How much does Grace cost?

This is a question that was slapped in front of me at church yesterday. We typically attend Buckhead church, but this Sunday we went to another church we like called Trinity. The pastor spoke on dedication to Christ and the fact that we can't truly follow God if we don't put him front and center in our lives. This is hard enough, given life/responsibilities/friends/job/finances/etc/etc.

The sermon sort of spiraled, not off topic, but in a different direction, when he talked a bit about how modern day church is typically going in 2 bad directions:
1) the legalistic church...I don't think I need to elaborate
2) the "safe" church.

The "safe" church he described was more about the way that many modern day churches preach on Grace and the fact that it's free for everyone, and to the level that I think of "all you have to do is "Admit, Repent, Commit". His perspective was that Grace is seen as "TOO Easy", that we're softened to thinking that all we have to do is say we're sorry and all is forgiven, we have a clean slate, and no matter what we do, we are covered. The problem with this is that there's no emphasis on devotion to God.

God wants our devotion, period. He's not asked us or to never sin/mess up again, because he knows that this is impossible for us, however, he does want for us to follow him, above everything else (because this is where/when God can work through us). So, although Grace IS FREE for everyone to decide to ask for, it does cost us our life, right? I mean, how can we expect the Bible's descriptions of Grace (and Mercy and Love for that matter) to be true, if we do not also expect that the part about "laying down our nets, and following Him" to be true as well?

what do you think?


Zach 8:53 AM  

Amen brother. Amen.

I've been wrestling with this idea lately as I've come to realize I haven't DEVOTED much to God at all! Wow. I have such a hard time being "in" the world but not being "of" the world.

First, I know we ARE saved by grace. Period. Saved. But God does call us to do more. To serve in big ways. I picked up "The Barbarian Way" by Erwin McManus this summer and am slowly reading it a 2nd time. Talks about the life that some of us are called to in serving Christ. We're all called to serve, but in different ways. There are "civilized" Christians, but perhaps Christ is still calling for "untamed, barbaric" Christians who see Christ's mission differently -- like the disciples did. Pretty thought provoking book.

I read your blog entry last night, and this morning my trusty devotion book touched on John 14:15-24 and it hit on this issue as well. Some notable points (if your Blog has room!):

"We fool ourselves if we think our love for God and our obedience to Him are separate issues. They are two sides of the same coin... The belief that love and obedience are not related is epidemic among Christians... We have become so paranoid of having a theology of 'righteousness = works' that we have ignored obedience altogether, as though it did not matter to God. Jesus is clear that it does. Obedience is not our means to righteousness; it is the clearest expression of our devotion to Jesus... If we truly love Him, as we say we do, what He says will matter to us profoundly. We will not follow the acceptable parts of His teachings and ignore the objectionable parts. We will not approach our relationship with Him as though we are trying to get by with the bare minimum behavioral change. We will devour his teachings, turning them over in our hearts, meditating on their applications, and living them as clearly as we can. This, according to Jesus, is what loving Him is all about. This is genuine worship."

Well there you have it Stevo. Next? Haha, wow, such a good topic. Pretty simple actually -- makes perfect sense right? -- but still hard to grasp onto in this world we live in.

So many of us Christians are standing at the edge of the pool. Believers, but not immersing ourselves. We're dipping our toe in, feeling the water; but are we going to dive in? Randy has called it "going down the rabbit hole" because the world you're about to enter will blow you away; will change the direction of your life. Pretty scary when you're so used to the "comfortable" life you may have.

So I've realized I've not been completely devoted to serving God -- not much at all really. I'm so immersed in this world. But I know He's calling me to something more. And I'm trying to hear His call. What does He want me to do? I have a feeling it won't be easy. Not supposed to be. Wasn't for the disciples.

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