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Sunday, July 5, 2009

(COSART) 2 = grace

Tripp, the all inspiring holy man who still makes me giggle when he says anything not usually associated with a pastors vocabulary, asked me a very simple, direct question a while ago. What do you think of grace? Being the often egotistical person that I am I tried to think up an answer just as direct, something witty and clever with beautiful contextual prose. But this time… unbeknownst to my now faltering ego, I came up with nothing. Not even a lame attempt. Not even an attempt at a lame attempt. There was too much to say. So after a few weeks of research and rewrites and frustrating sighs as I tried to make a glimmer of sense… I came up with this. I’m going to write it as if it was fact, just to avoid unnecessary “I think” and “I believe” statements – but it is just my opinion and not to be taken as the be all end all of knowledge. There are two types of grace. Keith Mathison once wrote “Unlike common grace, which extends to all mankind, the special grace of God is the unmerited favor that God extends to His people. By means of common grace, God restrains sin in the world. By means of special grace, Jesus Christ bares the curse and penalty of sin for His people. In common grace, God gives good things to all men. In special grace, God gives the very righteousness of Jesus Christ to His people.” So if this is true then, being the eternal agnostic that I am, I can concede in knowing that there will be no special grace enlightened upon me, but only common grace, which provokes the question of… which is truly more important? Too often grace is a term abused by the followers of the church. They use it not to help restrain from sin, but to excuse it. They do not avoid sinful acts because of grace, they simply avoid hell by rendering those sins they commit over and over as “forgiven.” Grace is not meant as redemption or liberation. It is meant as a catalyst to inspire order and protect personal righteousness. “I believe in the articles of the Christian faith” is easy to say but some are deluded into thinking that is all that is required. They are so effortlessly willing to take Christ as their Savior but never as their Lord. So does believing you are one of His people necessarily make you one of His people? Does believing you have been gifted with special grace for all of eternity make Jesus bear your penalty of sin no matter how evil you may be? If belief is not enough… then what is? Say… there is a man, a good man, who has accepted Jesus in his life but one day finds the one true love of his life cheating on him and in a blind rage murders her. Special grace permits the Lord to bare the curse of his sin. Then say there is another man, also good in nature but not Christian who does the same thing. Is he forced to forever bare the consequences of that sin himself, being only under the category of common grace? The man of faith is redeemed simply because he has permitted himself to believe in God while the other man, having done the same evil deed, is stuck forever deemed an evil man? Is one going to heaven and the other to hell? Is it not our own personal actions that define us? If Hitler had believed in God would he be given the very righteousness of Jesus Christ and absolved from judgment? These are all questions I cannot answer but have led me to believe that the all knowing God, if he does exist, judges not based on a religious title of Christian vs Not … but on each individuals moral nature. That special grace AND common grace are to be given to good men, regardless of the word they choose to place beside the Religion:___________ box.

"Grace does not grant permission to live in the flesh; it supplies power to live in the Spirit." -John MacArthur

5 comments:

obsquatch said...

When the rev starts in with the Grace thing, I always seem to think of Jesus in a blue sequined leotard, preforming the most complected ice skating maneuvers while shooting lightning out of his fingertips. "Such precision, such finesse, such grace! A perfect 10 for our lord and savior!"

It's after thoughts like these that I have to thank my brain for keeping me entertained.

All Gay Jesus thoughts aside, I really enjoy the way you dissect human nature and look at the fundamental flaws in our social paradigms, most of which just slide by people, and then you expose the lunacy of our ways. It makes me wonder what I've been missing. In other words: Dude, my girl is wicked smart.

achigurh said...

whoever thought up the whole "grace" thing was a genius. what a marketing tool! i mean, anyone no matter who they are or what they have done...through this "grace" can be with god and it's all good..sign me up jesus!

A. "Prodigal Son" Chigurh

LupineLooPine said...

