Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Frighteningly Costly Nature of Saving Grace

"Some years ago I met a woman who began coming to Redeemer, the church where I am a minister. She said that she had gone to church growing up and she had always heard that God accepts us only if we are sufficiently good and ethical. She had never heard the message she was now hearing, that we can be accepted by God by sheer grace through the work of Christ regardless of anything we do or have done. She said, 'That's a scary idea! Oh, it's a good scary, but still scary.'

I was intrigued. I asked her what was so scary about unmerited free grace? She replied something like this: 'If I was saved by my good works - then there would be a limit to what God could ask of me or put me through. I would be like a taxpayer with rights. I would have done my duty and now I would deserve a certain quality of life. But if it is really true that I am a sinner saved by sheer grace - at God's infinite cost - then there's nothing He cannot ask of me.'

She could see immediately that the wonderful-beyond-belief teaching of salvation by sheer grace had two edges to it. On the one hand it cut away slavish fear. God loves us freely, despite our flaws and failures. Yet, she also knew that if Jesus really had done this for her - she was not her own. She was bought with a price."

- Tim Keller, The Prodigal God, pp. 120-121

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