its reception). We know that Christ alone makes the difference; it is not in ourselves or anyone else. Ungrace measures others and excludes those who do not measure up. But those who are doing that to others often stand out themselves because their attitude is all too evident, it seems.

We must hang in there through whatever we're experiencing or struggling with, in confidence that God's grace in Christ can and will prevail in our lives or in the situation we're concerned about. This is an important part of avoiding ungrace: refusing to be moved by the difficulties and trials of life because one is looking for God's ongoing work of grace in Christ.

May God help us to avoid ungrace by seeking to live in the grace in Christ that he provides for us, that we would do that together with others in Jesus that we might bring his grace to the world.

What thoughts would you add here?

2 comments:

julie said...

I've been grappling with this in a Bible Study blog I am a part of. We're working our way through Romans - currently in chapter 5.

It's http://www.doitagain.org/blog/

Ted Gossard said...

Julie, A nice study over there. What a great book to work through! Grace to Paul was what it was all about. As Yancey says, he was forever taken in by GRACE, God's grace in Christ, after his Damascus Road experience.

Thanks for sharing that.