Pure, undiluted grace is what this post is about. That concept comes from Jesus but, it was highlighted a few years ago by a Jesus follower who put his spin on what Jesus really did in coming to earth, giving to the undeserving, dying for His life of giving and coming back to life to confirm it all true.
Robert Farrar Capon wrote some contemporary and sometimes startling words which drive home the point of what Jesus, the God-Man, did for us in His coming, living, and dying.
Here is a list of good quotes from Between Noon & Three: Romance, Law & the Outrage of Grace from Good Reads.
The Reformation was a time when men went blind, staggering drunk because they had discovered, in the dusty basement of late medievalism, a whole cellar full of fifteen-hundred-year-old, two-hundred proof Grace–bottle after bottle of pure distillate of Scripture, one sip of which would convince anyone that God saves us single-handedly. The word of the Gospel–after all those centuries of trying to lift yourself into heaven by worrying about the perfection of your bootstraps–suddenly turned out to be a flat announcement that the saved were home before they started…Grace has to be drunk straight: no water, no ice, and certainly no ginger ale; neither goodness, nor badness, not the flowers that bloom in the spring of super spirituality could be allowed to enter into the case.
I need this grace. I need not attempt to dilute it as I am proned to so often do. Father forgive me. Cause me to receive your gift as freely as You gave it.
Grace is the celebration of life, relentlessly hounding all the non-celebrants in the world. It is a floating, cosmic bash shouting its way through the streets of the universe, flinging the sweetness of its cassations to every window, pounding at every door in a hilarity beyond all liking and happening, until the prodigals come out at last and dance, and the elder brothers finally take their fingers out of their ears.
But all the while, there was one thing we most needed even from the start, and certainly will need from here on out into the New Jerusalem: the ability to take our freedom seriously and act on it, to live not in fear of mistakes but in the knowledge that no mistake can hold a candle to the love that draws us home. My repentance, accordingly, is not so much for my failings but for the two-bit attitude toward them by which I made them more sovereign than grace. Grace – the imperative to hear the music, not just listen for errors – makes all infirmities occasions of glory.
Trust him. And when you have done that, you are living the life of grace. No matter what happens to you in the course of that trusting – no matter how many waverings you may have, no matter how many suspicions that you have bought a poke with no pig in it, no matter how much heaviness and sadness your lapses, vices, indispositions, and bratty whining may cause you – you believe simply that Somebody Else, by his death and resurrection, has made it all right, and you just say thank you and shut up. The whole slop-closet full of mildewed performances (which is all you have to offer) is simply your death; it is Jesus who is your life. If he refused to condemn you because your works were rotten, he certainly isn’t going to flunk you because your faith isn’t so hot. You can fail utterly, therefore, and still live the life of grace. You can fold up spiritually, morally, or intellectually and still be safe. Because at the very worst, all you can be is dead – and for him who is the Resurrection and the Life, that just makes you his cup of tea.
…there is therefore now no condemnation for two reasons: you are dead now; and God, as the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world, has been dead all along. The blame game was over before it started. It really was. All Jesus did was announce that truth and tell you it would make you free. It was admittedly a dangerous thing to do. You are a menace. Be he did it; and therefore, menace or not, here you stand: uncondemned, forever, now. What are you going to do with your freedom?
The life of grace is not an effort on our part to achieve a goal we set ourselves. It is a continually renewed attempt simply to believe that someone else has done all the achieving that is needed and to live in relationship with that person, whether we achieve or not. If that doesn’t seem like much to you, you’re right: it isn’t. And, as a matter of fact, the life of grace is even less than that. It’s not even our life at all, but the life of that Someone Else rising like a tide in the ruins of our death.
In the Bible, the opposite of Sin, with a capital ‘S,’ is not virtue – it’s faith: faith in a God who draws all to himself in his resurrection.
…we are saved by Christ alone who raises us from the dead – from the absolution of our death. We come before him at the judgement with no handwriting whatsoever against us. It’s simply cheating to say you believe that and then renege on it by postulating some list of extra-rotten crimes for which Christ has to send you to hell. He, the universal Redeemer, is the only judge; as far as he’s concerned, the only mandatory sentence is to life and life abundant.
–Robert Farrar Capon, Between Noon and Three: Romance, Law, and the Outrage of Grace (Eerdmans 1997)
If you want more provocative thoughts on this radical grace, here are tweets from 200 proof grace:
Jesus didn’t just give us great field position. He took it to the house.
The gospel transforms us precisely because it’s not itself a message about our transformation but Christ’s substitution.
The gospel frees you from the pressure of having to make something out of yourself.
Because everything we long for we already possess in Christ, we’re now free to love people, not use them.
The banner under which Christians live reads “It is finished.”
Because Jesus was extraordinary, I am free to be ordinary
At no point in time, either before God saves you or after, does your behavior determine God’s love for you.
Romans 8:6 For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.