Friday, February 17, 2012

The Only Way To Count Grace

Grace is a tough topic to sell. We all love it for ourselves, but find it difficult to accept for others. We know we deserve it (Wrong!) and they don't (just as Wrong!). None of us deserve it- or else it wouldn't be grace.

The Internet Monk has been having a Jubilee Week this week, which is another way of saying a week celebrating the craziness of grace. Here's how it started last Saturday:

Peter W. Marty once wrote, “In a memorable Dennis the Menace cartoon, Dennis and his friend Joey are leaving Mrs. Wilson’s house loaded up with a plate full of cookies. Joey turns to Dennis and says, ‘I wonder what we did to deserve this.’ Dennis is quick to reply, ‘Look Joey, Mrs. Wilson gives us cookies not because we’re nice, but because she’s nice.’ So goes the arithmetic of grace.” (The World of Grace)
Dennis’ sentiment captures what I have always loved about the sentence from Deuteronomy 7 cited [below], though I have not meditated on it or internalized nearly enough. If you take out all the intervening clauses in the verse and boil down what God is saying to Israel, what you have is, “I love you…because I love you.” It’s as simple, and profound, as that.
It’s not because we’re nice. He loves us because he loves us. Period. It’s who God is that makes the difference in matters of love, grace, and choice.
And who is he? A remarkably indiscriminate lover! After all, he loves you and me.
People are afraid of talking about grace and forgiveness. If we were to preach too much grace, why, you never know what people will do. They might get the idea that they can go out and sin and then be forgiven. They might think that God is NOT a punishing God and therefore lose their fear and won't be as good.

Well, I don't know how you see it, but I look around and see that all that fear stuff and a punishing, vengeful God has not only not stopped sin and evil, it has given people the belief that THEY are the instruments of that vengeance.

Grace. Thank God for it.
The LORD did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any of the peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples, but because the LORD loved you and kept the oath which He swore to your forefathers, the LORD brought you out by a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.

• Deuteronomy 7:7-8, NASB

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