Grace and Holiness – Its Not Either/Or but Both/And

It is not news to most Christians that the gospel of God’s grace is good news and that we also need to grow in our holiness.  The challenge is putting these two truths together in a biblical way.  Some have perhaps so emphasized God’s grace that people lose sight of striving toward the goal of holiness, while others put so much stress on the need for holiness that, for struggling sinners, Christianity seems hardly to be good news anymore.

– Duguid, Barbara; Extravagant Grace: God’s Glory Displayed in our Weakness; P&R Publishing; Philippsburg, NJ; copyright 2013; Page 13

He Said….What Are We Saying?

It might not be too much of an overstatement to say that if Jesus came to proclaim good news to the poor and release to the captives, to restore sight to the blind and give freedom to the oppressed, then Christianity has come to stand for – and in practice promulgate – the exact opposite of what its founder intended (Luke 4:18-19).

– Tchividian, Tullian; One Way Love: Inexaustible Grace for an Exhausted World; David Cook Publishers; copyright 2013; Kindle Edition; Location 83

Believe It or Not, Christianity is Not About Good People Getting Better…

Believe it or not, Christianity is not about good people getting better.  If anything, it is good news for bad people coping with their failure to be good.  The heart of the Christian faith is Good news, not good advice, good technique, or good behavior.  Too many people have walked away from the church, not because they’re walking away from Jesus, but because the church has walked away from Jesus.

– Tchividian, Tullian; One Way Love: Inexaustible Grace for an Exhausted World; David Cook Publishers; copyright 2013; Kindle Edition; Location 56

God is Not Waiting on You to Save Yourself

The good news of the gospel is not some gnostic encouragement to view your suffering in the right way, or understand the theology of the cross more deeply.  No, the good news is that God is hanging on to you.  He’s not waiting for you to save yourself or mature into someone who no longer needs Him.  He will not let you go, come what may.  Jesus will never, ever leave you or forsake you.  Nothing you can do or not do can separate you from the love of Christ.  IN fact, the only thing God needs from you is the only thing you may ultimately have to offer Him: your death.

– Tchividjian, Tullian; Glorious Ruin: How Suffering Sets You Free; David C Cook Publishers, Copyright 2013, Kindle Edition, page 182

And That is Good News Indeed

Announced by his Word and sealed in his table fellowship “in the  midst of us,” this Good News, “Peace be with you!” wells up within us as a message to be proclaimed to others. “Gathered together in one place,” – we are on this side of Pentecost – are also scattered after the benediction out into the world as his witnesses to all that has been done.  “The Lord is risen!” “He is risen indeed!”  We are his people and he is our place, and that is Good News indeed.

Horton, Michael; The Gospel Driven Life: Being Good News People in a Bad News World; Baker Books; Grand Rapids, MI; Copyright 2009; page 242-243

We Need Good News, Not Good Advice

Even the ordinary wisdom of the world can be useful.  The problem comes when we forget that we are fallen children of Adam and that we cannot fix our deepest moral crisis.  For that, we need Good News, not good advice.  We need God’s unfailing promises, not more purposes and programs.  Suzie Ormand’s financial advice and Jake’s home gym can help me improve my life, but nothing they say can transfer me from death to life.

Horton, Michael; The Gospel Driven Life: Being Good News People in a Bad News World; Baker Books; Grand Rapids, MI; Copyright 2009; page 131-132

It Is So We Can Accept the News, Both the Good and the Bad

To receive the Light, we must have our darkness exposed; to be clothed in Christ’s righteousness, we must acknowledge our righteousness as filthy rags; to live in Christ, we must die to our former identity.  Only the Spirit can raise those who are “dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1), so that we can accept the news, both the bad and the good of it.

Horton, Michael; The Gospel Driven Life: Being Good News People in a Bad News World; Baker Books; Grand Rapids, MI; Copyright 2009; page 125

God’s Story is Not a Subplot of Ours

God’s story is no longer a subplot of ours, but is the headline that captures our attention.  Perfect strangers are aroused by their shared hearing of the Good News to embrace each other in a communion that is deeper than any natural community, even one’s own family

Horton, Michael; The Gospel Driven Life: Being Good News People in a Bad News World; Baker Books; Grand Rapids, MI; Copyright 2009; page 117

We are in Serious Trouble in the Church

Simply put, we’re in serious trouble in the church. It isn’t because we are sinners or because we don’t know enough, pray enough, or read the Bible enough. Our problem isn’t about being more faithful or not living a supernatural life of victory. Our problem isn’t going to be fixed with more programs, better methods of evangelism and stewardship, or discipline. Our problem isn’t spiritual formation or that we are not missional.

Our problem is that we have taken the best news ever given to the world, run it through a “religious grid” and made something unpalatable out of it. In short we’ve taken the good news and made it bad news. Ad if you listen carefully, you can hear old Slew Foot (that would be the devil) laughing.

– Brown, Steve; Three Free Sins: God’s Not Mad At You; Howard Books; New York, copyright 2012; Kindle Edition; Location 332