Our Top 5 Posts of February
Sat Mar 08, 2014
Resurgence Roundup, 3/7/14
Fri Mar 07, 2014
How to Replant a Church, Part 5: Rally Your Troops
Thu Mar 06, 2014
by Bubba Jennings
The 4 Pillars of Pastoral Work
Thu Mar 06, 2014
by Dave Bruskas
10 Ideas For Keeping Lent
Wed Mar 05, 2014
by Winfield Bevins
Why the Gospel Is Offensive
2 Exceptions to the Good Gift
Who doesn’t love a gift? Most of the time we are more than happy to be given one. Whether it’s our birthday, Christmas, or just because, we feel loved and appreciated when we receive a heartfelt gift from someone who cares about us.
There are a few exceptions to this rule.
1. A Bad Gift
The bunny costume from the classic movie A Christmas Story comes to mind. Or an adolescent in the neighborhood might leave a the gift of a flaming bag of dog feces on your porch. Sometimes a gift is just bad. No one likes a bad gift.
2. A “Too Good” Gift
Sometimes a gift is too good. A gift might be too good if:
● It’s something we never could purchase on our own.
● It’s something we desperately need but don’t want to admit to needing.
A “too good” gift is offensive.
Grace Is Too Good
And God’s gift of grace falls into this category for us. It offends us because we can’t earn it, and it offends us because we desperately need it but don’t want to admit it.
It comes down to this: we love gifts but not charity. But what is grace if not charity? It is a gift we cannot earn or merit, and without which we are lost and damned. The problem is coming to grips with this.
The great reformer Martin Luther puts it this way: “It is certain that man must utterly despair of his own ability before he is prepared to receive the grace of Christ.”
We Come As Beggars
What does it mean to utterly despair of our own abilities? It means we come to God as a beggar.
The man asking for change on the freeway off-ramp understands this. He has come to that place because he has utterly despaired of his own ability. The Bible makes it clear that this is our position and should be our stance.
Ephesians 2:8–9 says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” This passage falls in a section where the Apostle Paul elaborates on our state outside of grace by using terms like “dead,” “alienated,” “children of wrath,” “having no hope,” and “without God.” He makes our need clear, as well as the fact that the grace we receive is a gift that is not earned.
Hear Your Case
God is the active agent in our salvation—and this does not sit well with our pride. This is why the gospel is called an offense. Nobody wants to hear that they are a charity case.
But this is the thing we must all come to grips with. And when we do, it is no longer an offense, but the most wonderful and liberating and life-giving of truths. And this is what Martin Luther was holding tightly to as he went to meet his Savior. His last words, written on a piece of paper were this: “We are beggars. This is true.”
Today, Dustin and the Mars Hill band the Modern Post released their first EP, Grace Alone. Go check it out on iTunes.