About a month ago, I encountered a kind of teaching that particularly caught my interest. It’s about the grace of God. If you’re in Metro Manila area and you’ve heard of this, chances are that you have a family or friend who suddenly stopped attending your church because he or she is drawn to this “liberating” doctrine of the love of God.
The teaching of grace isn’t really new. For many years now, I have been a big believer of the doctrine of grace as taught by Charles Swindoll. Swindoll, in quoting D. Martyn Lloyd Jones, wrote that the true preaching of the gospel of salvation by grace alone always comes with a risk that people would misunderstand and take it to a certain extreme. That is okay. Even Paul anticipated that reaction from his readers in Romans 6. Lloyd Jones went as far as saying that to be misunderstood is probably the test that a preacher really preached the gospel of grace.
You see, grace has always been radical. If it’s not radical, it’s probably not grace. Grace goes against every grain of our instincts. Where we expect retribution and punishment, grace is a shocking, unbelievable deliverance.
The teachings of radical grace, on the other hand, have some new peculiarities to it. Their major points are rooted in the Bible. But like the prosperity gospel that tilted a little too much on wealth and health doctrines, this gospel of grace could also tilt a little too much on one side to the neglect of other key points of Scripture if we are not careful. We don’t want that to happen. The Bible is a big book with lots of stuff in it. While grace is one important, indispensable, key doctrine of the Bible, other important things are also mentioned in there. Things like world missions, Biblical worship, holiness, discipleship, justification, purity, honor, sanctification, peace, finances, baptism, Holy Spirit, etc.
I do not presume that these things are equal in importance and are all essential for salvation. I’m just saying that picking up one key doctrine and majoring on it is a bit narrow. To live a spiritually healthy life, we need to factor into our belief system the other parts of the Bible, not just the ones we feel closest to.
This series of blog posts is my humble attempt to make sense of this whole radical grace thing. I believe that God employed grace to save and sustain us. Every morning when I wake up, I can recognize it all around me. Where would I be without the grace by which I stand?
But at the same time, I do not wish to blow it out of proportions. There are tons of verses on holiness and the wrath of God in the Bible too. And that’s the sobering part for me. As much as I would like to slouch and enjoy the warm, fluffy blessings of grace, there are parts of the Bible that are too strong to be neglected. I can’t just bury them under the rug and pretend they don’t exist.
So with a prayer and a humble heart, I embark on this journey of going over the Scriptures to study this wonderful gift of grace. This is a long topic. What you see so far is an incomplete picture of how grace looks like, at least in my head. May the Lord bless your reading of this series.
READ OTHER POSTS ON THIS SERIES