As long as we are looking at grace, shall we take a blog “day” and examine some of the particulars?
For instance, where did grace come from? The Bible says.
And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace. For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. John 1:16-17 (NKJV)
…. being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, Romans 3:24 (NKJV)
Christ is the one who justified us all. He is the giver of all grace.
If you intend to counsel, or disciple, you must be sure the person you meet with understands or you must teach them that grace comes through Jesus Christ. This immediately clues them in to the fact that there is a relationship that is necessary with Him. It helps the unsaved person see that without Christ there is no grace available to him and that without it he is as hopeless and as lost as he may feel.
Because grace originates with Christ, it flows freely to the saved individual through the Holy Spirit. This helps her to see that because grace does not originate with us, but with Him and has been freely given to us by Him, she has no right to withhold it from others. This is a most difficult truth to impart to the angry and vengeful counselee.
I have seen some people come in to my office looking for a way to hurt someone who has hurt them. The last thing on their minds is giving grace. I must be prepared to show the counselee why they have to be gracious if they want to bring God glory.
The very nature of grace (God’s unmerited gift) flies in the face of any theology that says God saved me because I am worthy. In preparation for my mom’s funeral service this past week I was working on music selections for the DVD we planned to show. I was going through a list of hymns that I thought would be suitable, and I mentioned Amazing Grace as a possibility to someone who was sitting in the room with me. I was shocked speechless as she said, “I hate that song!” I thought to myself, how can anyone hate the song Amazing Grace?! A little later I asked her about it and her reason for hating the song has everything to do with her refusal to consider herself a “wretch.” Her personal theology is all about how good of a person she is and about the bargain God gets when He gets her!
With that kind of an attitude, what need is there for grace at all? If I am not a wretch, then why did Christ die? If I am not a wretch, then why such an agonizing death? It is the arrogant fool who says in his or her own heart they have no need of grace!