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. ;-)