“Through him we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in our hope of sharing the glory of God.”
I had given her a book to read which layed out a Lutheran understanding of the Christian faith. She came from a Christian church which placed much emphasis on works, on gaining spiritual ground in this life which would translate into rewards in the next. After finishing the book she came back to see me. Her comment? “You Lutherans have it too easy. Everything depends on grace.”
This young woman is not alone in her assessment. Strange at may seem to those of us who have been nurtured in a church where grace is central, many Christians are suspicious of reliance on grace. One Christian has gone so far as to call the Lutheran Church a “grace cult”.
When Paul wrote the Christians in Rome, whom he had never met, he anticipated their objections to his message of grace when he wrote, “What shall we say? That we sin all the more so grace will abound all the more”? Paul must have run into this question a thousand times.
Paul knew full well that grace seems easy and bland, a cop out, only to those who do not fully appreciate the gravity of sin, who have not seriously tried to meet the demands of God’s law. God does not grade on the curve. Have you tried, really tried to love God with all your heart and soul and mind and strength and you neighbor as yourself? How about striving for righteousnes, purity of heart?
Paul did and so did Martin Luther. And what happened? They pursued a ‘godly life’ with such fervor that it drove them to the wall. They came to see the towering righteousness of God as an impossible mountain to climb.
Now, it is “… through Him that we obtain access to this grace in which we stand.” Grace has not come to us at some bargain basement price. It is not a cheap remedy for a bland illness. Grace has come through Him, through the crucified and risen Jesus. Blood was shed. A death occurred. A funeral took place. Wonderul, beautiful Jesus was cast away like so much unwanted trash. That is the cost of grace.
Those who object to the sufficiency of grace have yet to appreciate the gravity of their sin and the greatness of Christ. But when these two meet, then we can truly rejoice and proclaim from the rooftops, “Everything depends on grace!”
“May the peace of God that passes all understanding keep you hearts and minds in Christ Jesus our Lord.”