Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Vast Sea of Grace - Part 2

I very much recognize that "The Vast Sea of Grace - Part 1" didn't have a whole lot of grace in it! That was intentional. I think that in order for anyone to truly appreciate and appropriate grace, they must first truly understand what they look like apart from it. And even though I meant to go deep in regards to how far man really falls short of the glory of God, in and of himself, I really only scratched the surface.

Just think about the life of the rich young ruler. All his life, he had tried to keep the commandments of God and I think it would be an understatement to say that he seemed pretty pleased with his own performance. I can imagine him approaching his fellow Jew - this "good teacher," Jesus - with the attitude in his heart of, "Look at how well I've kept the commandments. Isn't that impressive?" He must have lived a life in which he was very happy about his performance before God and in which he thought God was pretty happy with him. I can imagine him yearning to get to talk to this man Jesus, so he could lay out his credentials and walk away feeling happy, having justified himself.

But to the contrary, after Jesus had a very short talk with him, "he became very sad..."

What's up with Jesus here? Didn't he come to embrace everybody and make them feel comfortable and to feel good about themselves? Doesn't God want us to do good? Why didn't Jesus congratulate this man for his stellar performance!? Why did he let this man go away sad?

Well, lest we start chalking up our good deeds like the rich young ruler, and presenting them before God as if to justify ourselves by what we do, let's remember that the only way to truly do that is to "be perfect, as your Father in heaven is perfect" (Matt 5:48). That's another statement that should make us feel happy about ourselves, right? :)

I know, I know... there's still no grace here in what's supposed to be talk of the "Vast Sea of Grace!" I'm getting to it. I thought two parts would cover this, but maybe three will be needed. Again, grace really means nothing to a person who doesn't think they need it, and I guess I wanted to establish that a little more. I believe that Jesus said a lot of what He said to people, not with the thinking that if He would tell them what to do, then the light bulb would turn on in their heads and they would go start doing it... but rather I think He really turned up the heat and applied more and more pressure so that the light bulb would turn on in their heads and they would finally understand just how far short of "doing it" they really are, and realize their need for full dependence upon grace.

Entire "Vast Sea of Grace" Series:
Prelude: Just follow the Word, right?
The Vast Sea of Grace: Part 1 -- >Part 2< -- Part 3 -- Part 4
Summaries: So close but yet so far -- Far Cry -- Be a Man

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