Amazing Grace: The Missing Ingredient

“It amazes me that you will hear great concern from within the church about too much grace, but rarely will you ever hear great concern from inside the church about too many rules. Indeed, the absurdity of God’s indiscriminate compassion always gets ‘religious’ people up in arms.” – Tullian Tchividjian, One Way Love

Everyone has been there. Someone does something wrong and the first thing a church does is draft a policy to prevent it in the future. I’ve been there, both as a member and as a leader within churches. No one every advocates for less rules. But if a church member dares propose grace as a way of dealing with a problem someone will fight it tooth and nail.

I hope Tullian’s quote resonates with you. Because it resonates with Rogue Believers everywhere who have left church or are barely hanging in, hoping something will change. Churches aren’t really known for grace these days. Legalism, sure. Sermons on moralistic demands, definitely. But grace? Lip service at best. We might talk about it, but practice is rare.

One way love

We serve an all-gracious God who welcomes the prodigal home with a lavish celebration instead of criticism, increased rules, new prohibitions, or condemnation. Why don’t churches look more like Him?

This is a question Tullian Tchividjian explores in “One Way Love,” a book which seeks to understand better God’s grace and apply it to how we should love others. He discusses our exhausted world, always striving to keep up with the Joneses and meet the next requirement, master the next achievement, cross the next finish line.

Christians are no different. In fact, they might even be worse. They add another level of constant achievement to the tiring experience of life: trying to attain and maintain our own salvation. By giving, by serving, by church attendance or reading Scripture or converting others or moral listing… and the list goes on.

In Tullian’s words, “We conclude that it was God’s blood, sweat, and tears that got us in, but that it’s our blood, sweat, and tears that keep us in. We view God as a glorified bookkeeper, tallying our failures and successes on His cosmic ledger.” But our efforts could never keep us in. We constantly need God’s outpouring of grace as we repent and continue to live and fail and get back up again.

“Grace doesn’t make demands. It just gives. And from our vantage point, it always gives to the wrong person… Grace is a divine vulgarity that stands caution on its head. It refuses to play it safe and lay it up. Grace is recklessly generous, uncomfortably promiscuous… Grace is unconditional acceptance given to an undeserving person by an unobligated giver. It is one-way love.”

Millennials I meet who are upset with church often share similar experiences. They, or someone close to them, messed up. They experienced grace from friends, and sometimes from family. Sometimes they received grace from their workplace, sometimes from the local police, sometimes the US justice system. Someone let them off the hook, and it radically changed their life.

scarlet-letter-bri-hermanson

Yet when it came to their church, there was no grace to be had. Their church came down hard on them, constantly reminding them, constantly restricting their service, constantly mistrusting their efforts, constantly mistreating them. The one place you’d expect for grace to abound is often the only place that insists on you wearing your Scarlet Letter for all to see. This is my story as well.

I get it. Grace is hard. It’s letting go of your illusion of control. It’s risky, opening yourself up to being taken advantage of again. And again. It’s saying, “I am owed something, but I forego my right and leave you off the hook. Whatever debt I am owed, I cancel. You are free.”

But grace is also the precise recipe for inspiring us to be more like Christ. For freeing ourselves from bitterness and freeing others from our revenge. For redeeming relationship, between one another and between us and God.

“One Way Love” is an incredible read that will inspire you to be more gracious and less demanding, more forgiving and less legalistic, more like Jesus and less like man – precisely what the Church needs more of. If you’re not convinced the book is worth your time, let me share a couple favorite quotes:

quote-Tullian-Tchividjian-an-identity-based-in-the-one-way-love-251576

“The Gospel only sounds good to a heart that knows it is bad. For people who think they’re good, grace is frustrating. For people who know they’re not, grace is freeing.”

“To know someone is to know them at their least flattering, not their shiniest.”

“The truth is that doing the right thing with the wrong motivation reveals deep unrighteousness, not devout righteousness… If any kind of obedience, regardless of what motivates it, is what God is after, He would have showcased the Pharisees.”

“The ironic thing about legalism is that it not only doesn’t make people work harder, it makes them give up.”

