Thursday, March 2, 2017

Grace - An Epistle to Arkansas


You've been in the bible belt long enough to get caught up in a bash already.  You've likely been warned to stay out of them.  Not to hide from or back down from declaring the truth against the firey anger of half truths.  But simply that the fire and anger are not a place where the spirit dwells.  As I said, you've likely heard that already so enough.

But thinking about that reminded me of the most common argument I heard come from such gnashing teeth.  The anger that we deny Christ because we don't believe in his grace.

One would refer to the grace without works is dead" reference and they always had additional scriptures, so did we.

Once again, not fuel for a bash but a recent post of mine to my friends on Facebook discusses this in a way.

"Everyone struggles with fighting who they were.  We often haven't learned to recognize who we are.  One struggle all through coming back was that when I came to the school it was from a position of having received so many scholastic chances as a younger man and with those grades holding me back I was truly asking for one final chance.

Or so it appeared. While the scholastic system might not be set up to nurse me through struggling grades my performance since then has given me a gpa that can handle a more difficult semester if it happened.  

So many times the thought of, "If I don't finish this now I can't, because this my last chance." Has both spurred me on but often pushed me too far and those were the times I almost quit because I thought hope was gone.

Good mentors and a great wife have pulled me back everytime.  But this semester it was finally seeing that no matter what, I have built something that can't be lost if I have to slow down, I gave myself permission to enjoy the experience.  Especially the opera.  My recital.  Finishing the fulltime student part of it all.  It's wonderful.  

Even last chances can become infinite possibilities with time, tears and toil."

While the university has finite chances to receive mercy or grace, the Lord's is infinite.  These bashers are correct, it's all we need.  But imagine if the school was the same.  I could have gone back, failed, gone back and failed, and continued to receive their mercy.  However, I'd still be imprisoned.  In a loop that never ends.  Their mercy would be worth nothing.  Their grace is therefore dead.

On the flipside, it was easy to see that I was imprisoned by not fully understanding what grace had done for me.  Trapped at looking at an old image of myself and not the new one in the mirror.

As we sin, we can only move forward by grace.  We can be trapped by continuing to receive grace for the same things over and over and over or we can be trapped into seeing only the old image and not the one transformed by grace followed by toil.

Infinite possibilities. His grace is true.  His sacrifice real.  



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