Preposterous Grace

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Grace is the word that sums up the heart-grabbing essence of the gospel. And the illustration that stands head and shoulders above the rest is found in Jesus’ prodigal parable.

The rascal who did everything possible to break the heart of his father deserves flogging—but the red carpet is rolled out for him. Extravagant privileges are heaped upon him in what looks like a lottery win. The father can’t find enough gifts to shower on the boy.

Admittedly, it’s unwarranted. It’s ludicrous.

The kid is clobbered by kindness. It’s the scandalous peripety of grace.

Grace is divine prodigality gone wild. It is ridiculous generosity, reckless open-handedness, audacious extravagance. It is goodness on steroids.

Grace shows flagrant disregard for moderation, fairness, or bookkeeping. It dishes out in outrageous excess to those who don’t have it together and have nothing to give in return.

Michael Spencer put it like this: “Real grace is simply inexplicable, inappropriate, out of the box, out of bounds, offensive, excessive, too much, given to the wrong people and all those things.”

Grace completely abolishes any idea of merit. It floods the undeserving with blessing. Grace is love shown to the unlovely, favor bestowed upon the unworthy. It is indiscriminating, uncoerced, and delightfully gratuitous.

It doesn’t keep score.

–Jurgen Schulz
What Jesus Wished People Knew About God

 

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The King’s Grace

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Published in: on 04/20/2017 at 8:35  Leave a Comment  
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This is Grace

water-cascade-1024x1024-wallpaper-1129-copyGrace is more than mercy and love. It super-adds to them. It denotes, not simply love, but the love of a sovereign, transcendent Superior. One that may do what He will. That may wholly choose whether He will love or no. Now God, who is an infinite Sovereign, who might have chosen whether ever He would love us or no; for Him to love us, this is Grace.

–Thomas Goodwin
(1600 – 1680)

Published in: on 10/14/2016 at 16:06  Leave a Comment  
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Whispering forgiveness

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This is the gospel of grace. A God, who out of love for us, sent the only Son He ever had wrapped in our skin. He learned how to walk, stumbled and fell, cried for His milk, sweated blood in the night, was lashed with a whip and showered with spit, was fixed to a cross and died whispering forgiveness on us all.

–Brennan Manning
The Ragamuffin Gospel

The gravity of grace

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Grace is
the gravity of God
grabbing us
and drawing us in
to God’s never
ending love.

–John Manz

Not a blessed thing

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Neither the lost coin nor the lost sheep was capable of any repentance at all. The entire cause of the recovery operation in both stories is the shepherd’s, or the woman’s determination to find the lost. Neither the lost sheep nor the lost coin does a blessed thing, except hang around in its lostness. On the strength of this parable, therefore, it is precisely our sins, and not our goodnesses, that most commend us to the grace of God.

–Robert Farrar Capon
Kingdom, Grace, Judgment

Image:  James Tissot

Fountain of rich grace

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Men are afraid to have good thoughts of God. They think it is a boldness to eye God as good, gracious, tender, kind, loving. I speak of saints. They can judge him hard, austere, severe, almost implacable, and fierce (the very worst affections of the very worst of men, and most hated by God). Is not this soul-deceit from Satan? Was it not his design from the beginning to inject such thoughts of God?

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Assure yourself, then, there is nothing more acceptable to the Father than for us to keep up our hearts unto him as the eternal fountain of all that rich grace which flows out to sinners in the blood of Jesus.

–John Owen
(1616 – 1683)

Image: Joseph Boltrukiewicz

Excessive grace

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It is a gift to be scandalized by Jesus.
When grace seems excessive
and love is absurd – we finally
are beginning to fathom the gospel.

–Jonathan Martin

More than enough

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There is more than enough grace
for yesterday’s faux pas,
today’s challenges,
and tomorrow’s unknowns.

–Scotty Smith ‏

Published in: on 06/13/2013 at 3:52  Leave a Comment  
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Grace and goodness

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O my Divine Love,
the desire I had to please You,
the tears I shed, my great labours
and the little fruit I reaped from it,
moved Your compassion.
You gave me in a moment, through
Your grace and Your goodness alone,
what I had been unable to give myself
through all my efforts.

–Madame Guyon
(1648 – 1717)

Abundant in mercy

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God is more ready
to forgive me than
I am ready to offend.

–C. H. Spurgeon
(1834 – 1892)

In hot pursuit

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God is like a highway patrolman
pursuing you down the interstate
with lights flashing and siren blaring
to get you to stop–not to give you a ticket,
but to give you a message so good
it couldn’t wait till you get home.

–Author unknown

Melted by mercy

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To your mercy and grace
I credit my sins being melted like ice;
to your mercy and grace I credit
whatever evil I have not done.

–St. Augustine (354 – 430)

Published in: on 01/21/2013 at 12:04  Leave a Comment  
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Jesus shows us God

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As Christians—as followers of the Lord Jesus—when we talk about God, we are talking about one who has entered into the very fabric of our world, who has come as close to us as we are to ourselves, a God who has become incarnate. When we talk about God, ultimately, we are always talking about Jesus. For the God of the gospel is the God who has come among us in Jesus of Nazareth. We believe in God because of Jesus.

Jesus is the one who showed us the face of God—
Jesus shows us the truth of God,
Jesus shows us the love of God.

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Jesus is God’s smile beaming at us out of the depths of eternity. Jesus is God’s love wrapping around us, seizing us and not letting us go. Jesus is God’s grace, reaching into the darkest and most shameful dimensions of our experience. Jesus is God’s healing, binding up the wounded.

Jesus is God’s goodness, in a world
full of chaos and disaster and catastrophe.

Jesus is God’s great strength for the weak. Jesus is water for the thirsty, and when you drink that water you will never thirst again. Jesus is bread for all those who are starved and hungry, famished for something good and something true. Jesus shows us God. He is not God’s explanation, he is not God’s argument, he is not God’s debate. He is God’s simple, great, loving act, showing us, Here I am, here you are.

In Jesus, God shows us God.
That I believe, is the whole secret
of the Christian faith.

–Ben Myers
(emphasis added)

Basking in grace

The grace of God
is like the sunshine;
we didn’t put it there,
but we accept it thankfully,
bask in it, use it,
flourish and glory in it.

–Sherwood Wirt


Published in: on 04/11/2011 at 12:31  Leave a Comment  
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The gift of grace

The grace of God means something like: Here is your life. You might never have been, but you are because the party wouldn’t have been complete without you. Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don’t be afraid. I am with you. Nothing can ever separate us. It’s for you I created the universe. I love you. There’s only one catch. Like any other gift, the gift of grace can be yours only if you’ll reach out and take it. Maybe being able to reach out and take it is a gift too.

–Frederick Buechner

Published in: on 08/20/2010 at 15:04  Leave a Comment  
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All sufficient grace

I would rather live on the verge of falling and let my security be in the all-sufficiency of the grace of God than to live in some kind of pietistic illusion of moral excellence. Not that I don’t want to be morally excellent, but my faith isn’t in the idea that I’m more moral than anybody else. My faith is in the idea that God and His love are greater than whatever sins any of us commit.

–Rich Mullins

Published in: on 08/19/2010 at 18:55  Leave a Comment  
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