Friday, June 17, 2011

Are you too bad to receive grace?

There are four people that come to mind when I think of those who have helped me grow in the grace of God lavished on me in the Gospel of Christ. Two of them I know. One is my wife, Bev. She gets the Gospel and she always helps me apply it to the situations I bring to her. The other is my pastor, Mike Bullmore, who taught me about The Functional Centrality of the Gospel. The other two I do not know personally. One of them is Jerry Bridges and his book The Pursuit of Holiness which taught me how to preach the Gospel to myself. The other person is David Powlison who taught me how to counsel myself and others in the Gospel. It was his book Seeing With New Eyes that opened my eyes, particularly his chapter of X-Ray questions and another chapter entitled, "Who is God"? Here is a snippet:

Grace woos and comforts us when we think we are too far gone to be rescued. How could you be too bad to receive what is for the bad? Perhaps you are tempted to despair about yourself. Perhaps someone you counsel is tempted to give up: “God could not possibly love me or help me. My failures are too much, too often, too strong. My sins are incurable. My situation is hopeless. I’m stuck and will never change. God is as disgusted with me as I am disgusted with myself.” Is there anyone whose badness exceeds the diagnosis God makes of each of us?
You were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. (Ephesians 2:1-3)
If the diagnostic shoe fits, wear it. But then look at the wonderful, specific cure! Is there anyone whose badness is so bad that it exceeds the scope and power of the cure?
“But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved” (Eph 2:4f).
God lavishes grace on us in Christ.

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