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13 May 2010

our contribution to grace

In looking at a few different perspectives on grace (I was actually seeking perspectives on the grace we're to have for other people, but found it impossible to fail to look at God's grace toward us), I found this excellent illustration of grace as described in Ephesians 2:8-9:

To make even the slightest contribution to our salvation is to rule out the possibility of grace. For one thing, any contribution on our part would be exaggerated in our own minds. Someone has told the story of a man who was condemned to death for embezzlement. The royal family took pity on the man, however, and determined to help him. The king contributed $2000 from the royal treasury, while the queen gave $1000 and the crown prince $980. The people in the gallery passed the plate and collected another contribution of $19.90. The total amount of $3999.90 was only a dime short of that which was required, but it was not enough. The king reluctantly said that the man had to die. The crowd in the gallery sighed. Suddenly the condemned man reached into his pocket and found a dime, just what he needed. He was free!

The point of this story is that no matter how small the contribution of the condemned man, it would become, in his mind, of too great importance. God is demonstrating His grace to the world and the angelic hosts (Ephesians 1:3-12), and He will not share His glory with sinful man. It is either all of grace or it is not grace at all.


Tony M said...

At first I'm thinking, "Hey, I don't remember reading that story in the Bible, even allowing for conversion to modern currency instead of archaic..."

Then I realized, "Wait, that illustration is not what is 'as described' in Ephesians - it's just the illustration of the GRACE described in Ephesians."

Anyway, yes, a very good point: all grace or not grace at all. And a great illustration; thanks for sharing it!

John King said...

A question an comment. If we are All Created in His Image. Than Grace is Already instilled in our hearts. Is that Correct? Its those who ignore Gods Word. lost an unsaved. Somewhere deep in there heart is Grace. I think its our Responsibilty to show Grace an Pray for these people. However, if the refuse to recevie your grace. I belive you should continue to Pray, but move on in order to help those who truly want to walk in His Light. Please CORRECT Me if im OFF Base. An by others wittnessing your grace I belive it spreads. That makes God to me very Happy.
I have a few other thoughts on Grace. I will share those later.

Dean Lusk said...

@John, sorry this response is so late!

One of the things that people have is the knowledge of good and evil. I don't believe that because we were created in God's image we automatically have a tendency to show grace. But... grace is something that operates out of the knowledge of good, so I suppose that it could be said that grace is instilled in our hearts (I know atheists who show grace to people, for instance). But it's not the natural way a person will tend to go.

Regarding people who won't receive grace, I think that Matthew 10:5-16 is an example of what you're talking about.

It's important to note that Jesus told the apostles to shake the dust off their sandals only after they had "Heal[ed] the sick, raise[d] the dead, cure[d] those with leprosy, and cast out demons" and had given as freely as they had received. That's a lot of effort, and in my case -- when I'm so fed up that I'm ready to stop giving grace (which is more often than I'd care to admit) -- I'm always reminded of how often God forgave the ancient Jews after they repeatedly turned away from Him. When they came to Him and repented, God almost always forgave them and restored them.

This stuff very literally applies to life. Too often I've been guilty of trying to have the perfect theology. It's easier to look at concepts on paper (or the screen) than it is for me to live them out. Know what I mean?

John King said...

hi Dean,
Sorry for my delay in my response.
After rereading your opening question. Now I think I get it. Again correct me if im off base. I agree you or anyone can't be a Man of 100% total Grace. I don't think anyone could be except Jesus. Because he was Perfect. but if we do attempt to try always to show grace. When we mess up. If we confess our sin. an learn from it. I think thats Gods plan for us. to constantly learn everyday. You ended with the fact you have a hard time sometimes showing Grace. I think that you are being too hard on yourself. Look at your brothers like me. Imature in Christ. But wanting to learn. You lift us up by being honest when were incorrect in our walk in His Light. Remember the Truth sometimes does hurt. Its what we do afterwards. If we ignore the truth. Or if we grow with the truth. am I even close?

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