Saturday, August 30, 2008

How Grace (Alone) Enables Salvation

Why is it that, "the letter [of the law] kills, but the Spirit gives life"?

As my daughter turns five, I'm learning important lessons about the doctrines of Christianity. Most important recently has been the multi-faceted distinction between Law and Grace.

Law is the external code, the list of rules that proscribe "good" behavior. The Law cannot reward, but only bark orders. There is no relationship within raw Law. And further, we human beings aren't simple robots. We are made to belong, to relate, to love and be loved.

And that's where Grace comes in. Throughout the all the Scriptures God has given his "precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature..." (2 Peter 1:4). This is an amazing thought!

It is the promises of God that enable relationship. They provide the firm and stable parameters of an unchanging relationship, which in turn supplies me with an identity. God's promises determine WHO I AM, and are the tools God is using to bring about a fundamental change in my very being. We call this change "transformation." It is this grand construction (and destruction!) project that unfolds over the course of our lives. By it we are, in the most literal sense, changed into new people.

The more I grasp this Gospel truth, the more passionate I am that my daughter read and memorize and internalize the promises of God contained in books like this one. From her earliest childhood, I need to impress upon my daughter that her performance flows from who she is, and not vica versa.

In other words, being proceeds becoming. This is the firm foundation upon which a child can confidently pursue learning and growing. All the while they know their essence is determined by someone outside themselves...namely the Almighty God who knit them together in their mother's womb.

Proclaim the promises of God! Memorize and meditate upon them. For it is in the promises of God received by faith alone that the Holy Spirit begins his transforming work in our lives. And when the omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent Holy Spirit begins his work in you, well you never know what glory might arise out of the ashes!