Preposterous Grace

0042 copy

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

 

Celebrating God’s Goodness

21abma10

Receive every day as a resurrection from death, as a new enjoyment of life; meet every rising sun with such sentiments of God’s goodness, as if you had seen it, and all things, new-created upon your account: and under the sense of so great a blessing, let your joyful heart praise and magnify so good and glorious a Creator.

–William Law (1686-1761),
A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life

Where Generosity Goes Wild

45465dca-e83f-4896-afab-8493c7128acc

Wider and vaster

open door garden 4 copy-001

Narrow is the gate
that leads to heaven,
and so shall it always be,
but wide are God’s mercies,
so much wider and vaster
and more appalling
than ever I knew.

–Leslie Leyland Fields

The best is yet to come

627878_f520

“You have kept the good wine until now” (Jn. 2:10).

In this world the best comes first. The wonder of childhood vanishes before the harsh realities of adulthood. The vigor of youth gives way to the feebleness of old age. Sin’s pleasure is followed by regret and remorse, dreams turn into illusions, and hope frequently gets reduced to cynicism. In a very short time the latest cutting edge innovation becomes outdated and obsolete.

We live on a planet where magnificence
quickly turns to monotony.

In Christ it works the other way. The best comes last. His love gets sweeter, his grace grows richer, his presence more comforting. The road that starts narrow keeps getting wider, the good news of the gospel continually shines brighter. The end is better than the beginning.

And when we finally get to the other side, we will discover that everything is more wonderful than we ever dreamed—and it will keep on getting better! In Christ we are involved in an everlasting process of going higher, an unending experience of “grace upon grace,” an eternal increase of goodness.

The phrase: “It doesn’t get any better than this”—is not applicable in God’s kingdom. However good it gets—the best wine is yet to come.

–Jurgen Schulz

Photo: Marek Jedzer

A place to pour out His love

waterfall-poster

The whole raison d’etre of the universe lies in the fact that God will not be alone, that he will not be without us, but has freely and purposely created the universe and bound it to himself as the sphere where he may ungrudgingly pour out his love, and where we may enjoy communion with him.

–Thomas Torrance
Trinitarian Faith

The joyful awareness

38538-1920x1200

The goal of prayer is to live
all of my life and speak all of my words
in the joyful awareness of the presence of God.
Prayer becomes real when we grasp
the reality and goodness
of God’s constant presence
with ‘the real me.’

–John Ortberg Jr.

The most wonderful idea of all

To know GOD is Life Eternal . . . To know God is to know Goodness. It is to see the beauty of infinite Love . . . It is to see the King of Heaven and Earth take infinite delight in Giving. Whatever knowledge else you have of God, it is but Superstition. Which Plutarch rightly defines, to be an Ignorant Dread of His Divine Power, without any joy in His goodness. He is not an Object of Terror, but Delight.

To know Him therefore as He is,
is to frame the most beautiful idea
in all Worlds.

He delights in our happiness more than we: and is of all other the most Lovely Object. An infinite Lord, who having all Riches, Honours, and Pleasures in His own hand, is infinitely willing to give them unto me. Which is the fairest [most wonderful] idea that can be devised.

–Thomas Traherne
(1637 – 1674)

Overflowing goodness

God is not an absolute Ego, unchangeable and all-determining. God is not a single self, isolated and solitary. God is a beautiful and alluring relational and dynamic community of love who does not alienate but fulfills us.

God’s glory does not lie in self-aggrandizement
but in self-giving.

God glories not in domination but in loving. What we see most centrally in God is the shining radiance of love.

According to self-revelation, God is not an Unmoved Mover but the God of Jesus Christ, who goes out of himself and acts in history, who becomes involved in the affairs of his people and enters into conversation with them. God is closer and more intimate to us than we allow ourselves to believe. God is not preocupied with himself, not unable to give himself away.

It is the essence of God that he go out from himself and overflow for the sake of the other.

In his very being as triune, God moves outward toward creation and incarnation. Giving us life and taking us to his own bosom are not afterthoughts but accord with God’s nature and purpose.

–Clark Pinnock

%d bloggers like this: