Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Love without a 'then'

I've been turning this over in my mind:

'Scripture teaches that people are saved by grace through faith-they're not saved by faith through grace. I once heard a pastor say it like this: "Grace creates conditions for faith; faith does not create the conditions for grace". In other words it is God's kindness toward us in the midst of our guilt that enables us to believe in him; it's not the expectation that once we believe in him, then he will be kind to us. God loved us when we are still his enemies, not once we have it all together.

The gay community hears the church say: "Change your ways, then God will love you" The Muslim community hears: "Change your ways, then we will love you." The atheist hears :Believe in God, then he will love you." But what Jesus actually says is, "I love you now. As you are. Come to me. Receive my grace."

You don't have to change for God to love you. God loves you as you are. This is what enables you to change. Paul said: God's kindness is intended to lead you to repentance" It is not faith, then grace; it's grace, then faith'

Rumours of God, Whitehead and Tyson


Richard Pennystan said...

We had a staff Bible study this morning looking at Eph 1.6 and came to the same conclusion. Lots of thoughts sprung up about whether God the Father just/only loves us because we're 'in Christ' or He loved us originally and that's why he sent Jesus to redeem us and be reconciled to us.
Comes back to my (very simplistic, subjective & lightly held) thesis that evangelists' basic aim is to convince people that they're 'lucky sinners with a special offer of salvation if they repent' and pastor/teachers generally want to teach people that they are 'beloved children of God being restored to their true identity & reconciled to their Father, (which also requires repentance, but with different emotional baggage attached).'

David Cooke said...

Thanks Richard. Heartily recommend this as a read.

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