You don’t have to go to a church, or ever even visit one to know that in church you are probably going to be told to do something. Whether that is to actively do something or refrain from doing something. It seems that “Just do it.” or “Stop it.” are common messages emanating from the stages of churches. We are all about practicality. We need to give practical advice to help people change their lives for the better.
But let’s just say that there are a number of topics in the Bible that don’t seem immediately, or at all, practical. For instance, how do you apply to your life the idea of God being 3-in-1 (the Trinity)? How do apply to your life the idea of God being good? Or just? Or right? Those topics may be great on Sunday morning, but how do you apply them to your life on a mundane Monday morning? As we see right off the bat, there are big topics in the Bible that seem impractical concerning your grinding Monday, or your broken marriage, or your sexual orientation.
And then we come to the idea, the big idea, the idea that stands at the center of the Bible: the death of Jesus Christ on a Roman torture/murder-device, a cross, and His resurrection. How does knowing the reality of Jesus’ death and resurrection help you come finals week? How does that reality help you when you’re tempted to have sex with your girlfriend or boyfriend? Or when you’re tempted to look at porn? Or when you’re eating lunch? If the death and resurrection of Jesus is about the grace of God coming after sinners, maybe many of us think it sounds like great news, but we conclude that it seems highly impractical when it comes to fixing our lives.
The impracticality of grace. Sure, we might understand that grace is a (or the) fundamental message of the Bible, but is it the fundamental message I need to hear when someone cuts me off and I would like to have them thrown in prison for life? I mean, on a day to day basis, how does a message of grace in Christ help me?
Here is a suspicion of mine: the question is not whether grace is helpful on a day to day basis, but rather, the question is whether or not grace is really true at all? I think the question of whether or not grace is helpful may be like asking if water satisfies thirst. Maybe the problem is not that we have tried water and it didn’t work. But maybe we haven’t tried it at all. Maybe we are suspicious of water’s ability to satisfy us because we have never chugged a half-gallon of it to see what would happen to our thirst problem. Maybe we don’t know if grace matters because we have never really “tried it” on Monday; and we haven’t tried it because we doubt whether it is really true. Rather than taking the plunge into the ocean of grace, and letting the grace of God, if He is gracious at all, consume us, we are suspicious. We are hesitant to take the plunge.
Instead of being honest about our real question, we just say we don’t see the practicality of it. Maybe we have “tried it,” but we doubted it so much we just turned away from the notion. If we were honest though, we might ask something different. We may present an entirely new question. Maybe instead of asking, “Is the message of grace practical?”, we should ask, “Is grace really true?”
If you are a college student, join us Dec. 4th at 8pm at Tidwell Bible Building on Baylor campus as we answer, “Is grace really true?”