Monday, 15 October 2012

God's grace and our 'effort'

This is very much in the category of 'musings that may end up being circular but writing them down helps' :-)
In Romans 11:1-5 where Paul begins with the question "Did God reject his people? ", he continues with a line of argument that contains, in v4-5, the following statement.....(God said) “I have reserved for myself seven thousand who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace.
As I read this and because I am slow of mind I saw that interesting but ultimately tricky to fathom (well tricky for me)  link between grace (God's unmerited favour) and our actions or choices. In this passage God did not, in His grace, simply choose a bunch of people at random - as presumably all of them were equally undeserving irrespective of their past actions, no, in His grace He chose those who had chosen not to bow the knee to Ba'al.....
So, if their actions, or in this case inaction in relation to Ba'al, did not somehow merit God's grace it certainly pulled them from the line and into the group who had a chance to make the final team!
I am not entirely sure what the implications of this are other than to suggest that grace is not as black and white as some would have it! If you are not fundamentally 'calvinist' in belief (and I am not) then we believe that those who have been saved have at some stage made or arrived at a decision to do something - repent at the very least - after which grace is experienced far more comprehensively than ever before and certainly in a destiny changing way.
BUT the choice to make that decision has to be ours and ours alone otherwise it is meaningless,even unjust, for us to receive benefit from an action that wasn't ultimately our own choice while others in the same position come under judgement. That would be more like the arbitary activity of a capricious deity not one who is characterised by truth, justice and love......
So, what am I left with? I believe grace is God giving us something,or doing something on our behalf, that we do not deserve and cannot earn but that He can also choose to operate in a way that singles out those who have acted righteously and make them the beneficiaries of gracious decisions that He chooses to make. They are gracious because He did not have to make any such decision but having done so He sets criteria to be met by those who will 'benefit'....
OK, think I'll stop now and move to something how big is the universe?

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Intimacy and awe

I found a great blog article from New Frontiers on Intimacy and Awe in our relationship with our Father: