Monday, September 17, 2007

Growing in grace

There was new revelation this morning while replying to one of Gary’s post.

Ever since I started the grace walk, I knew that I couldn’t improve anything in my Christian walk but I always thought God does it for me.
It looks like God is not going to do it! Because He already did it!

You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you. (John 15:3, NLT). I have always thought pruning is a 'process'.

Now when I read Romans 12:2, it has a different meaning.

“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.” (NLT)

In other words, see things from God’s perspective. Let God change the way we think. Isn’t that growing in grace means?

Thoughts welcome.

Friday, September 14, 2007

One at a time.

This is something I have been thinking about for few weeks now. Jesus did not come to change the world. He came to change individual lives - one at a time.
When Jesus dealt with Pharisees it was a group of people and He pointed them their futile self-righteousness.
When it comes to dealing with sinners (who agree that they are sinners), he dealt in a personal way – one at a time, regardless of their behavior, sins, morality, good works, acceptance in society, what others say/think about them.

Jesus spent probably hours with the Samaritan woman at the well and revealed one of the profound truths of the History – Worshiping God in truth and Spirit.
Regardless of how even the disciples saw that incident; Jesus did it in a personal way – one at a time.

Jesus’s encounter with Zacheus was personal – One at a time. He called him down from the tree and even supped with him.

He said I don’t condemn you to the woman caught in adultery – One at a time

Thief on the cross – He was judged to be hanged, the cruelest form of killing a sinner. He didn’t have much good works, He didn’t have much character. He didn’t have much commitment to God. He wasn’t baptized. He never tithed. He never attended church. He never partook in Lord’s Supper. But he believed and simply acknowledged - Remember me when you come into your Kingdom.
That saved him – one at a time. This was almost an impossibility at that time and even now. God’s grace is an impossibility from human standpoint anyways.

Jesus dealt with Martha during the time of Lazarus’s resurrection and revealed another great truth – I am the resurrection and the life.

It is sad that Christians going away from God’s agenda – Saving people one at a time. Today’s evangelicals want to become vote bank and change the world. They want to bring peace to the world.
They line up at the white house, want to influence governments and their voice be heard. When Jesus started his ministry He went to the sea shore to pick some stinking fisher men. He could have gone to the Roman authority and show them signs that He is the Messiah (King) and become a political power. Christianity became an enterprise but Christ is still the same. He is still in the business of saving individuals – One at a time.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Teaching Grace

This is a question which is kind of nagging me for past couple of days.

Can we really ‘teach’ Grace?

Few days ago I got an opportunity to share the message of Grace to two already saved people (at least they claim to be) but followers of some ritualistic religion.

When I told them that God forgave ALL of our sins and now He is not dealing with us on the basis of sins. It kind of offended one person. He interrupted and called it blasphemy.
For a moment I thought may be they are too early for the knowledge of Grace.

Then I asked them couple of questions such as:

Was it a result of earnest confession that Jesus said – ‘Father forgive them for they don’t know what they are doing’?

How many sins the thief on the cross confessed and asked forgiveness when Jesus said you will be with me in Paradise?

How many sins the adulterous woman asked forgiveness when Jesus said I don’t condemn you?

They said they agree all those but still think that it is our ‘pride’ that keeps us away from asking forgiveness for the day to day sins.

Oh, ok…

Overall it wasn’t that a pleasant conversation.

After all these my wife pointed out one thing to me which triggered some thoughts in me.

This is what she said in a nutshell - We can successfully teach law. But the understanding of Grace cannot be really “taught”.
The example she said was parent-children relationship. We can easily teach our kids the rules and its obedience.
But when it comes to the understanding of our love, they HAVE TO EXPERIENCE it. It can’t be just theory. It has to be practical.

Does this mean that we shouldn’t teach Grace at all?

I am not sure.

But one thing I know - it has to be experienced. We have to get hold of the meaning of the statement – “While we were yet sinners, God loved us through Christ”.

Any thoughts?