Creating Caring Communities That Transform Lives
Creating Caring Communities That Transform Lives
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Monday, January 13, 2014 @ 9:42:00 AM - Written by Doug Hignell -
In my lifetime, I've seen two very distinct ways of relating to God: fear-based and grace-based. A fear-based relationship is easier to understand and, sadly, it's what most of us learned at an early age. Gratefully, the Holy Spirit is currently releasing an increased awareness around the world of what it means to live under grace instead of fear, as evidenced by the ground swell of books, blog posts, and preaching on grace.

Despite the ground swell, the grace message often gets a bad rap, especially from those advocating a fear-based approach to God. Their criticism often goes like this: "We can't preach grace and encourage people to live free because they’ll misuse it and consider it a license to sin."

 

Yet, if we've been liberated by grace, why would we want to run back to the old tyrant of sin? It simply doesn't make sense. The objection is not a new one. It has been in place since grace was introduced in the Good News of Jesus. In Romans 6:15-16a from The Message Bible Paul answers the issue this way:

 

"So, since we're out from under the old tyranny, does that mean we can live any old way we want? Since we're free in the freedom of God, can we do anything that comes to mind? Hardly. You know well enough from your own experience that there are some acts of so-called freedom that destroy freedom. Offer yourselves to sin, for instance, and it's your last free act."

 

A story told recently by Tullian Tchividjian, Billy Graham's grandson, illustrates the fact that as we truly experience the relationship and freedom Jesus offers, our desire to sin will lessen compared to trying to please God while living in the "room of good intentions." He writes:

 

"I close my book Surprised by Grace: Gods Relentless Pursuit of Rebels with a story (not sure if this really happened or is simply parabolic) from Civil War days before Americas slaves were freed, about a northerner who went to a slave auction and purchased a young slave girl. As they walked away from the auction, the man turned to the girl and told her, 'You're free.'

With amazement, she responded, 'You mean, I'm free to do whatever I want?'

'Yes,' he said.

'And to say whatever I want to say?'

'Yes, anything.'

'And to be whatever I want to be?'

'Yep.'

'And even go wherever I want to go?'

'Yes,' he answered with a smile. 'You're free to go wherever you'd like.'

She looked at him intently and replied, 'Then I will go with you.'

Many fear that grace-delivered, blood-bought, radical freedom (to do, say, and be whatever we want) will result in loveless license. But as the story illustrates, redeeming unconditional love alone (not law, not fear, not punishment, not guilt, not shame) carries the power to compel heart-felt loyalty to the One who gave us (and continues to give us) what we dont deserve." (see 2 Corinthians 5:14, Amplified)

 

 

I would encourage you write down several significant times that God extended grace to you. Then take a moment to reflect on those times. Have they encouraged more sin in your life, or a greater desire to respond to the God who loves you that much?

 

*thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/tullian/2013/12/27/punkd-by-grace/


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