After having a revelation, my mind sifts through how I viewed the topic of said revelation previously. In my last post I talked about the danger of chaining grace to forgiveness, and therein making grace a series of events, the epitome of those events being our salvation experience.
While contemplating God's unending grace my mind was able to work out a way to understand unending grace. The way I might have explained it two weeks ago would be to tell you that God always loves us, and grace is the way that God allows us forgiveness every time we screw up. This is the way my mind, understand the emphasis, this is the way my mind understood it. Grace was God's tollerance for my stupidity! I came to Him and said " I have sinned again Lord!". In my mind He sighed and said "don't worry Tyson, I have Grace. You're forgiven... Again".
I used to work with a man who would drive me to my witts end every shift in the first few months we worked together. I tried to excercise grace as I understood it towards this man. He would tick me off and I would walk away with my mantra going " just have grace for him Tyson. Don't lose your temper, the shift is almost over". I would get home proud of myself at having not blown up at him. Grace in my mind was the ability to deal with hard people without losing my temper! Think about it, when you show someone grace what are you doing. Do you clench your jaw a little be, maybe say to yourself "just have grace, just have grace" until you are away from that person and you can relax until your next encounter. This is not grace. It is tolerance. We are practicing tolerance. Tolerance is passive, it doesn't do, it stops you from doing. Tolerance holds you back from striking out, giving that jerk what he deserves. Tolerance is you doing a favor for someone who might be insufferable in your mind. Tolerance lets you stand that person just long enough.
This is not what God offers us! God does not patronize with divine tolerance, watching us sin over and over again. Being honest on how I used to think, my grace would have been described "Gods ability to tolerate our sin until we are finally brought to perfection after death". What a shallow view of God's grace. We sin so much that if we reduce God's grace to devine tolerance than we have to accept that, this side of heaven, there is no room for enjoyment, jubilation, or worship, either on our part or God's!
Examine your heart, if the ongoing grace of God is a safety net for you, if grace is tolerance, you are not understanding the grace of God. The only fruit that the thought of a tolerant God can bring from our faith is the rotten fruit of guilt. God does not tolerate you.
There are two scriptures that stand to me from my salvation experiences. The first John3:16 "For God So loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever beliees in him shall not perish but have eternal life."
The second is Romans 5:8- But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
This is not tolerance. A tolerant God would give us a list of rules that would allow us to to placate him just enough until we die. Once we die, then, He will bring us on to perfection and we can finaly have a full, wonderful, loving relationship with Him, and He with us.
Tullian Tchividian describes grace as God's love that pursues us even though we don't deserve it. A deep, insatiable love is what God has for us, and his grace is the means by which he pursues us haphazardly.
My mind processed grace as tolerance. It brought about guilt, and inadequacy. I even found myself longing for the day when I could go to heaven and be free from earthly desire. It is so exhausting knowing my flesh will never stop wanting what it shouldn't want.
God offers me that freedom now. Through his grace. His relentless, pursuing, loving grace.
My mind reasoned tolerance, my soul craved freedom. When my soul finally realized what grace was I had a sweet taste of freedom. The freedom that comes through Grace alone.
More to come. Please keep joining me for these posts.
Much love, peace, and grace.