Friday, May 02, 2008

Walking Away From Grace

"Is your experience of grace so light that you can walk away from the cross?"

The question is from the 'May 1' reading of D. A. Carson's For the Love of God (Volume Two.) He is writing chiefly about Hebrews 6 but is also alluding more broadly to the theology of other New Testament writers John and Paul.

A little background...

By "experience of grace" Carson is referring to conversion to Christianity or at least what appears to be conversion to Christianity, and by "the cross" he is speaking of the whole of the biblical account of the most important event in the record of Jesus - his death on the cross to pay for the sin of mankind and his subsequent resurrection. While Jesus is the basis for Christianity, it is the "cross of Christ" which is the very purpose of his humanity.

Back to Carson's question...

The question serves strongly in communicating on many levels the true grace of God as it concerns any person and his or her experience of coming to understand and know the significance of what Jesus has done and the way in which one is accepted "in Christ" by faith - by simply (yet truly) believing. At a deeper level, the question appears to be rooted in the larger teaching of the Bible of the inconceivably great glory of God. In the book of Exodus Moses is spoken to by God in the burning bush. Could Moses have simply ignored this with apathy? For the Apostle Paul, the resurrected Jesus appeared to him suddenly and left him blind for a period. Could Paul (already a theist) have simply walked away and shrugged off his encounter? For the John the Apostle, he had known the person of Jesus for a long time and then seen the death and resurrection firsthand. Could John have walked away with ease? There are others in the Bible who will not believe even if they see one raised from the dead.

Carson's question bears repeating as any person would consider that they have come to trust in the person of Jesus Christ: Is your experience of grace so light that you can walk away from the cross?

People walk away from Christianity every day. Why? The reasons are countless but ultimately the reason has to be that they never had a true "experience of grace" in the first place. The weight of the truth of the gospel is so overwhelming for the one who gains a true taste of what it means to have forgiveness and life in Jesus that it is difficult (I'd even say "impossible") to find any person who has truly come to understand the meaning of this who can ignore the truths of who Jesus is and simply walk away.

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