battlefield of grace

Posted: November 9th, 2010 | Filed under: life | Tags: | 10 Comments »

When it comes to grace, one of the things that come up is how to show grace without looking like you’re condoning the sin. The fear is that the person won’t know that what they did was wrong, that you’re okay with it, or that grace will let them get away with it.

The result of this fear is that grace, from you, is withheld. Instead of taking the risk, you play it safe. God’s enemy is clever and you can see it when you consider that the justifications for withholding grace sound Godly.

You can’t water down the potency of the Gospel so that it’s only strong enough to wash the mildly sinful. Jesus sacrifice covers every single wrong thing we do. When you think about the sin, think about grace being big enough to cover it. The bigger the sin, the bigger grace becomes. You can search for something to outweigh, cancel, or defeat it, but you’ll never find it. You’ll only find that there is no end to grace.

People know when they’re doing the wrong thing. Right and wrong are not  foreign ideas that have to be taught. People who have never been taught God’s law, innately know it.

They show that God’s law is not something alien, imposed on us from without, but woven into the very fabric of our creation. There is something deep within them that echoes God’s yes and no, right and wrong.Romans 2:15

Another issue that comes up when you talk about grace, is the subject of church discipline. There are, at least, two places in the Bible that talk about this subject (Matthew 18; 1 Corinthians 5). There is a process and one goal, to get the ‘lost lamb’ back. The problem with church discipline is not in the idea of discipline. The problem is when people are excommunicated with no process and no goal. It’s like when you discipline a child, you can separate him from the group and stick him in a corner, but you don’t leave him there. Christians can have a very strong ejection reflex making re-entry practically impossible. It’s a hole in the organization that needs to be filled.

People will always use the freedom, that grace gives them, as an excuse to sin. You can’t dumb down or omit the message just because of how people may take it. You can’t even balance it out. The weight of grace knocks the scales off balance every single time.

When the one who misused the message of grace is made aware of what they’ve done, it will break them. Their  sin was in making a mockery of the only thing that can save them. As a result, they’ll experience a kind of eternal hopelessness that nothing can alleviate. They’ll be terrified to accept grace because they abused it. Getting people, who are completely aware that they misused the message of grace, to accept it for that very sin, is a battle of vicious spiritual warfare proportions.

That’s where I fight. When all of the accusations are out and every finger pointer has had their turn to submit the damaging evidence, grace has the last word. It’s a specific battleground and grace always wins.

All that passing laws against sin did was produce more lawbreakers. But sin didn’t, and doesn’t, have a chance in competition with the aggressive forgiveness we call grace. When it’s sin versus grace, grace wins hands down. All sin can do is threaten us with death, and that’s the end of it. -Romans 5:20-21

bg


10 Comments »


10 Comments on “battlefield of grace”

  1. 1 Dana said at 10:44 am on November 9th, 2010:

    "Christians can have a very strong ejection reflex making re-entry practically impossible. It’s a hole in the organization that needs to be filled."

    I wish more people were doing something about this.

    There's so much truth and it's deep. It takes a while to sink in.

    Thank you for your writing and for sharing your passion. Almost everyone I know reads your blog and we have the best discussions out of it. Keep it up! I hope to meet you one day and just listen to you while I pick your brain. 🙂

  2. 2 Serena Woods said at 10:47 am on November 9th, 2010:

    Thanks, Dana. 🙂

  3. 3 Jodie said at 11:53 am on November 9th, 2010:

    I'm with Dana. I tell everyone I know. It stirs up conversation, it convicts me to the core, it makes me swoon over his love for me… I love that you write. I haven't come across anyone else who does what you're doing here and I just love it. It is alot to chew, but I'm not a vegetarian, so I don't mind the meat. 😉

    I can't wait to meet you either. …someday

  4. 4 Julie R. said at 1:36 pm on November 9th, 2010:

    Not one of us should ever say either by word or deed that "Grace was able to cover what I did, but it can't cover what you did…"

    Its arrogant, its dangerous, and it destroys lives.

    I am living in the presence of constant Grace both given and received. My family is experiencing Grace at its most beautiful, and we are so very thankful.

    Serena, once again You knocked it out of the park! Can't wait to tell my mom about this post…of course she's probably already read it and cried over it…

  5. 5 Serena Woods said at 1:47 pm on November 9th, 2010:

    Jodie: Awesome. 🙂

    Julie R.: I think of your family often.

  6. 6 Rebekah said at 3:34 am on November 10th, 2010:

    "Their sin was in making a mockery of the only thing that can save them. As a result, they’ll experience a kind of eternal hopelessness that nothing can alleviate. They’ll be terrified to accept grace because they abused it."

    I LOVE this! So very true! I've felt that hopelessness, but, thank God, I now live in His grace. I also love that you're addressing how the church deals with sin/grace/restoration. It's so very sad to see someone leave church forever because they were shunned for their sin, instead of given grace. Keep up the brilliant work!

  7. 7 Sharon said at 3:53 am on November 10th, 2010:

    "Getting people, who are completely aware that they misused the message of grace, to accept it for that very sin, is a battle of vicious spiritual warfare proportions."

    Absolutely, and it doesn't matter what the sin is. Emily over at Chatting at the Sky wrote on this during her 31 days of Grace last month. So often we don't extend grace to ourselves.

    Watched your video. My heart ached for you and my eyes wept. And I gave thanks for God's grace-covering, for you, and for us all.

    Received your book the other day. Thank you for writing it.

  8. 8 Serena Woods said at 4:41 am on November 10th, 2010:

    Rebekah & Sharon: That thought process is where the name of my book and this blog came from. People are scared to accept grace when they sinned knowing they could just ask for forgiveness later.

    Something changes in them and they know they can't do what they've been doing. As part of the learning and the changing they are extremely respectful of grace, to the point of knowing, with everything in them, that they're not worthy of it.

    The hopelessness, the hell, is of knowing they have no right to the only thing that can save them.

    There are a lot of people trapped in that hell and we need to remind them that, no matter what they've done, grace is for sinners.

  9. 9 Amy said at 6:26 am on November 10th, 2010:

    "Christians can have a very strong ejection reflex making re-entry practically impossible. It’s a hole in the organization that needs to be filled."

    YES!! Goodness, yes! I'm so glad someone came out and said it publicly.

    My family and I are trying to find a new church because of the way our old church (as a group) treated several of its members after they were caught in a lie – as though none of us have ever lied ourselves.

    We are all imperfect. We cannot be flaw-free. But we need to try to be as close to that, as close to God as we can be.

    Thanks for the reminder!

  10. 10 Serena Woods said at 6:38 am on November 10th, 2010:

    Thanks, Amy. 🙂


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