Friday, February 24, 2006

Amazing Grace

So yesterday I had the pleasure of leading a Bible Study for ISCF at the Miller High school. Their topic was what does a Godly person looks like. So as I studied and thought I came to the conclusion that a Godly person's life must be soaked in GRACE!!! We as Christians need to first, ACCEPT the fact that there is nothing we can do! We must accept that God's love forgiveness and grace are just how it is. So accept it! God loves you and wants you to come to Him, not matter what else is going on in your life. You are covered in the blood of Jesus, and God views you as a saint! Now this doesn't mean we can abuse the grace of God. I like to think of it like Cindy Klassen (the Olympic Skater) After she won her first Gold, did she sit back and say, "Yeah, now I'm a gold medalist!" and then slack off for the rest of her races? NO! She said, now I'm a gold medalist and now I need to perform like won. In the same way, because God views us as saints we don't wallow in the grace of God, we don't abuse it... instead we push on to live like it!
The second thing that needs to mark us as Godly people is the ability to pass the grace God has shown us on to other people! Too often we as Christians are reluctant (or unable) to show other people (specifically people we don't like) the love, forgiveness, and grace that we have received from God. Yancey tells the story of a prostitute who came looking for help. When it was suggested to her that she should go to the church to get help, her response was, "Why would I go to the church, I already feel horrible!" We as people who are striving to be more like Christ need to reach out the hand of Grace. When Jesus met the woman caught in adultery did he condemn her? Nope! Did he say ANYTHING about her mistakes, her failures, her promiscuity? Nope!! He just said, "Woman where are your accusers? Did none of them condemn you? Then neither do I!" And then He says, "Now go and sin no more!" I think that we have this great fear as Christians that if we aren't telling people that they are wrong, or that they are living in sin, that then we are accepting what they are doing. But what we really are doing is driving people away from the Grace of God that says, "Come as you are, get to know me and THEN go and sin no more!" I believe that Matthew 18 has a strong warning for those of us who decide not to pass on the Grace of God to others.

Anyway that's all for now. I leave you this line to ponder for the rest of the day. I mean really think about what this means, "Amazing Grace how sweet the sound that saved a WRETCH like me."

9 comments:

betty said...

hey nate...
ok...so as much as I (betty, religious betty) would like to say we 'can't abuse the grace of God' i honestly think that the whole point of grace (don't get me wrong) is that we can....God didn't give it out just for those that wouldn't abuse it, He did give it and is giving it out, as we speak, to the abusers...we shouldn't...but that is very much our nature...so I'm loving that you write about such things nathan...because I'm learning from you...and I just wanted to add to your wisdom.
much love bud

Nathan said...

Hey Betty, of course we will always end up abusing the grace of God... if we didn't then we would be dead... and with God in heaven. The type of abuse that I am talking about is the willful disobedient abuse of the grace of God. I think that for us who have accepted the gift of God and are now called His children, there is a level of expectation that goes with that. For example, we can't say, "hey I'm going to move in with my girlfriend, have sex with her, and live my life the way I want to, because I am under the grace of God. and He loves me." Just think of Paul's words to the Romans who thought they would continue to live their lives, and allow God's grace to increase. He has some pretty harsh words for those people. So to sum up. Yes God does give out grace to His children, even when they are abusing it. But I also believe that there is PLENTY in scripture that warns against assuming He will give it out. If we are knowingly going against what God has commanded... Well I'll leave that for the Judge.

matt said...
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matt said...

Righto Nate. And I think that we as Christians focused too much on the grace of God, and that is what leads us to abuse the gift of His grace. We must also remember that God is the Righteous Judge, who cannot tolerate evil. Yes, He atoned our sins on the Cross, but He expects us to accept His atonement with the fear He deserves.

Nathan said...

Whoa whoa WHOA!!!! I totally disagree Matt! I think that if anything we as "Christians" have focused WAY too much on the Judging, wrathful God. Two words, Christian Fundamentalism. No, we have focused far too much on telling people what this judging wrathful God thinks when it isn't even up to us to do the judging. We are to be the hands, and feet to the grace of God! I believe that if anything we need to focus more on the Grace of God, in our own lives AND ESPECIALLY in the lives of other people.

matt said...

Okay,
Well, I agree that people should not take the place of God in judging. Obviously not, who are we to do that? But I hold to the fact that God needs to be recognized as a judge. I don't mean the practice of fundamentalism. I wasn't even considering that. By NO means!!! I can't stand that way of doing theology. Let me clarify: I think that the church needs to realize God's other side, his judgmental side. He is not a passive God. If people take advantage of His grace they debauch His position of Sovereign Lord. Christians need to truly respect God's position as YAHWEH! The church that I'm familiar with doesn't really deal with that. I think a true understanding of theology is what is needed and can steer away from taking advantage of divine grace. Here's the beautiful part: God's existence is powerful. He's sovereign. He demands faithfulness. But, our humanness has been corrupted by sin and we needed atonement. The Old Testament provided temporal atonement with sacrifice. Christ's death was the ultimate atonement, His resurrection is the ultimate HOPE of victory over sin. Yes, we need to DEFINITELY focus on the GRACE of God, HALLELUIA! That's our Christian duty. But we also need to make sure we understand the final judgment of God on the last day. That HE is ultimately in control. He's got the plum line. If Christians are taking advantage of God's grace I don't think it too radical to say that we are throwing the blood-soaked Cross back at Christ's face.
How else are we to be stewards of the faith, disciples of Christ if we abuse the Grace He has bestowed on us.

matt said...

Don't get me wrong Nate! I hope I haven't given you the wrong idea of my idea of God. Yes, we need to live by Grace and show that grace to the people we are surrounded with. Focussing on Grace is our life responsibility. It's the reason we are Christ followers. Ling in respect of God's grace, noting the fact that God has overlooked his judgement on the human race in grace and atoned for our sins is the true fear of a Christian. Let me reitterate: we need to know God's judgment, but we need to stress His grace even more. My previous presupposition on the evangelical church is that there isn't a clear balance of that. But to abuse His grace is not living to the criteria Christ set in place for us.

Nathan said...

I would also like to add that I believe that there is a difference between Christians and non-Christians. When we are dealing with our brothers and sisters in Christ we are obligated to walk with them and help them in their walk. But when dealing with people who haven't accepted Christ yet we are OBLIGATED to pass on the message of grace, not judgment and condemnation. This is the example that we see in Jesus. With the Pharisees... look out! but with the woman caught in adultery his message is one of grace. I like what Donald Miller said to the guys at Relevant, "The gospel of Jesus is that people are in a broken relationship with God... a broken relationship with God means broken people." We cannot condemn broken people, because they don't know better. First we need to teach grace and forgiveness. Oh! And one last time, we are the hands and feet of God’s grace, if we (as Christians) can’t pass it on to others… well then don’t expect it from God (Matt 18).

matt said...

Sounds about right! That's exactly what I mean.