Main Street Grace – Pt 1

21 Oct

Without a doubt, Grace is making it’s unavoidable entrance into mainstream consciousness and dialog.  We’re at the door of a brand new Age and discovering that Grace is the ‘key’ that unlocks the door.  We must deal with Grace.

Lest we have a knee jerk reaction to the subject of Grace, we must realize that it is very much Biblical; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ” (Jn 1:17).   Grace is actually the very bedrock upon which our New Testament salvation is established.  There is no salvation apart from Grace; “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith —and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Eph 2:8, 9).  So deal with it, we must.

Note: There are ages and there are greater riches of Grace, as declared in Eph 2:7, “so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace…”  Fortunately, Grace is imposing itself upon us in this Age.  In fact, the face of Christianity is changing so radically that if we don’t move with the changes, our old mindset will shackle and tether us to the past Age.

Most believers would have to agree that our belief systems have been seriously tweaked in the last 5 or so years.  But if we’ve changed this radically in such a short time, what we will believe in 5 years from now?  I’m pretty sure that if we knew, we would likely call it heresy. (If that statement rattles us, consider what you believe now as compared to what you believed just a few years ago.)  Christianity is truly changing inside and out.  I believe that one of the central changes is that we’ll discover that God is much better than we ever thought.  His un… I mean, SO-believable love for us is going to transcend our heretofore highest theology and beliefs.

These radical changes will not be without growing stress and strain… and even, trauma on the body of Christ.  Just look at all the major dispensational changes throughout Biblical and modern history.  Each time, there were schisms and ‘jihads’ of all kinds.  In fact, in Matt 10:34 Jesus Himself said “I come not to bring peace, but to bring a sword….” and of course the “sword” is a metaphor for theological and ideological conflict.  Bill Johnson has said for most of 10 years, “The next huge controversy in the body of Christ is going to be over how good God is.”  And I don’t know any subject that highlights the goodness of God more than, His Grace.

Both sides of Grace want to include their pet doctrinal positions into the mainstream of Grace thinking.  And to be fair, both sides are establishing their positions on Biblical passages with ‘special’ verses.  Unfortunately, those opposing positions use Scriptures which seem to conflict with one another.  What we have to know is that those verses can’t possibly conflict… because they are in the inerrant Word of God.  So obviously, any conflict must be in the interpretation.  Thus the current hub-bub in the dialog over Grace.  

Here’s a little graphic to explain my take on what’s happening.  Imagine that on a frequently recurring trip you drive through a city whose name and main street you know quite well, but you are unfamiliar with the side streets and subdivisions on both sides.  Our current mission is to discover whether the side streets are going to be a part of our journey on ‘Main Street Grace’… or whether those side streets must be left to the ‘locals’.  

——–_________—–Liberal ‘side streets’
___|______Sin freely ________|__No hell_______
___|________Universalism ____|__Ultimate reconciliation_
___|_______Inclusionism_____|____________
___|_____________________|
___|_____________________|
=================================================
Main Street – Grace
=================================================
___|_____________________|
___|_____________________|
___|________Holiness – fast___|__Spiritual disciplines___
___|_______Laws – works ____|__Days of wk, dietary, etc___
___|_______Messianic _______|__ Jewish observances___
___________Conservative ‘side streets’

As we can easily see (and sometimes it’s painfully obvious) the encampments are entrenching themselves on both sides of Grace.  So what we must now come to terms with is the accurate Biblical definition of Grace.  What does Grace include and what does it not include?  How do the peripherals relate (or not relate) to Main Street Grace.  On-going dialog, cross-checking, writing and reading blogs (and the rebuttal comments) will help insure that we don’t get trapped in a tangent or in error.  In fact, I think it may take 5 – 10 years of dialog to let the dust settle, identify and define the Main Street of Grace… what it includes and what it doesn’t include.  Let’s just hope for as little collateral damage as possible.  But Christianity is changing and we must do due diligence to find out how God is changing.

Most humans don’t like change.  It scares us because we’ve let our god be our comfort and predictability.  We’ve become creatures of habit, thus change is our enemy.  And besides, most of our friends believe the same way that I do… and I’ve surround myself with like minded folks.  So I feel safe and happy.  If there is a disturbance ‘in the force’, then I get uncomfortable and rattled… and maybe even defensive.  And if I’m not careful I might lob a volley of mortar shells over to the other side…   O, my!

It is incumbent upon all believers to walk in unity as much as possible.  Some won’t, I know.  Fighters live and love to fight… cowards run and hide.  But Eph 4:3 declares, “Strive to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”  This must be our fall-back position as we explore the implications and definitions of Grace.  We must keep the main things, the main things.  We don’t have to agree on the peripheral things… after all, the peripheral things are not essential to ‘being in the family of God’.  So keep your love on!

Happy exploring in the riches of Main Street Grace in this emerging Age!

–MLH

See Main Street Grace – Pt 2

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One Response to “Main Street Grace – Pt 1”

  1. melwild October 21, 2013 at 9:46 PM #

    Great invitation to embrace grace! I think what we’re finding out is that this main street grace is actually a LOT more radical and freeing than we’re comfortable with. We tend to like to roam on the side streets because it’s safe to either be religious or rebellious there. But God wants us to be free from both types of bondages. I ready to cruise this super highway of God’s amazing and liberating grace. Let’s put the top down and go!

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