Grace Rejected - Part 2

Posted by donna on August 1, 2019

grace.jpgThe apostle Paul when writing to a very complicated and problematic group of believers in Corinth used these words to describe love; Love is patient, love is kind, love does not envy or boast, it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful. It does not rejoice at wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things; believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends (1 Corinthians 13:4-8). The same can be said of grace. Grace is never intrusive in our lives; it is a gift that was paid for by another and is freely offered to each of us.

The Parable of the Prodigal highlights the contrast between hedonism and moralism, and the failure of both in the face of grace. The hedonist easily recognizes this failure. After coming to his senses, the hedonist realizes his waywardness and the waste of his life and resources, and he eagerly accepts grace extended. The moralist, on the other hand, has much more difficulty in accepting grace extended. Enter the elder son, part two.

But he was angry and refused to go in. His father came out and entreated him, but he answered his father, ‘look, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed your command, yet you never gave me a young goat (never mind a fatted calf!), that I might celebrate with my friends’ . . . . And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours’  (Luke 15:28-29, 31).

Grace rejected is seen in all its selfishness and ugliness in moralism. It’s when we reduce the gift of grace to a kind of spiritual or tangible reward for obeying the rules even when our hearts are far from centre. Grace rejected judges those who accept grace extended as not deserving because of the life they’ve lived or the sins they’ve committed. Moralism focuses on the application of the rules and obedience to those rules.

It was the father in the parable of the prodigal, who gives us perspective. The son was angry and would not go into the party, the father therefore comes out to the son. The son would not celebrate (insert: “forgive”); it was the father who forgave, restored and celebrated.

At times, we too often fall into the trap of the elder son. Judging and withholding forgiveness because we somehow believe that obeying the rules makes us better, or more deserving than those other sinners out there! We need to repent of moralism, of rejecting grace, and like the wayward son come before the Father confessing that we are no longer worthy to be called His child.  It is then that we receive the grace that penetrates our very soul and cleanses us from hedonism and moralism.  It is here that we rest secure, restored by the Father, because of His actions, not our own.

The cure for grace rejected is not our own morality, it is recognizing our sin and understanding the very nature of grace. Grace was and is offered to all because the price was paid on the cross. Grace is not dependent in any way on what we do, but on what Jesus did. Letting go of our moralism and our religiosity as the basis for our standing before God is key if we really understand grace that is freely offered and truly embrace and accept it.

Pursuing Grace freely offered,

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Bill Allan

AGC President                                                                                                                                                  

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