Stolen Grace (Shepherd’s Echo)

[The Shepherd’s Echo is a reposting of a previously published TheShepherdsPen.]

Even in the “on demand” society in which we live, most of us understand that there is a protocol to the acquisition of our desires. We do not visit a store and simply take what we want; we realize there is a need abide by socially acceptable norms. We need to pay for it. At times we may be the recipients of items for which we have not been required to pay – those are called gifts. And even in those cases we don’t determine when we take ownership of them, we must wait for the giver to make that decision. We all “get that.” We understand that in the realm of the world, but we have difficulty at times grasping that in the context of God’s economy.

How many of us are willing to run to our favorite sin knowing full well it is offensive to God, yet expecting to be completely forgiven of it by playing the grace card? “It doesn’t really matter that much, cause I am saved. Christ paid for that sin.” I think we all do that to some degree whether or not we see it in our own lives. And though it is true that the blood of Christ paid for our sins, should we be so presumptuous, so careless as to toss grace around like a borrowed credit card?  … If we are so quick to do that, what does that say about our hearts? Continue reading “Stolen Grace (Shepherd’s Echo)”

The ‘Good’ Criminal

What an incredible picture of grace we see in the 23rd chapter of the Gospel of Luke!

Christ is advancing to His crucifixion, the pinnacle of redemptive history to the world, and along the way we read in verse 32, “Two others also, who were criminals, were being led away to be put to death with Him.” It may seem a bit benign, but I believe that statement is loaded with significance. These two guys are mentioned in each of the other Gospels as well; John calls them men, Matthew and Mark refer to them as “robbers,” but only Luke refers to them as criminals, more specifically “evildoers.” And Luke is the only Gospel which communicates the affirmative response of one of the subjects. You see, I believe this verse is so important because these two men represent the extremes of humanity. Somewhere in the two, we should see ourselves. Continue reading “The ‘Good’ Criminal”

Merit Badges

Many are extolling honor and proclaiming accolades upon the Eagle Scout in Southern California for his accomplishment of earning 131 merit badges. The young man has been hard at work at the task for well over a decade. He has invested countless hours earning each one, which demonstrates discipline in many different areas, and in part, reveals his character. As a partial reward he is recognized as only one of two kids, who have ever received all of the merit badges offered by the Boy Scouts of America. Wow, Kid! Pretty cool.

We look at this and can certainly appreciate this feat, but most of us would cringe at the thought of putting in such effort. Yet, don’t we often feel this needs to be done to “earn” the grace of our God? Don’t we feel at times that we need to earn our salvation? Don’t we “work at it” just a little too often thinking we can merit anything? It seems to us that’s just part of our nature. Continue reading “Merit Badges”

Stolen Grace

Even in the “on demand” society in which we live, most of us understand that there is a protocol to the acquisition of our desires. We do not visit a store and simply take what we want; we realize there is a need abide by socially acceptable norms. We need to pay for it. At times we may be the recipients of items for which we have not been required to pay – those are called gifts. And even in those cases we don’t determine when we take ownership of them, we must wait for the giver to make that decision. We all “get that.” We understand that in the realm of the world, but we have difficulty at times grasping that in the context of God’s economy.

How many of us are willing to run to our favorite sin knowing full well it is offensive to God, yet expecting to be completely forgiven of it by playing the grace card? “It doesn’t really matter that much, cause I am saved. Christ paid for that sin.” I think we all do that to some degree whether or not we see it in our own lives. And though it is true that the blood of Christ paid for our sins, should we be so presumptuous, so careless as to toss grace around like a borrowed credit card?  … If we are so quick to do that, what does that say about our hearts? Continue reading “Stolen Grace”