“It is no coincidence that Peter was both the weakest and the one who recognized who Jesus was. He could recognize the Savior because he knew how much he needed one. His faith was directly tied to his failure.”

sinners quote

4 thoughts on “Amazing Grace: The Missing Ingredient

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  1. Good stuff Jared. God’s grace is always applies to the situation, we just believe a lie sometimes that it doesn’t apply to ours in particular, or someone “less deserving” than us.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I really liked reading this. As a millennial myself, I have seen this over and over. Thank the Lord, He has pressed it onto my heart to also forgive those people and be a part of the change. Thank you for sharing all of this.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Romans 6 : 1 – 2 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in Sin that Grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we that are dead to Sin live any longer therein?

    We do not continue to Sin…..

    1 John 3:9 No one who is Born of God will continue to Sin, because God’s seed remains in him he cannot go on Sinning, because he has been Born of God.(KJV)

    1 John 5:18-20 We know that no one who is Born of God Sins but He who was Born of God keeps him and the evil one does not touch him.(KJV)

    1John 3 – No one who lives in Him keeps on Sinning. No one who continues to Sin has either seen Him or known Him. Dear Children, do not let anyone lead you astray. He who does what is Right is Righteous just as He is Righteous.(KJV)

    John 8:34-36 Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth everyone who Sins is a slave to Sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free you will be free indeed.(KJV)

    Romans 6:6- 7 For we know that our old self was crucified with Him so that the body of Sin might be done away with that we should no longer be slaves to Sin because anyone who has died has been freed from Sin. (KJV)

    Romans 6:22-23 But now being made free from Sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto Holiness, and the end everlasting life. For the wages of Sin is death but the gift of God is Eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.(KJV)

    Romans 6:11 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto Sin but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.(KJV)

    Romans 6 : 1 -2 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in Sin that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we that are dead to Sin live any longer therein?(KJV)

    1 John 2:28-29 And now little Children abide in Him that when He shall appear we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming. If ye know that He is Righteous ye know that every one that doeth Righteousness is Born of Him.(KJV)

    Romans 6:18-20 Being then made free from Sin ye became the Servants of Righteousness.(KJV)

    We put our Carnal flesh to death by the Spirit…..

    Romans 8 :12-15 Therefore brothers we have an obligation but it is not to the Sinful Nature to live according to it or if you live according to the Sinful Nature you will die but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body you will live because those who are led by the Spirit of God are Sons of God.(KJV)

    Colossians 3:4-6 When Christ, who is your life appears then you also will appear with Him in glory. Put to death therefore whatever belongs to your earthly nature; sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these the wrath of God is coming.(KJV)

    Galatians 5:24 -26 And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts if we live in the Spirit let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not be desirous of vain glory provoking one another, envying one another..(KJV)

    2 Corinthians 7: 1 Having therefore these promises dearly beloved let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit Perfecting Holiness in the fear of God. .(KJV)

    Romans 8:1-4 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit. .(KJV)

    Daniel 12:10 Many shall be purified and made white and tried but the wicked shall do wickedly and none of the wicked shall understand but the wise shall understand.(KJV)

    We are to Aim to be Perfected in Love…..

    Matthew 5:48 Be ye therefore Perfect even as your Father which is in Heaven is Perfect.(KJV)

    Hebrews 6:1 Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto Perfection not laying again the foundation of Repentance from dead works and of Faith toward God .(KJV)

    Philippians 3:14-16 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore as many as be Perfect be thus minded and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded God shall reveal even this unto you. Nevertheless where to we have already attained let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing..(KJV)

    2Timothy 3:17 That the man of God may be Perfect throughly furnished unto all good works .(KJV)

    1 John 4:16-19 And we have known and believed the Love that God hath to us. God is Love and he that dwelleth in Love dwelleth in God and God in him. Herein is our Love made Perfect that we may have boldness in the day of judgment because as He is so are we in this world. There is no fear in Love but Perfect Love casteth out fear because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made Perfect in Love. We Love Him because He first Loved us..(KJV)

    1 John 2:4-6 He that saith, I know Him, and keepeth not His Commandments is a liar and the Truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth His word in him verily is the Love of God Perfected hereby know we that we are in Him. He that saith hebideth in Him ought himself also so to walk even as He walked..(KJV)

    2Corinthians 13:11 Finally, brethren, farewell. Be Perfect, be of good comfort be of one Mind, live in Peace and the God of Love and Peace shall be with you.(KJV)

    Christian Love and Blessings – Anne.

    Liked by 1 person

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