The Nature of Grace

I am struck with the problem of Christian’s separating themselves from other Christians because they come to understand grace in a new way.

It is true that when we begin to see what Christ really did on the cross and what has been given to us through the resurrection of our Lord and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, we are amazed (struck) with how very different the gospel is from what we had thought. We begin to enter into horizons that we have not seen before in the Word and in our personal relationship with the Lord. It is amazing and wonderful!

However, the very nature of grace is of course, the nature of Christ in us. He is not a separatist. He has not separated Himself from those that differ with Him. As we grow in Jesus, “seek His face,” He will disclose to us things we have not seen before and that others around us may not understand — yet. However, when we then find fault with what we hear in our church and in our fellowships and we begin to separate ourselves, there is a problem. You see, grace includes. It is not exclusive and it is not a “doctrine” to use to separate the Body of Christ. It is the very nature of Christ in us.

I know there are some good reasons to move from one congregation to another, but frankly, most of what I hear are excuses for not growing up in Jesus. There are ways to leave, change and be included elsewhere. I am not broadsiding that in this post. (Although all who know me, know I believe deeply in being part of a local body and being in that body until it is clearly seen that the appointment is to another group. That appointment will be witnessed to by many). The ease in which we come and go with this alarms me.

When I hear of “grace understanding” becoming a reason for separating — I am really alarmed because of the very nature of grace itself. It has included me, even when I differed with its full understanding (and I know I have not come to a “full understanding” and probably will not do so until I am face to face with my Jesus). So I, in grace, need to extend that same grace to others and love and enjoy them in our Jesus.

I am thoroughly into grace and learning more and more of what is true in Christ Jesus for me and for each believer. I have seen much in this past year that has me excited and delighted in Him.  If that does not spill over when I differ with others, then I have yet to really get a hold on grace. He “graciously” continues to include me – in-spite of my lack of understanding. I am compelled to do the same with others, don’t you think?

9 thoughts on “The Nature of Grace

  1. Hi Tiffany – nice to meet you also. Thanks so for visiting and for commenting. I lived in Colo a few years during my childhood – early teen years — about 150 miles south of you. We took most of our family vacations there in the Springs area. I love the state and its evident “God beauty.”

  2. Iris…you make some very good points here. Growing in grace has so many new adventures attached with it. I am amazed at the depth and unending life that comes through its understanding.

    Your thought can be read in more than one way though. I will apply it to my life as it stands today. In my pursuit for understanding and “seeking His face”, I did end up leaving a church as you know. My reasons were many also. Looking back today I think I can honestly say I would not do a thing differently (aside from being more tender with those who were hurt deeply upon my leaving)I feel it is all part of my experience in knowing the Lord; and putting things into perspective as to how my knowing him plays out naturally in my relations with other people.

    as I gained more and more understanding in the area of my own disenchantment with the church I had grown away from it. I’m talking about the “Church” in general. It seemed that my view of what the church was NOT had a lot to do with my need to seek something with deeper meaning. Meaning which could only be found through the immeasurable grace and mercy of our Lord.

    I was not upset though that people were not preaching the grace message or in how things were being done, but more so I felt myself being pulled more and more in the direction of other belief systems than the ones I had known. This was quite a transition and you have been with me on this Journey. My heart and mind has been open to the beauty that surrounds me. Beauty I find in the faces and hearts of those who do not necessarily believe as I do as well as those who do. It seems through it all I have found that the scope of God’s grace extends into areas and dimensions that I will likely never truly understand; at least not while I am in this body here on earth.

    My disconnect from the church was due to a strong distaste for the commercialization of religion. I feel I lived a lie or an “ideal” for what a Christian is for several years before I began to question some things. In and through the questioning, I came to many truths about what I was doing versus what I feel the Lord truly wanted me to be doing.

    Searching for what is real and true is the underlying force that drove my thoughts and inevitably my actions. Still in a state of disenchantment with the “Church” or should I say religion. My heart seeks something simpler. Life transforming from the inside out instead of me trying so hard to do what I thought a Christian should do.

    I allowed the church to put me in a box. I take full responsibility for that, but again…I would not trade a bit of what I have gone through because it has taught me much and still continues the teach me. It is by his grace that any of this could be so. So I am filled with gratitude in regards to my experiences. I still attend church and surround myself with fellow believers, but my life outside the church seems to have balanced out.

    My relationships with those I work with and encounter outside of my church have greater meaning than any other time in my life. I am learning to cherish each relationship as a gift from the Lord and this is not something I myself would be able to do. It is by his grace that any of it is possible. My disenchantment with the “Church” and religion led to a deeper relationship with Jesus. I praise Him alone for that;)

    • Hi Friend,

      You know I know your journey. I was not trying at all to make “one size fit all.” Many have similar journeys. Your love for those you left behind is beautiful and has been there through-out your journey. This is commendable.

      You know I have consistently encouraged you to not give up on a corporate body. All such bodies have problems. Sometimes we need distance for a period of time to do as you have done. However, we need, eventually to return to a group setting and work with others. I wrote this post in response to some I am reading who chuck the whole thing because of their own “fuller” understanding. All of us need the wider body eventually.

      You and your Lord (and Ray too) are the ones who will govern your timing. I know your heart and the post was not intended for correction to you or others who share with me their journeys. Your hearts have remained open, loving and tender. Remember I said it was about the “ease” of leaving that I see happening with many.

      • Iris…I was not feeling at all as though you were speaking to my situation. I am not at all offended by your thoughts and insights either. Your post stirred something in me that compelled me to put my thoughts in writing, that is all. I realize how you meant it. No need for explanation.

        Sometimes the written word does not convey the true heart behind things. I truly did not mean my comment to seem an explanation to you either. I know you understand my heart. You bless me in your wisdom. That’s why I keep coming back. Blessings my friend. I love you;)

  3. What a wise post, Iris. Once I would have found it very strange to find that GRACE (of all things) could be a tool for division, judgement, and self-righteous behavior. I saw the “grace camp” as seperatists first hand, and at one point, as a new pastor, was seen as legalistic just because my vocabulary wasn’t quite what some thought it should be. It was semantics, not lack of awareness, at least that’s my opinion.

    It was pretty painful.

    And sadly, even though my whole life is one big gift of grace, I don’t think I communicated the wonders of God’s grace as well as I would have wanted to for my congregation…no going back. But at least there is always the going forward!

    How unutterably distressing that we humans can use something as deep, wide, unfathomable and wondrous as the grace of God as a means to deivide. When we begin to see something new and true and wonderful, there always is a temptation, sometimes a VERY strong temptation, to pull our newfound robes of understanding around us…found myself doing that more than once about something.

    Sigh. Thankfully, we are still on this journey towards conformaty to the image of Christ. Sometimes I wonder why God puts up with us…oh, that’s right. Grace. (Grinning here.)

    • Hi Dorcas, you are so precious to read and comment here. I appreciate your words. It is strange that the very things that are intended to unite us often divide us instead…ie…Holy Spirit, baptism, communion …just to name a few. And now we add grace to the list. When we began to realize how wonderful it is and how free it is given to us, it has the power to release us in love instead of confining our borders. We are sad sometimes, so true, but God and but grace!

    • Wish you were closer too. I think we would enjoy one another in Him as we discover His grace together. He is precious to let us do that, even across the miles. I appreciate you, Dorcas. I can’t hug to you literally, but in my heart I am hugging you dear sister.

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