Gospel of grace

[dropcap]I[/dropcap] sometimes wonder if I ultimately am not trusting in a gospel of my goodness rather than God’s grace. We sing “Amazing grace” but the radical nature of it is long lost if indeed it has ever been known. This is not to say most people who believe themselves to be saved are not; it is to say most have not experienced the breadth of God’s grace even in their own salvation.

Brennan Manning Gospel of Grace

Brennan Manning

Is this possible? Sure. We generally experience all of God that we need, not all of Him that there is. How often do we question the story of another’s experience with God because it does not perfectly match our own? Why do we question the description and activity of grace if it surpasses our own experience? Our experience is not the boundary of God’s power, and we err to think it is.

From Brennan Manning in The Ragamuffin Gospel:

Because salvation is by grace through faith, I believe that among the countless number of people standing in front of the throne and in front of the Lamb, dressed in white robes and holding palm branches in their hands (see Revelation 7:9), I shall see the prostitute from the Kit-Kat Ranch in Carson City, Nevada, who tearfully told me she could find no other employment to support her two-year old son. I shall see the woman who had an abortion and his haunted by guilt and remorse but did the best she could faced with grueling alternatives; the businessman besieged with debt who sold his integrity in a series of desperate transactions; the insecure clergyman addicted to being liked, who never challenged his people from the pulpit and longed for unconditional love; the sexually abused teen molested by his father and now selling his body on the street, who, as he falls asleep each night after his last “trick,” whispers the name of the unknown God he learned about in Sunday School; the deathbed convert who for decades had his cake and ate it, broke every law of God and man, wallowed in lust, and raped the earth.

“But how?” we ask.

Then the voice says, “They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.”

There they are. There we are–the multitude who so wanted to be faithful, who at times got defeated, soiled by life, and bested by trials, wearing the bloodied garments of life’s tribulations, but through it all clung to the faith.

My friends, if this is not good news to you, you have never understood the gospel of grace.

I would only add to Manning, if, while reading the above you do not see the sin of the pastor in the same light as the sin of the prostitutes it may be because you have yet to understand the full depravity of sin.

Marty Duren

Just a guy writing some things.

  • Well said. May radical grace define us because only that can save a wretch like me.

  • Alan Paul

    I have long argued that a person of the pulpit is under the same sin penalty as me, the average joe in the audience. We should not expect them to be any better than us. We are all hopelessly depraved, sailing the same stormy seas of sin, guilt and regret. Yet, I am always challenged by some (especially, if not exclusively, in SBC circles) with the passage that says people of the pulpit will be judged at a higher standard than the rest of us. Hard to argue with that passage as there it is in black and white. And so those people use that passage to prosecute and convict those that sin the very same way they do. I do not. That doesn’t make me better of course than those who do, I just KNOW and BELIEVE that pastors are fallible just like me. Manning, I think, was much more free on this earth than most of us because of his complete reliance on Christ for his salvation and his very life day to day. And he’s certainly free from those shackles now.