Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Taking What I'm Given, Jesus Worked for My Living

We are saved by grace through faith. Famous words virtually every Christian knows. On one hand there are those who take those words to mean God's OK, we're OK, therefore anything's OK. On the other hand there are those who take those words as a challenge to produce an effective faith, therefore serious effort is made. I think perhaps we're not seeing the grace-faith connector clearly.

Grace is about God. It's about who he is, what's in his heart, and what he's provided for that which he's created. Grace is the joyful kindness of God. Out of the abundance (should I say the perfection) of that quality and the immutability of his character, God has made promises-- of provision, of opportunity, of response, of aid and comfort, of transformation. In a nutshell, grace is that in which, an un-lying, unchanging, omnipotent, timeless God, has already (timelessly) finished doing all that could be done for us.

Faith is about us. It's about our response to God, to his existence, to the likely nature of his being, to his word which confronts us not just with sound but Spirit too. Faith is the soul's reaction to God. Out of even a minuscule quantity of such in the soul, our existence and experience can be can be miraculously transformed. In a nutshell, faith is that which acquiesces to the mighty God, and compass-like, aligns with his direction.

When we understand the connection between grace and faith, our living relationship with God is transformed. For instance, the faithful do not give to curry God's favor, they give because they already have God's favor and always will. They do not pray hoping for an answer, they pray because they have one already. They do not do good works to earn the blessing of God, they do good works because God's blessing has already prepared them.

The old Hughie Lewis song decries the frustration of living piecemeal for piece rate. Much the same angst fills the hearts of too many in the church, their vision of God more akin to a parsimonious task master than the liberal Master of grace he is. What do they need? Faith, faith in the God of grace. They're already saved by grace, maybe it's time they started singing by faith, Taking What I'm Given, Jesus Worked for My Living. ;-)

6 comments:

  1. Amen!

    Faith (trust) in what He has already done for us. Trust in what He is doing for us. And trust in what He will yet do for us.

    St. Paul tells us that faith is a gift of God (by His grace).

    It blows like the wind and goes where God wills.

    I pray that I never lose it.

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  2. From Ian Wallis - "The faith of believers can never be dissociated from the faith of Christ. It is his faith which makes the faith of others possible and enable them to participate in its inheritance."

    Faith isn't just about us. It is all about the Father's Plan of Redemption and Jesus' faithfulness to that Plan.

    (just my two cents)

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  3. Steve,
    Thanks for stopping by as always.

    Faith sees God's response as a foregone conclusion, and has confidence in him.

    May neither of us ever lose it.

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  4. Kutztown,

    I liked your post, but thought I'd add a comment to "Faith is about us. It's our response to God, etc."

    Paul speaks not only of "faith in Jesus Christ," but also of the "faith of Jesus Christ." Faith involves the whole order of the Father's fulfilling of his promise to Jesus through Abraham and Jesus' faithfulness as the Righteous One who takes on the curse in order to break the power of law, sin, and Satan. We, as believers, participate in his faith as he is the representative archegos of God's ekklesia.

    There is no faith divorced from Jesus Christ.

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  5. Peter,
    Thanks for the response.

    Quick question: did you mean to type "Faith involves the whole order of the Father's fulfilling of his promise to Abraham through Jesus rather than, "Faith involves the whole order of the Father's fulfilling of his promise to Jesus through Abraham?" I thought you probably did, but I didn't want to assume.

    I actually like your perspective. It's broader than I had in mind for this post (I was focusing on a matter of practics from the narrow perspective of our daily living), but it possesses its own practical encouragement. Our faith experience was modeled by Christ, the trailblazer extraordinaire, and ours fits within his like a hand in a glove. Jesus certainly walked in absolute confidence in his Father, which allowed him to give without thought, pray with certainty, and do all the Father planned for him. As he walked so can we, because his experience pours out into ours through the Spirit he's given us.

    It still seems to me, however, that at some point, as faith in Christ is initiating, it has to rest fairly squarely on us, although not independent from the conviction of the Holy Spirit. Once we're born again, then I see the clearly the beauty of what your comments point to.

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  6. To my regular readers,
    It took some doing, but I've discovered that the language in question was Japanese and after some difficulty, obtained translations for the comments. They were apparently instructions for lewd and lascivious behavior! So they have been zapped, and now I know for future reference.

    Hopefully, no one has been offended by this irritating prank/hack/spam attack. Who would have thunk it? I am sorry.

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