Part 1:

I don't have much to say about grace, since I don't understand the concept of being forgiven "externally" or by some other moral code than what I can understand or perceive. I think that's the same thing with you too miss P, from what I've read. Ultimately, forgiveness is a state of mind, and one which we control. I find the action of a person forgiving themselves through such external ways very disturbing, more so when one considers it over arbitrary "crimes" for whatever this person feels guilty over. Maybe it's disturbing due to the willful submission to authority, or maybe it's the idea of something that requires careful scrutiny and depth being dealt with in such a ridiculously shallow and superficial way. For argument's sake let's assume one could receive this special grace (I never really understood general grace, since the idea of Jesus dying for our sins means only one thing to my ears. It further makes no sense, since, if a person has to die so miserably in order to forgive all sins, at least up to then, would society be the great forgiver? ... since society makes a lot of people suffer a lot. Surely the "net suffering" is always sufficient at any time to save all people at that time. The suffering of the many right now surely takes care of the sins of the powerful few. Or is it that a "great" being must suffer? What then is the parameter of greatness... since I thought Jesus was of the poor folk. Son of Gad.. but manifest in the flesh. What then was his fleshly parameter? Even if I play by the rules of the fairytale I'm rather stuck as you can see... no offense Tripp, you sexy, sexy man beast).
So if general grace is true, how can one be sure one has received it? Just because one's life is good? Does that mean one is blessed? If so, I can acquire such "blessed states" through extremely unholy ways. Should I get my "blessed state" through such an unholy society (on account of the way it works by manipulating people and making individuals expendable for generally ignominious causes, creating meaningless desires and the majority of people suffering.. in case you need an explanation), what does that say of my happiness and good fortune. Lastly, a miserable person could be happy through changing one's perspective and one's state of mind. What then is the true state of mind? Should I be observationally wretched yet feel blessed, is it fake? I personally don't think being in a "blessed state" WHATEVER that may mean, means that one has received grace. And were this true, then God sure has some splainin' to doo, since guess what?! Most of the people who SHOULD deserve grace , don't ... as far as one can observe. I forgot... God is testing those folks. Yes.. he is a testy God isn't he? Like a giant testicle that old man in the sky is. Just pimply with hair, very irritable, and constantly squirmy on the inside.
Again, no offense Tripp ya schmexy pastor! C'est the Lupy way you know!

LupineLooPine said...

Part 2:

Now to you miss P. I'm with Obby. I was very, very impressed with this post, more than the circles and frogs one too, for different reasons of course. I loved your "thought experiments" (where you contemplated different scenarios.. good person does this bad person that, etc), which is the only way to ever get at truth in general. You even approached this very methodically without being condescending, i.e you played the logic game by a different set of rules.. and you did this well. If two people debate on different bases, then neither can really claim to have a better point since you're involving two logic systems. An independent,rational person could say one basis makes sense and another doesn't.. but ignoring this ,there's a stalemate situation. Debating in this way is not something everyone can do, including the supposedly great Christopher Hitchens, but I guess you being a master debater has it's benefits.
You destroyed me in the random game and you've been destroying me in philosophy for some time now woman. At this rate my retirement is just around the coroner cornered corner ( <-- got the hidden meaning in the last one ? ;) .. it's easy)

Tripp Hudgins said...

Try this on...

What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but do not have works? Can faith save you? If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill’, and yet you do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that? So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.

But someone will say, ‘You have faith and I have works.’ Show me your faith without works, and I by my works will show you my faith. You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder. Do you want to be shown, you senseless person, that faith without works is barren? Was not our ancestor Abraham justified by works when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was brought to completion by the works. Thus the scripture was fulfilled that says, ‘Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness’, and he was called the friend of God. You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. Likewise, was not Rahab the prostitute also justified by works when she welcomed the messengers and sent them out by another road? For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is also dead.


It's from the epistle of James. I am trying to be as lengthy in my post as L00p. Heh. Just f-ing with L00p.

So, you hit the nail on the head. It's always a both and thing and in the end, faith is about relationship with God through/with/in/between community. Forgiveness is about relationship. Grace is about relationship.

You say "morality" but that troubles me a bit. Morality slips into moralism so quickly. It can become just another fundamentalism. Who is to say what is moral? Killing people is bad. Killing Hitler?Dunno. It's sticky. (Note: I am a pacifist.) I'm after "encounter" these days. We'll see how that works.

You are, as we all know, the poo. Keep reading Rilke.

if you happen to be a billionaire...