Monday, September 21, 2015

Amazing grace

It's been noted that grace isn't a thing but a person, Jesus. How do you find grace? Do you have to seek it? Ask for it? Achieve or deserve? Do I want it enough - do I want Jesus enough to come to him? Agh!!

In Hosea 2 God says "I will allure her..." to win his people for himself. Who? Those who are pursuing other lovers for their souls. As we run hard away from him, so he pursues us in Christ. When I don't want him, he's for me.

Or, famously, take the younger son in Jesus' parable. Returning to his father (Jesus) the son asks to be a servant. As he puts on his religious best and offers to knuckle down with more effort this time, he is received as a son, once dead and lost, now alive. When I think I have something to offer, he welcomes me into his family.

Or, in Romans 10, those who try to be righteous themselves miss God, but those who don't seek, who don't ask, those he finds, those he reveals himself to. While others to whom he holds open his arms stumble over Christ.

Or, the older brother in the above parable. His father (Jesus) goes out to find him but is met with religious objections about what he deserves to be paid by comparison to his undeserving brother. While I'm busy performing and grumbling, he's seeking me.

Equally, Jesus says - those who ask receive the Spirit (Luke 11), those who call on the name of the Lord will be saved (Romans 10). And He asks (Genesis 3): where are you? to rebels, to ruins...

To ask and to call is to do what Ole Hallesby observed: our best prayer is our helplessness.

I'm poor, he has riches.
I'm dead, he has life
I'm running away, he seeks me.
I'm not looking for him, he steps into my path.

"Am I worthy?" enough is a peculiar question in Christianity. I am not. But I'm not asked to be.

I need to be rescued from my rebellious irreligion and my rebellious religion. I'm in a hole that I jumped into and now can't get out of and don't want to get out of - but he takes hold of me and nothing is sweeter.

Only Christ, the Spirit-anointed self-giving Son of the self-giving Father would and could do what he does for me. Amazing Jesus how sweet the sound. Jesus is not earned or deserved, he is the gift of God.

The Christian faith says this is for you because of Jesus. He does all. He does everything. He is everything. A Christian relationship with God is objective before it is subjective - I totally think there is experience to be had, but that's secondary to the cast iron reality of Christ standing on my behalf on the basis of what he has done for me. It's mine by faith - as I lean on him, but only because he carried all for me.

Image: Mustafa Khayat - Creative Commons

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