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?

4 comments:

Gary Kirkham said...

Bino,

I have thought about the same thing and the only answer I can come up with is this. God will reveal the truth about His grace to us when we are ready to receive it. I think that most of us (me included) had to walk through the valley of self effort for a time before we were ready to receive His grace.

I remember my own struggles with surrendering my life fully to God. I would surrender my life to him and then realize that my life wasn't surrendered. In fact it was headed in the opposite direction. I went through this many times until I got to the point where I told God that I didn't know how to surrender my life to Him. It was at that point He brought me to a page in a book that was talking about this very thing. There was a line that said something to the effect that I should surrender my surrender to God. It was like a light bulb lit up in my head.

Surrender my surrender, yeh I can do that. So I did that. I told God that I was not capable of surrendering my life to Him, but I was willing for Him to bring about my surrender. It was only then that He began the process in my heart of turning my life over to Him. It was then that I realized that there was no part of the Christian life that could be lived through my effort.

I think that God had to bring me to that point through trying and failing. Sadly, I think that there are many Christians that live their whole lives in that cycle. But to answer your question, Yes I think that you should keep preaching grace. They may never get it, but it will be a tremendous blessing when that light bulb does go off in someone's head because of something you shared with them...for the hundredth time.

In Christ,
Gary

Bino B. Manjasseril said...

Gary,

Thanks for the comments.

The problem I have is this:
They know they can’t keep the law for what it means (like adultery is looking at a woman with lust). But they don’t agree that.
But you are right, they have to walk through that valley of failure quite a while and even then we can only hope that they open up to the message of Grace.
The world we live is law-saturated. But I believe God can do wonders like He did in my life. I would been given up my Christian walk long ago if I didn't know the message of Grace.

I think I struggle when I am result oriented.
When I think that it’s my teaching what is going to make them understand Grace, I get upset when I don't see that result. But rather, God is asking me to rest and leave the results to God.
May be this is what I need to learn. Yes, we should keep on preaching Grace. Without Grace there is no Gospel. And leave the results to God. I find it hard not to get frustrated when people question God’s grace as though it’s too good to be true. :)
Yes, indeed it's tooo good.

Joel Brueseke - Grace Roots said...

Hi Bino,

I've heard it put this way: the grace message is "more caught than taught." That doesn't rule out teaching by any means, and as you and I have both blogged about in the past, there is an ongoing need for the teaching of grace.

I believe you're very correct when you say we need to keep on teaching and leave the results to God. I'm reminded of my parents. There are so many "grace" things they said and did when I was growing up, but it wasn't until later on that I began to understand the things they had taught me all those years ago. They taught it, and eventually I caught it. :)

Bino B. Manjasseril said...

the grace message is "more caught than taught."

Absolutely! It's like love. Love cannot be taught, it should be caught/understood.