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Wednesday, May 13, 2015

I deserve anything...

When I ponder the grace of God, I often do so in terms of: "I deserve nothing...yet I've
been given every good gift" (cf. Romans 8:32). This is the passive reception of grace. There is another side of grace, which Tim Keller calls, the threat of grace. It says: "I deserve anything that is asked of me." This is the active response of grace. While re-reading Keller's The Reason for God I was reminded of this side of grace:
Some years ago I met with a woman who began coming to church at Redeemer. She said that she had gone to church growing up and had never before heard a distinction between the gospel and religion. She had always heard that God accepts us only if we are good enough. She said that the new message was scary. I asked her why it was scary, and she replied: "If I was saved by my good works then there would be a limit to what God could ask of me or put me through. I would be a like a taxpayer with 'rights' -- I would have done my duty and now I would deserve a certain quality of life. But if I am a sinner saved by sheer grace - then there is nothing he cannot ask of me."
Here's a woman whose first response to the gospel of grace isn't sheer awe or wonder (as is/was the case for many of us) but: "I'll take any assignment!" I immediately think of Mary accepting her assignment of carrying then raising the Messiah under scandalous glances and rumors (Luke 1:38) or God's arduous assignment to Paul (then Saul) after rescuing him from his bondage to hate (Acts 9:16). 

Yet it is really no threat at all as we are increasingly gripped by what grace has done - you've been chosen! Not because of how good you are on the inside or out, but simply because you are undeservedly loved. A Bridegroom has chosen to wed you (Rev. 19:7) whilst a Father has chosen to adopt you (Ephesians 1:5). A friend of mine, who was adopted around the age of 10, can recall after putting a few of his things into his new home happily declaring: "I'm ready for my first assignment."

Are you ready to receive any assignment He might give you? Your answer will almost certainly depend on whether your heart has yet been gripped by the grace of God.

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