Wednesday, September 10, 2008

"Ungospel"

"In the public square Christians are sadly known as people who specialize in judging others - who is moral and immoral, who is saved and who is damned. To a certain extent we do need to be able to evaluate our world, and to recognize things that are messed around us. Everyone does in fact do this. It's impossible not to. But the response that should characterize us as Christians is that of grace not condemnation. Grace recognizes that there is real wrong and hurt, real sin and evil in us and in our world, but instead of responding with condemnation, grace responds by "always hoping, always believing, always trusting".

Grace does not deny or ignore the reality of brokenness in our lives, it does not pretend that we are not screwed up. Instead Grace defiantly loves and hopes in the face of our failure and stupidness. Grace counterintuitively seeks to redeem the lost causes. It looks at the reality of our world filled with suffering and injustice and insists that despite all this, we choose to believe that God's grace will still win the day.Grace is what we should be known for as followers of Christ, but sadly we Christians are largely known for what Phillip Yancy has called 'ungrace'. Ungrace is "that state of being in which self-righteousness and pride are a result of thinking that we have somehow earned God's approval and may now stand in judgment in his behalf."

In a rather amusing passage from Church Dogmatics Karl Barth sums up how ridiculous we look when we try and take on God's roll in judging, "Man thinks he sits on a high thrown, but in reality he sits only on a child's stool, blowing his little trumpet, cracking his little whip, pointing with frightful seriousness his little finger, while all the time nothing happens that really matters. He can only play the judge." (CD IV/2 60.2, p.446)

We may think we are battling for God in our outspoken condemnation of wrong around us, but if we are not doing this in a radical spirit of grace, then we are simply not representing Christ and God. If there is one single sin in the New Testament that is seen as the most severe, the most harmful, it is the loveless judgmentalism exhibited by the religious leaders. The harshest words of Jesus are reserved for condemning exatly this sin, and Paul in Galatians has a cow when that church begins to buy into this way, asking them incredulously if they have completely lost their minds and telling them that in following this way of judgment and law they have "fallen away from grace". He means that quite literally because the way of judgmentalism exhibited by the religious leaders of our day is the opposite of grace. It is, Paul says, and 'ungospel'."

from the Rebel God

6 comments:

Alan Hiu said...

Awakening is here Craig. It seems that everywhere is the same around the world; Christian is torn between two lovers... Mr. Law and Mr. Grace.

Craig Glenn said...

I hear you Allan...Mr Law and Mr Grace...why do we always want to run to Mr Law when in fact he doesnt do anything for us, but point out our faults and shortcomings...Mr Grace has been trying to win our love for only He knows how long...

RJW said...

Craig,
This post put me in mind of all the atrocities committed world- wide throughout history in the name of God. We are called to love...and yet we find ourselves on our little stool tooting our horn (for Him, we think)and sitting in judgement.
Thank God for Grace. When we encounter Grace, we are then able to grace others.
Thank you for "introducing" us to Alan through your blog. We are so blessed by you both!

Craig Glenn said...

Thanks bro (Ryan or Jamie :-))..I am glad i started blogging myself, cause i have found a "world" of grace that i never knew existed...by a "world" i mean cyber ;-)...but, i know its real in the hearts of many men and woman around the planet just eager to see grace outworked in His bride and the unsaved...its great to be a part of what God is doing in this grace revolution that we all so eagerly write, think and talk about...come Lord Jesus come...

Alan Hiu said...

Remember my post "Can I help You, Lord?" which you had a good laugh? That is why we are here for. Just let Him flow out of us

Bino M. said...

Great words!