Thursday, September 25, 2008

Does Grace Come Through Anything We Do?

Now, since I framed my question in such a way to make answering the question easy (I think), I'll put a few twists in to show you why I asked it. In case you're feeling a little slow today, the answer is "NO, grace does not come through anything we do".

Sometimes I'll be innocently, ok, not innocently, reading through a blog and something small will jump out at me and I have to respond. In this case, I was reading a post about having family worship, certainly an idea I'm not opposed to at all. But this little sentence came out:

"I've enjoyed seeing the grace that God has poured out on my own family through doing this and I know He desires to pour that same grace on other families."

{incidently, can anyone tell me if I need to source this quote? I didn't want to draw negative attention to that blog if it wasn't necessary...}

Right away, I knew it was wrong. Of course, I've heard lots of teaching on 'means of grace' or similar ideas. The general idea is that through reading the Bible, through prayer, through fellowship, through church, through meditation, through fasting, or through any other conceivable discipline or action on our part, God gives us grace. One small problem: this concept doesn't exist in the New Covenant (hint: the new covenant is the better covenant).

This kind of 'grace', the kind that God pours out in response to something we do, is not unmerited, and therefore, is not grace at all. It is wages, it is something we earn at least in part. It is similar to the Old Covenant formula of 'obey = blessing'.

Don't believe me? Check out Bible Gateway and see what a search on "grace through" brings up.

And from his fullness we have all received,grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ."
John 1:16-17

Grace comes only ever through Jesus and his work.

But didn't we already know that?


Alan Hiu said...

You have found that Person called Grace. Grace is a Person not a doctrine...

You'll know that a Person is different from a doctrine. When you've found that Person, you found the peace you long to have...

Much Grace and peace to you.

RJW said...

Careful, girl, you are preaching "radical" Grace.

If what we do doesn't "earn" unmerited favor, then is the inverse true? Is Grace lost by missing the mark?

What does "sin" have to do with our standing with God after belief? And I'm not talking about the sin of unbelief.
Sure, we will have earthly consequences, not shame and condemnation, but just natural consequences to our actions, but what does God think about it?

So, pick your pet sin...if a person believes and their behavior doesn't immediately change, mustn't we believe that the same Grace that is available for us is available for them? (And I do believe that our new nature will cause change if a person is taught their identity in Christ. But THAT is not why Christ died, He died to reconcile mankind and give them Life.)
So...abortionists, homosexuals, pediphiles, the really ugly, "incorrect" sins in our society, does God see that any different than when I live independent of His nature in me? (Or does God only SEE Christ as My righteousness because I am in Him?)
Because if we think He does, we are still looking at performance.
And until we understand that, we won't have Grace to give to the world.
It is not about what we do, but what He did on the cross.
Thank you; I feel better now. :)

lydia joy said...

She's on a out!!

jul said...

I know, the floodgates have been opened! Or as Rob calls it, the volcano in a teacup!

07000intune said...

I think my answer to this is going to be similar to your q. on the Bonhoeffer post so to save time , I'll write on my blog and it'll look like I've had more comments!

Joel B. said...

Right on! Along with what Paul the Apostle said, we are what we are by the grace of God. We don't do things to get God's grace; He has given it to us in Himself - as Alan said, in the Person of Jesus - and our "doing" flows as His life/grace works itself out in and through us.

silent wings said...

I hope you share some of this stuff "live" and in person this weekend! I really needed to hear this.