Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Grace and Truth


The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1: 14

I need to grow in and be full of not just Grace, but Truth.

The church has been through a real season of grace and a reawakening to what it means to be truly loved and accepted.

Many have read the book by Phillip Yancy called “What’s so amazing about grace” which contains the very famous line “there is nothing you can do to make God love you more and nothing you can do to make God love you less”

I have read, Max Lucado, Brennana Manning, some of us have also rediscovered the writngs of Dietrich Bonhoffer. Jeff Lucas, Selwyn Hughes and others are all writing books on Grace.

I believe this is very important, for years the church has in some instances been judgemental, self righteous and full of condemnation and I believe all these things rise like a stench to heaven.

Grace has needed to be rediscovered by the church, our religiosity had pushed it to one side.

I heard of a leader who said "I just don’t pray enough for my people", people started to say "that’s okay when you breathe you pray", yet in the end a wise person said "you just need to pull yourself together."
You see we need to be full of Grace and truth

For me Grace could mean "You don’t need to pray, God loves you, anyway he can read your thoughts!" Truth 1 Thessalonians 5: 17 “ Pray without ceasing”

I find a voice saying to me "You don’t need to read your bible God loves you, what you hear on Sunday, or through podcasts is enough." Yet the Truth is: Psalm 1, Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.

Occasionally I think "It’s okay not to be part of a community, God loves me if I just sat in my bedroom for the rest of my life." The truth is Hebrews 10: 25 Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

Does anyone ever wonder about this line : "I’m okay with God, I’m struggling with church or people”

Now when people say that I’m not to sure that God is okay with them, COME ON!!!!! He laid His life down for the church, it’s his body, he’s passionate about it, He is an intensely relational being who created us to live in community as part of a body in a family that brings hope to the world. Get with the program.

I hope you get what I mean.

Grace can keep us from growing up as Christians

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship, "Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross"


So as I am thinking about this, I have been worried about moving in to extreme religiousness.


Then I thought about the cross and the narrow road

Mark 8: 34
“If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?

In the new living translation it says shoulder his cross.

It’s grace that sustains me as I shoulder the cross, but I must be willing to shoulder it.

Am I carrying my cross? Am I walking on a narrow road?

Matthew 7 13 -14
“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

Grace has given me permission to walk on a wide road yet really it was meant for strength to walk on a narrow road.

It is not my job to judge others in this.

But in the light of grace, in the light of forgiveness, in the understanding of Gods vast unconditional love for us, how do we measure ourselves?

I sometimes feel like this: You have been weighed on the scales and found wanting. Daniel 5: 27

Do you ever think it is nice to find someone who you think is worse than you because it makes you feel better?
I do.

We’ll actually here’s the deal I have been called to carry cross and walk on narrow roads, we weren’t called to put crosses on others and make them walk on narrow roads, we were called to extend grace to all men.

We must examine ourselves.

I need to find balance.

We have been called to a full enjoyable abundant life.

I will still enjoy a bottle of wine, a few pints of Guinness or the occasional cigar. But I eventually will find balance. It's a struggle but one I will persist in.

We somehow need to get to the place were we aren’t running around saying I think they drink too much or they do this or they do that.

We have to be in a place were we can challenge each other, but not judge each other.

We have to find the place where we understand Grace but live disciplined.

Some people need to take a chill pill and stop running around worrying about how others live their lives and examine themselves.

Others of us need to come off the chill pills and pull our socks up.

Balance.

Full of Grace and truth, living real authentic Christian lives.

Two challenges.

Some of us need more grace

Some of us need more truth

We all need both

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

really got fed from this post brian .i started to read the link to paul reid s blog and the debate that was going on over the emergent church. i think we all get carried away wanting to live freely and dont really get down to what the bible states.
i was brought up brethern and was really amazed to discover grace as you can imagine.but as i ve matured i realize that importance of balance and truth,listening to the holy spirit and being willing to lay something down if he shows it to be wrong in accordance with his word.
keep the fire burning or keep 'er lit in my new revised version!!

Sheena said...

All I can say is a resounding "Amen". I love that people are stepping up and saying this! When we started our church we were heavy on Grace and discovering it fully for the first time. It took a while to come around to the idea that we choose the 'narrow path' out of our love for Him and for each other, not because the law demands it. Romans 6:1 says it so well: "Should we keep sinning just because Grace keeps being available? Absolutely not!"

Anonymous said...

i think the definition of grace is broader than we often think. grace is when God gives us the power to not sin. when you struggle with something and it's overwhelming and you honestly acknowledge before God that you can't resist and you don't really want to resist but that deep down you want to honour Him more than anything and then the situation changes so that temptation is out of your way, i think that is grace. grace is having the freedom to make good decisions, to make the right decisions and not be slaves to sin which gives us only one option.

Kelly said...

Brian,
Thanks for the honesty and transparency in this post! And, I for one, could certainly use more grace - the freely given, unmerited favor and love of God!
Blessings!

Mel Wiggins said...

*sigh* yes yes and yes. I need it all. This is the balance I struggle with every day and night. You are not the only one asking these questions.

Sometimes we are so hard on ourselves when maybe God is telling us to relax and stop wasting time. And sometimes we are downright lazy and ignorant of the holiness that God wants from his bride, his love.

My goal is to figure out my motives in all of this...Am I such a way because I have a relationship of fear with my God? Or do I force myself to think this way because I feel like this is what is expected to be a 'post modern' christian...ugh. the cycle continues...

balance lord! sincerity!

rick hill said...

been thinking about balance alot recently and sometimes in my striving to relax more i find myself being too comfortable and it all being too easy. i want to walk that narrow, sacrificial road more...but sometimes the comfort is just too comfortable