Friday, March 23, 2012

Championed By Grace

"My life is a witness to vulgar grace -- a grace that amazes as it offends. A grace that pays the eager beaver who works all day long the same wage as the grinning drunk who shows up at ten till five. A grace that hikes up the robe and runs breakneck toward the prodigal reeking of sin and wraps him up and decides to throw a party, no ifs, ands, or buts. A grace that raises bloodshot eyes to a dying thief's request -- "Please, remember me" -- and assures him, "You bet!"

...This vulgar grace is indiscriminate compassion. It works without asking anything of us. It's not cheap. It's free, and as such will always be a banana peel for the orthodox foot and a fairy tale for the grown-up sensibility. Grace is sufficient even though we huff and puff with all our might to try and find something or someone that it cannot cover. Grace is enough..." Brennan Manning, All Is Grace

All that passing laws against sin did was produce more lawbreakers. But sin didn't, and doesn't, have a chance in competition with the aggressive forgiveness we call grace. When it's sin versus grace, grace wins hands down. All sin can do is threaten us with death, and that's the end of it. Grace, because God is putting everything together again through the Messiah, invites us into life—a life that goes on and on and on, world without end. Romans 5:20:21

Vulgar, aggressive? Not the kind of words our sense of propriety would link with Grace. God was not so particular. A song lyric says "Grace makes beauty out of ugly things." Does it ever. Did it ever. Grace in the extreme, hanging naked and dead on a Roman cross. Grace exsanguinated, heart and lungs collapsed, pierced. Grace, face caked in a mask of blood. Grace nailed tight to our sins. Grace closing the deal.

More than a momentary passion, more than a spasm, it is Grace completing the will of God and reclaiming our place at the table by paying an unimaginable price. A bare-knuckle-grace in a winner take all fight to the death by our Champion.

So that is how our release based on His obedience was secured. What then is our part? To believe on the One who was sent and to cease from sinning. To live free, with thanksgiving, in the land His love and sacrifice purchased.

So what do we do? Keep on sinning so God can keep on forgiving? I should hope not! If we've left the country where sin is sovereign, how can we still live in our old house there? Or didn't you realize we packed up and left there for good? That is what happened in baptism. When we went under the water, we left the old country of sin behind; when we came up out of the water, we entered into the new country of grace—a new life in a new land! Romans 6:1-3
My Father-God,

I renounce my sin.

I renounce all my own efforts to gain your favor.

I choose to accept Christ as my Champion.

I choose to live in a Grace-Sovereign country.

May Christ remember me as He did the thief.

I embrace an open Paradise.


Practicing contrition and gratitude in this season of Lent, -Kat

Painting by Stephen Sawyer @ Art for God

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