Sunday, January 20, 2013

Allow Jesus to arrive on the scene

However much we may pay tribute to grace with our lips, our hearts are so thoroughly marinated in law that the Christian life must be, at core, one of continually bathing our hearts and minds in gospel grace. We are addicted to law. Conforming our lives to a moral framework, playing by the rules, meeting a minimum standard – this feels normal. And it is how we naturally seek to cure that deep sense of inadequacy within...

...Law feels safe; grace feels risky. Rule-keeping breeds a sense of manageability; grace feels like moral vertigo… The Jesus of the Gospels defies our domesticated, play-by-the-rules morality. It was the most extravagant sinners of Jesus’ day who received his most compassionate welcome; it was the most scrupulously law-abiding people who were the objects of his most searing denunciation. The point is not that we should therefore take up sin. It is that we should lay down the silly insistence on leveraging our sense of self-worth with an ongoing moral record. Better a life of sin with penitence than a life of obedience without it...

...The Jesus of the Gospels defies our safe, law-saturated, reward-conscious existence. He is many things. But predictable is not on the list. ... No sooner have we convinced ourselves that God is real and the Bible meaningful than Jesus arrives on the scene and turns all our intuitive expectations on their heads. The deeper into grace we go, the deeper will be our wonder. But though Jesus’ intuition-defying grace surprises us, our confusion does not surprise him. He knows all about it. And he is a patient teacher, more patient than we have yet dared to believe.

--Dane Ortlund, Defiant Grace, pages 12-15.

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