- Like when I begin a story in a class or sermon and I realize that I have the details confused with another story. (Not good!)
- Like when I am in a "discussion" with Charlotte and realize that she is right after all. (Now what? Oh–admit it you say)
- Like when I realized that I have misunderstood the girls intentions after I have already fussed at one of them.
There are times when I realize just how desperate I am for God’s grace. I especially feel this way as I become more and more aware of my sin. The church collectively is a group of people who have all experienced, at some level, the grace of God.
So what does that imply?
- Grace is freeing. I don’t have to pretend that I am strong, near perfect, have it all together etc. I don’t have to pretend that I’ve "got it right".
- Grace is humbling. To speak of God’s grace is to be aware of my unworthiness, my inadequacy, and my sinfulness. ("But people might look down on me?" Of course they will!).
- Grace transforms the center. Real change occurs not outside/in but inside/out. Obedience, service, ministry to others doesn’t happen because I feel obligated. Rather, Christ is expressing himself through me in ways that are visible to others. (From putting up folding chairs at church to encouraging a discouraged friend).
- Grace transforms my disposition. Something is wrong when a person claims to value the grace of God and yet, is mean, hard to get along with, and often obnoxious. God’s grace does not create critical people who are hard on one another.
As a church, we need to wrestle with these issues. What does it say about us when we are not a people who confess sin to one another? What does it say when spend so much energy trying trying to control and orchestrate people because we have so little confidence in one another? What does it say when many of us (all across the theological spectrum) in our churches still get prideful about "who’s got it right"? (True of some very conservative people in churches. True of some very progressive people in churches). What does it say when a view of grace seems to be permission to do less ministry, come to church less, and live very close to immorality?
If you haven’t already, you might want to read Phillip Yancey’s book What’s So Amazing About Grace?. I read this book when it was first published several years ago. I wish that all Christians would read this work. This is the best book about grace that I have ever read. Read the story about the prostitute on the opening page.