Thread: Clearing Up Grace
May 14th 2011, 07:04 PM #1
Clearing Up Grace
Answering questions on grace.
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Welcome everyone to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth! Last time, I wrote on the need for the leadership of the PCUSA to repent. A faithful reader emailed me in response with some questions about what I had said about grace so I'd like to clear that up.
The first question was on what I had said about for grace to take place, there must be repentance from sin. Am I making repentance a way of earning grace? To be sure, I am speaking about salvific grace, in the grace that gives us forgiveness of sin. I do not consider repentance to be a work but rather an acknowledgment that you can do no works to earn grace but must rely solely on the blessing of the benefactor.
Do I believe confession comes first? Yes. If we say God forgives sin that is not confessed, then we might as well be universalists as that God does not require us to be in right relation with Him to enjoy His presence. However, if we are to enjoy the presence of God, we must be in right relation to Him as nothing unholy can be in His presence.
Now I did state that having grace for someone not doing something sinful would be like saying I need grace for loving my wife. There is a sense in which I need grace for loving her. I need grace in the case of common grace that I need the love of God to overcome my sinful nature. However, let us take an unforgiven non-Christian man. This man does love his wife. When he comes to Christ, does he need to say "God. Please forgive me for loving my wife."?
No. Grace is there to forgive us when we fall short of the goal. You do not need to be forgiven for doing what God says. Forgiveness is the blessing given by God in His grace after all and He does not need to forgive a truly good act. Of course, if there is one evil act, the forgiveness of God is needed and in that case, God's grace is needed.
Hence, when the PCUSA speaks about grace for people, if there is no sexual sin being committed, what exactly is the grace for? By the language, I do not think that they mean common grace and even if they do, exactly what about common grace is supposed to deal with sexual sin?
Finally, are grace and forgiveness interchangeable? No. They're closely related however. Grace is a good disposition in God towards us and the result is that He grants us forgiveness. This is in the case of salvific grace of course. It does not apply in common grace as that kind of grace goes out to both believer and unbeliever.
I sincerely hope that this clears up any misconceptions anyone else might have had and keep in mind that I do want to hear such feedback from readers and if you think there's something you're misunderstanding or even that I'm wrong on something, by all means say so. Rest assured, I am not mocking grace, as one who hopes to give it to others and who has often received it himself from them and definitely from God.Check the blog of Apologiaphoenix!
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May 17th 2011, 08:35 AM #2
Re: Clearing Up Grace
Yes, repentance is the first step before the benefits of grace can be applied. I love Is.30:15 ...In repentance and rest you shall be saved, in quietness and trust is your strength. I think that verse really sums up the whole process and outcome of salvation.
I am a firm believer in REST. The Sabbath Rest from Hebrews 4. The Rest that we are to FEAR falling short of. BUT - as much as I believe we can do and are to do NOTHING to earn our salvation, but simply RECEIVE of His grace, there IS one thing we must do.......repent. To repent is the one action on our part. After that, we simply rest. This is good stuff.
GRACE. Grace is awesome. It's the ONLY way to victory over sin. Romans 5:17 ...those who receive the abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.
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