Weekly Thought – July 10, 2018
Fred’s influencers included ancient Catholic mystics like Francois Fenelon, early 20th century teachers like Oswald Chambers, and contemporaries like Ray Stedman, Ramesh Richard, and Steve Brown. Their diverse backgrounds were all built with one shared commonality: the grace of God.
Please join us in praying for the What’s Next Roundtable events this fall. As we travel to campuses in order to begin conversations and create connections about values necessary to prepare them for the next steps, stand with us.
Freedom of Grace
Grace was genuine, real, personal, and palpable to the great saints. Examples like Brother Lawrence, Frank Laubach, and Francois Fenelon had no doubt they were the constant recipients of God’s amazing grace. It was a practical part of their everyday lives. For example, Brother Lawrence said that whenever he made a mistake he didn’t spend any time thinking about it – he just confessed it and moved on. He reminded himself that failure is part of the human condition. But he reminded himself that grace is available through Christ. Confession, not consternation, is the acceptable remedy for failure. Before I read that, I lingered over guilt. Immediate grace was too good to be true, I thought. The old saint’s experience and testimony released me.
Ray Stedman told me, “Fred, when I realized God was for me it changed my life.” God’s grace is true.
Nevertheless, legalism appeals to our common sense. I find it necessary to remind myself that the very Scripture that makes me know my guilt lets me know the grace of God. By refusing grace, we play God thinking to punish ourselves. We expect discipline and mistake the natural consequences of bad decisions as divine judgment. Why? Because we feel we deserve judgment rather than grace.
A dear friend who has come out of alcoholism says that she must keep fresh in her mind her guilt and shame as a bulwark against going back to drinking. Another recovering alcoholic remarked, “She is dry, but she is not free.” She told me when she finally overcame drinking it was with the power of Christ who keeps her both dry and free. Grace, not guilt, is her reality and hope. My first friend was addicted to her cure. She simply exchanged one addiction for another; my second friend became free through her relationship to Christ.
Freedom from the addiction was seen in the joy of sobriety, not just the refusal of alcohol.
This week think about: 1) How am I experiencing the grace of God in my life? 2) Where am I holding on to guilt and shame? 3) What difference is freedom in Christ making in my life?
Words of Wisdom: “Grace, not guilty, should be our reality and hope.”
Wisdom from the Word: “For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came about through Jesus Christ.” (John 1: 17 NET Bible)