Grace Up

So, there’s this forever old debate in the church, especially the American church.

Are we preaching too much grace?

Are we tossing around words like grace and mercy like those guys toss spatulas and eggs at Benihanas?

It’s all fun and games until a customer gets egg on his face or worse a spatula in the eye.  Then where’s your grace?  Oh, don’t worry about mercy – it’s coming your way. . .because it’s tattooed on the customer’s knuckles.

Meanwhile, the debate continues.

Is sharing about the grace of God over and over again giving people a license to sin?

I think it depends on your perspective of grace.

Grace by definition is “God’s unmerited favor”. . . which if you’ve been in the church long enough you can repeat that definition forwards, backwards, on a train, in the rain, when in pain, ain’t it a shame, this is getting lame.  But hardly anybody knows what the heck that really means.

It means, the fight is rigged so that you  win.

You win.

So what’s this debate about then?

This grace stuff sounds alright.

Yeeeeeeaaaaaah, but there’s one catch.  You gotta man up, er, I mean grace up.

You can’t step into the ring, tell the ref you got this bagged, and then go sit in your corner til the final bell.

So what do we do? Keep on sinning so God can keep on forgiving? I should hope not! If we’ve left the country where sin is sovereign, how can we still live in our old house there? Or didn’t you realize we packed up and left there for good? That is what happened in baptism. When we went under the water, we left the old country of sin behind; when we came up out of the water, we entered into the new country of grace—a new life in a new land! . . .

That means you must not give sin a vote in the way you conduct your lives. Don’t give it the time of day. Don’t even run little errands that are connected with that old way of life. Throw yourselves wholeheartedly and full-time—remember, you’ve been raised from the dead!—into God’s way of doing things. Sin can’t tell you how to live. After all, you’re not living under that old tyranny any longer. You’re living in the freedom of God.

Romans 6:1-3 & 12-14 (The Message)

Grace is God’s favor, that we didn’t earn. . . so we can live in freedom.  Sometimes grace is gonna look like God is giving you a freebie (maybe someone bought you groceries this week), sometimes grace is gonna look like God giving you a choice (maybe you have two jobs offers to choose from), sometimes grace is gonna look like discipline and God is training you to be able to handle more (responsibility, money, honor, etc).

But maybe more than anything else, grace is God’s favor, his help and his strength to help us get back up when we do sin.

Sounds churchy  huh?

All this talk about sin.

Dunno about you but the word sin takes me to the place of “don’t do this” and “don’t do that’, and “dear God don’t even think about that one.”

But here’s another definition, sin is “missing the mark”.

What mark?

Relationship with God is the mark.

Sin is anything that causes you to miss that.

Which is a much easier way to look at things than trying to remember what you can and can’t do.

So when it comes to grace – for me it’s the gentle voice of the One I love saying, “I love you and I believe in you.  Don’t let this thing come between us. I want better for you. ”

And I dunno about the rest of the church but I don’t know that there could ever be too much preaching on that.

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