It’s easy to nod and agree with the idea of grace.
It’s easy to say “amen” when we hear someone proclaim the beauty and necessity of having grace toward one another.
But when we’re “in the moment” – particularly a moment of confrontation with someone holding a position or advocating a cause with which we really, really, really disagree…well…then the whole grace thing tends to look a little different to us. In that sort of situation the lofty, beautiful principle of grace seems to find itself tossed out the window or trampled underfoot as we make a beeline towards pummeling “the enemy”.
Are there times to be hard and confrontational with someone?
Is pointed and even at times crude language appropriate in certain situations?
Oh yes, to be sure.
Are there conversational contexts that warrant – and even demand – that we man up, suit up, and vigorously fight for the Kingdom of God?
Even so, we should always be pursuing and praying for clarity as to when those situations exist and precisely how to handle each of them as the individual events that they are.
As we engage more and more frequently on subjects that seemed to be so “out there” on the margins just a decade ago – issues like “gay marriage”, transgenderism, and the redefining/undefining of family – we find ourselves confronted by (and confronting) what appear to be (and often are) people possessed by ideas (and other things) that not so long ago were viewed as insane by default to 99% of the population.
But no more.
These days in ‘Merica, you can’t even rely on a consistent definition of basic terms like “boy” and “girl”.
Since we’ve been purposefully placed in this dying culture to engage the particular opinions and advocates that are escorting the culture to ruin, we are well served to remind ourselves of the essential core beauty of biblical grace in our lives, with emphasis on how that grace informs the manner in which we conduct ourselves in debates, confrontations, and life in general.
We’re all works in progress, and we will never “fully arrive” at perfection in action on this side of eternity, but we are to strive for that perfection nonetheless and, by God’s grace, we will make progress – actual, measurable, tangible progress over time.
That “by God’s grace” part there is the thing we can’t gloss over.
Every bit of progress, every bit of improvement, and every bit of growth through the trials, challenges, and battles that He leads us through is all by His grace.
In that spirit, I thought it might be a good time to re-share some thoughts on this subject as posted back in a 2015 article entitled Never forget that apart from God’s grace you and I are complete morons:
“Probably the easiest thing for us to forget is that each and every little bit of truth that we’ve learned or blessing that we’ve enjoyed has come completely by way of the grace of God. There is not one single solitary little thing that we’ve truly earned in and of ourselves, aside from hell and damnation. Every better-than-hell bit of life that we enjoy is entirely a result of God’s grace upon us.
For who sees anything different in you? What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it?
~ 1 Corinthians 4:7 (emphasis added)
Every good thing is a gift from God.
Every bit of true knowledge is a gift from God, given by the grace of God, all to the glory of God, and all for the benefit of His people.
When we understand (by the grace of God) and embrace (by the grace of God) this beautiful core principle of reality as God has crafted it, we will find ourselves protected from three great dangers:
1. Pride. Pride is the gateway through which all other sin marches. When we believe that we have earned, learned or achieved anything by our own might, we are in a satanic mode of thought that will, apart from repentance, inevitably produce increasing pain, darkness, and ultimately death. Make no mistake: God despises pride.
2. Arrogance. When we see our knowledge, prosperity, status, health, property, looks, intelligence, or strength as our own doing, we are inherently inclined to feel superior to those who have less than we seem to possess in any of these areas. We can then tend to look down on them personally for not knowing or doing what we know and do by the grace of God. This arrogance then taints (and in some cases destroys) our legitimate confrontation and correction of error through the Gospel-fueled Great Commission (see: Matthew 28:18-20).
3. Laziness. When we rightly understand that not only has God given us every good thing that we know or experience, but that He has done so purposefully so that we might “take every thought” and thereby every action “captive to Christ” (see: 2 Corinthians 10:5), we will not fall for the wildly popular false pietism dominating the scene these days, which tells us that Christians are “too spiritual” to actually take things like law, politics, art, economics, business, technology, and pretty much any other realm of life in “the real world” captive to Christ.
So when we’re tempted to act out in frustration with a Brother or Sister in Christ who doesn’t yet understand the Word of God on a particular subject, let’s have good and proper grace, remembering that there but by the grace of God go we. Really.
We must still be clear about hard and challenging truths. We must still stand firmly on the Word of God in its entirety and in detail. We must still confront and correct error.
Because that what true love does.
But as we strive to pursue true loving obedience to the Lord who saved us even while we still hated Him, let us never forget that apart from the grace of God you and I are complete morons.”
I hope that this reminder is helpful.
Soli Deo gloria…and let’s roll!
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You can also help support the Fire Breathing Christian mission by checking out these books:
Stupid Elephant Tricks – The Other Progressive Party’s War on Christianity takes a painful but much needed look at how Christ-less “conservatism” has captivated Christians and co-opted them into helping march the culture ever deeper into darkness:
The Beginning of Knowledge: Christ as Truth in Apologetics is an approachable, easy to read introduction to Christ-centered apologetics:
Apathetic Christianity: The Zombie Religion of American Churchianity explores the tragic true horror story of all-American dead religion masquerading as Christianity:
On Education is a compilation of some of the most provocative and compelling Fire Breathing Christian articles on the subject of children’s education:
There Is No “God-Given Right” To Worship False Gods is a compilation of some of the most provocative Fire Breathing Christian articles on the subject of America’s embrace of a satanic approach to religious liberty:
Fire Breathing Christians – The Common Believer’s Call to Reformation, Revival, and Revolution is the book that first presented the FBC mission to apply the Gospel-fueled Great Commission in every realm of God’s creation:
An alternate white cover version of Fire Breathing Christians is available:
There is also an alternate black cover version of Fire Breathing Christians:
Finally, here are a few good intro/reminder links for those of you who are new to Fire Breathing Christian and curious about exactly what’s goin’ on ’round here:
And especially this one: Never forget that apart from God’s grace you and I are complete morons.