reload The Race by Maurice McCracken

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Grace becomes a work

posted by Little Mo | Permalink |
I am very into and have been much helped by the idea that our issues with sanctification stem from believing (or not believing) things about the Gospel. Much thanks go to Jerry Bridges who has been writing about this stuff for years, and also to Keller, Chester and others whose names end in er. So the issue is not "how to stop sinning" but "how to start believing and accepting the Gospel in a particular area of my life."

However, I see a problem developing in me, and in some of the people I work with. Not a problem with the theology, but a problem with its application. The issue is that this "apply the Gospel to your sin" can in itself become a work. Am I good at applying the Gospel to my pride? Have I been successful at applying the Gospel to my self esteem? Have I done well at applying grace to my temper?

For me, this theological stuff which truly is excellent can so easily make the Gospel of amazing grace into yet another technique to improve myself and either feed my self righteousness, or beat myself up for my unrighteousness. I was struck recently when I was with a friend discussing something I was struggling with. I nearly found myself saying "I don't want you to know how rubbish I am at trusting the Gospel!" (Yes Maurice, that would be the Gospel message that says that you are, y'know, rubbish.)

But the Gospel is not a self improvement technique. It is just good news that God loves me, and that the amazing generous and kind Jesus is my Lord, and that there is a new creation coming, and that God's Spirit dwells in me, and that Jesus intercedes for me in my weakness. Those things are TRUE, and to be rejoiced in, not simply USED to move on in holiness.

Heaven help us all when believing in grace becomes a measurable work.


Blogger gethin said...

I think it sort of sums up two of the main things I've been learning so far:
a) I'm a natural legalist
b) the heart is deceitful above all things - and in a really sneaky, subtle way!

thanks for the helpful warning.

1:05 AM  

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