For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 2 Cornithians 2:2
I have mentioned before the lack of Jesus on the gentle Christian mothers forum pages. There is lot of talk about personality types, how to dress according to your energy, and other such psychobabble. One biblical term that is talked a great deal about though is grace.
What is grace? Unmerited favor on sinners who deserve God’s wrath.
Where does grace come from? “For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” John 1:17
Why are we given grace? We need it! We are all sinners who will have to pay the penalty for the sin we commit against God unless we are given undeserved favor from the Lord Himself. (2 Thes 1:5-12; Ephesians 2:4-9; Romans 5:6-9;)
Sin, Guilt, Confession
Whether you are an anti-spanker or spanker, sometimes parents respond to their child’s sin with sin themselves. Sin in response to sin, what do you do with that? How do GCMers respond when they confess to the other members that they weren’t nice to their child (more like confess they had “big feelings” over their child’s “big feelings”)? A lot of times the advice is, “Don’t be so hard on yourself. Give yourself grace.” Jesus is not mentioned. The Christian should know that when we are feeling guilty over our parenting, we have a wonderful Savior who died for our sins. Instead of remaining in the sin and guilt, confess the sin. Humble yourself before God and your child; confess your sin to God, confess your sin to your child. Point your child to Jesus’ work on the cross for the forgiveness of your sin and your child’s sin. Go back to the gospel. This is what the Christian who sinned needs to be reminded of when guilt stricken.
Always pointing people to grace without the mention of Christ is pointing people to themselves. It is the work of Christ that is so amazing. What is grace without Christ? It might be fine for non-Christians to give that advice to other non-Christians. What do they know about the need for repentance? What do they know of the freedom that comes through Christ Jesus our Lord? But the believer has forgiveness through Christ and His grace! We need to hear it. We need to be pointed back to Christ and not to ourselves.
“The gospel news of salvation by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone is summed up with three words—ransomed, redeemed, and reconciled. Those whom Christ has ransomed by His atonement on the cross He has redeemed and, therefore, reconciled them to Himself intimately and eternally.” — Harry Reeder
Grace is often reduced to what Dietrick Bonhoeffer referred to as “cheap grace”.
“Cheap grace is the grace we bestow on ourselves. Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance…cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Cost of Discipleship (Source)
Vanessa, from Hearts on Guard, said this about cheap grace.
“Grace is cheapened, sugar-coated, spread around with happy platitudes and warm-fuzzy pictures and songs. Declarations of our awesomeness, holiness and righteousness ring out, and any call for repentance, any mention of our old Adam is hushed and called displeasing to God.”
Look at Paul’s writings. He encourages churches. How? Not by giving meaningless platitudes, but by always pointing them to their Lord and Savior. I recommend anyone who is reading this, spend time in the books that Paul wrote. See how he always mentions Christ. When Paul mentions sin, Christ is mentioned. When he mentions grace, Christ is mentioned. The following few verses don’t even wait a few lines to link grace with Christ. Romans 3:24; 2 Timothy 1:9; 2 Timothy 2:1. Let us encourage one another like Paul. Let us not leave out Christ!
Not a License to Sin
Some GCMers cheapen grace by using it as an excuse to sin. I will not say anything more on it in this post, but refer you to my post entitled Legalism. God’s word says:
For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. Jude 4
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. Titus 2:11-14
A great song about grace and Christ by Sovereign Grace Music.
Now Why This Fear?
Now why this fear and unbelief?
Has not the Father put to grief
His spotless Son for us?
And will the righteous Judge of men
Condemn me for the debt of sin
Now canceled at the cross?Jesus, all my trust is in Your blood
Jesus, You’ve rescued us
Through Your great love
Complete atonement You have made
And by Your death have fully paid
The debt Your people owed
No wrath remains for us to face
We’re sheltered by Your saving grace
And sprinkled with Your blood
How sweet the sound of saving grace
How sweet the sound of saving grace
Christ died for me
Be still my soul and know this peace
The merits of your great high priest
Have bought your liberty
Rely then on His precious blood
Don’t fear your banishment from God
Since Jesus sets you free