Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Danger of Amazing Grace

“Amazing grace- how sweet the sound – That saved a wretch like me! I once was lost but now am found, Was blind but now I see.” (John Newton) Almost all, believer or not, would agree that no greater words outside of Holy Scripture have been written that comes close to capturing the immensity of realization, thanksgiving, and wonder of God’s truly amazing grace. These words of course were written by John Newton, a man who truly was a wicked wretch whom God chose to redeem by his unspeakable grace. Ephesians 2:8-9 tells us; “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (ESV) So, why does a weak view of sin seem to develop? It seems that there are at least four reasons why a weak view of sin develops both in our personal lives and within the body as a whole. The first reason seems to be an improper conclusion … …that grace nullifies the significance of sin in our lives. We love God’s grace! We love to talk about God’s grace and to sing about it. One of my favorite songs is “Wonderful Grace of Jesus, greater than all my sin, how shall my tongue describe it, where shall my praise begin.” So we talk about grace, we preach about grace, we write about grace and we exult in grace. Sometimes it is to our detriment. As much as I love ice cream, to much can make me sluggish or even sick. When we become out of balance on any topic, including the wonderful, amazing grace of God, we can become sluggish or “spiritually sick.” It is true that by God’s almost indescribable gift of grace toward us, we are freed from the penalty and the power of sin. God forgives and forgets, in Christ, our sin. What a great joy it is to know that our sins, past, present, and prospective are forgiven in Christ. We cannot earn redemption. However, having been freed from the penalty of sin and from the power of sin, we can not rid ourselves of the sin nature that lives inside of us. We still sin. We sin by choice, primarily because we love sin. We cannot simply appeal to God’s grace to excuse or minimize the presence of sin within us. Sin is very significant in our lives. It must be dealt with not only on a day by day basis, but many times moment by moment. The danger we face and must avoid is nullifying the reality of sin by ignoring it through a wrong exaggeration or emphasis on God’s grace. We cannot over emphasize the wonderful grace of God to the detriment of our understanding of the remaining residue of sin within each one of us. God’s grace is real and it is great – it also enables us to recognize sin and to eradicate sin from our lives. Let’s not forget the words of the great divine, John Owens, when he said;
"...the choicest believers, who are assuredly freed from the condemning power of sin, ought yet to make it their business all their days to mortify the indwelling power of sin...Do you mortify; do you make it your daily work; be always at it whilst you live; cease not a day from this work; be killing sin or it will be killing you. Your being dead with Christ virtually, your being quickened with him, will not excuse you from this work." (Mortification of Sin)

1 comment:

pilgrim mommy said...

Good post. Like so many things, "grace" is becoming devoid of its true Biblical meaning. I wonder if grace can only be amazing if we see the sinful wretches that we are.