ive recently been processing the concept of grace. its something i think we must continually come back to, as it is through the lens of grace that we should view our relationship with God and others.
"the Lord said: because these people approach Me with their mouths to honor Me with lip-service — yet their hearts are far from Me, and their worship consists of man-made rules learned by rote—therefore I will again confound these people with wonder after wonder. the wisdom of their wise men will vanish, and the understanding of the perceptive will be hidden." - isaiah 29:13&14 (nasv)
it seems like such a basic christian truth but unfortunately much of the church only chooses to accept grace when it pertains to salvation and then sees no need for its further working in their lives. we construct man-made rules we must follow to earn our way into right standing with church leaders and so also God. we find one truth and elevate it above all others, building walls around it to separate and protect that truth from everything that would dare challenge its legitimacy, including the Holy Spirit.
"what actually took place is this: i tried keeping rules and working my head off to please God, and it didn't work. so i quit being a "law man" so that i could be God's man. Christ's life showed me how, and enabled me to do it. i identified myself completely with him. indeed, i have been crucified with Christ. my ego is no longer central. it is no longer important that i appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God. Christ lives in me. the life you see me living is not "mine," but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. i am not going to go back on that. is it not clear to you that to go back to that old rule-keeping, peer-pleasing religion would be an abandonment of everything personal and free in my relationship with God? i refuse to do that, to repudiate God's grace. if a living relationship with God could come by rule-keeping, then Christ died unnecessarily." -galatians 2:19-21 (the message)
our christianity is more than an intellectual pursuit of God, its an experience played out through tangible displays of grace, essentially "faith working through love" (gal 5:6b). we dont show Christ's love to make our church's bigger or to add more notches to our salvations belt. we extend Christ through grace because of our love for Him and the brokenness we have for others. its the Christ in us that brings us this understanding because its not human wisdom, its God's.
non-christians have seen enough religion in the church. we, my friends, need a revelation of grace...