Here are some observations on grace. An astute lay-person wrote, ‘A hefty portion of what religion has put on display has caused many of us to misinterpret the good news.’ Firstly grace is Jesus. Secondly grace is the an opportunity. It is an unfolding invitation to participate in Father’s love. Unfolding grace reveals that God is for us and far better than most of us have imagined. Grace is not a reason to stick with silly or misguided religious ideas simply because they are ‘our perspective’ or our mistaken identity. Grace affirms that we are in God and He us and that our salvation is secure.
CHRIST WHO IS YOUR LIFE
Many of us need to be ‘graced’ out of our assumption that the good news is the knowledge of good and evil with Jesus supervising. But the good news is that Jesus Christ is in all things ‘you!’ Theologians call this the vicarious humanity of Jesus. Paul called it ‘Christ our life.’
‘I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me’ GAL 2.20 NIV.
Jesus’ Kingdom is neither a moral endurance test or a moral war. It is Jesus drawing people into Himself; into the life that heaven has already made your own. This might cause us to make some observations about grace. What you think of grace will be different according whether you are ‘performing’ or whether Christ is your life.
God is for you and the presence of God is in you. Grace is more than a judicial acquittal. It is the life of God as you. This is to say Bob, George, Mabel or Agatha are by the Spirit a manifestation of Jesus. In this state of being they are fully themselves and fully sons of God. They mystery of creation is that all of us originated in the Son. The joy of the new creation is that all of us have been born again into our true selves in Jesus. HE IS OUR ALPHA AND OMEGA. Everything about Jesus accomplishments for us is super cool.
Grace is not an abstraction. It’s not a clever way to paper over the inconvenience of the law. This means grace is not a way of keeping the law. Grace is the means of avoiding the law in exchange for something infinitely better - Grace is a person. Grace is Christ living in us.
Grace is the person of Jesus living His life as yours. Grace is a way, yet not a way. Grace is not a program or formula. It is the new and living way whereby Jesus lives by the Spirit in you permeating all you are with His life. The result is that you are a manifestation of Him!
Jesus is fully your life. His life as yours enables you to be yourself despite your ineffectual resolutions, partial victories and substantial failures in the righteousness stakes. Grace is Jesus loving you. Jesus loving you is ‘God is love’ for you and us all.
Because Jesus is your life you are a winner even when you are not. Yes, I know. The religious hate this. They’ve done all this stuff to earn favour with God. And here we are saying that we are already in favour, in communion and fellowship with the Hoy Family!
In religion we un-grace ourselves. We live in a false sense of separation and alienation due to our attachment to law and performance. Sure we can do all this and love Jesus. But we need to love Him according to what He is for us rather than what He is not – a disappointed overseer and The Chief Performance Monger.
IN CHRIST IN GOD
The law has no place in the Believers life. Christ is supreme in and over your life. The effect of Christ in you is to make you like Him. His love covers where we are not like Him. We are a work in progress. Never give way to disappointment or depression because you fall and find yourself doing things you hoped you had overcome. His overcoming is your overcoming, His life your life, His relationship with Father your relationship with Father, His Faith, your faith.
‘I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!’ GAL 2.21 NIV. Don’t side-line Jesus in favour of a religious ideology. You might get to heaven but will not bring heaven to earth. You may earn respect from religion but you will be bereft of spirit and life.
Your performance and degree of transformation is irrelevant to the everlasting security of your position in the Holy Family. ( The religious are fuming here!) What counts is Jesus’ performance. Your ‘work’ is to rest in Jesus. You are graced in Jesus to be included in the Trinitarian family. You are daughters and sons.
Grace defined by the law is not grace. It’s law with benefits. Grace is Christ your life. Totally. Grace is more than unconditional love. It is Christ in place of you in every aspect of your being and in every facet of your relationship to God. Grace is a life that is not yours lived as your possession and inheritance. This is to say that Jesus not only stands for you. He is you.
‘Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory’ Col 3.2-4 NIV.