Saturday, 29 November 2008

Grace is the Word!

Over the past few months, I've found myself talking about grace a lot. I think some of my students think I'm a bit like a broken record, saying the same thing over and over again. But I've told them I'm fine with that. In fact, I'd be quite happy to have it written on my gravestone one day! In my first few months working for UCCF, it's been made obvious to me again that the gospel of grace is the answer to whatever issue or question I happen to be taling about. And I'm excited about the effects grace is having and will have in the lives of people I spend time with.

Partly because of all this talk about grace, and partly because I spotted it on my bookshelf, I'm reading a great little book by D.L. Moody called "Sovereign Grace." It was published in 1891 (I don't think my copy is that old, but it does have a dedication written in it dated 1933). I've read a few chapters, and I love it. With no time-wasting and no apology, Moody gets straight into the life-transforming subject of grace, and passionately calls the reader to stop trying to earn God's forgiveness and accept it as a free gift. It's brilliant, heart-warming stuff.

I'd love to quote loads of it - it's a very quotable book. And I'm sure in future posts there will be more. But I loved this bit from chapter one. Moody quotes a letter sent to him by a friend (who sadly remains anonymous), and it got me really excited. It's a longish passage, but worth it I think...

"'By the grace of God, I am what I am!' This is the believer's eternal confession. Grace found him a rebel - it leaves him a son. Grace found him wandering at the gates of hell - it leads him through the gates of heaven. Grace devised the scheme of Redemption: Justice never would; Reason never could. And it is grace which carries out that scheme. No sinner ever sought his God but 'by grace.' The thickets of Eden would have proved Adam's grave, had not grace called him out. Saul would have lived and died the haughty self-righteous persecutor, had not grace laid him low. The thief would have continued breathing out his blasphemies, had not grace arrested his tongue and tuned it for glory."


Dave K said...

Grace is great... but I don't know... I think I feel a bit uneasy when grace is personified in the way Moody does in that quote. Grace is always God's after all (Glen Scriviner argues it better than me).

gazleaney said...

Hi Dave, thanks for your comment.

I get what you (and Glen) are saying. I've definitely heard people talk about grace as though it's a magical substance, disconnected from the one who made it possible. But I don't think that's what Moody is doing. I've probably quoted him badly, but he's very clear that there is grace for us sinners only because Jesus graciously gave his life for us. When I read the word grace, I'm pretty sure he means the grace of God.

But I agree, it's a danger that we can talk about it in a wrong way, and end up loving the gospel but not the Saviour who made it possible. Thanks for pointing it out.

Dave K said...

Hmmm... perhaps I need to be more charitable to Moody.