Monday, May 31, 2010

The Reason for Grace

Romans 2:4 Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God's kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?

4 ἢ τοῦ πλούτου τῆς χρηστότητος αὐτοῦ καὶ τῆς ἀνοχῆς καὶ τῆς μακροθυμίας καταφρονεῖς, ἀγνοῶν ὅτι τὸ χρηστὸν τοῦ θεοῦ εἰς μετάνοιάν σε ἄγει;

Paul is building his argument about the sinfulness of mankind and the desperate need we all have for God's grace.  Here he asks something of a rhetorical question because the answer should be "no."  Of course, it's not.  It's not for his readers and it certainly isn't for me.

God's grace must lead us to repentance.  If we call ourselves saved and stay exactly where we are then we do not really understand salvation.  We may have drawn a "get out of hell free" card, but we don't really understand salvation.  That is not to say that God demands perfection.  We are always going to be works in progress.  However, we must not be stationary in our pursuit of godliness.  It just is not meant to work that way.

Some of you may wonder why I harp on this so much.  One of the few practices in professing Christendom that upsets me as much as the prosperity gospel is the quest for decisions.  Charles Finney really popularized this.  The idea is to get people to make decisions for Christ and then assure them of their eternal future with God.  That is the most extreme version of decisionism, but it is still quite common in some circles.  Salvation is not a purely emotional decision.  If we are going to make a decision to walk with Christ it has to come with counting the cost of that decision.  Nothing is ever the same once we decide to walk with Him.  Repentance is a part of salvation.  Paul makes that clear here.

I am not saying that works have anything to do with our salvation.  They are a result of it.  They are the fruit that shows what kind of tree we are.

What kind of fruit are you bearing?

1 comment:

JS Allen said...

Good reminder for me; thanks.