Grace Still On My Mind

By: Antipas Harris
Thursday, July 15th, 2010

Is the purpose of the preaching the gospel merely to communicate condemnation and exclusion? Certainly, people struggle due to poor choices and sinful behaviors. The authors believe it is biblically grounded to assert that the purpose of preaching the gospel, moreover, is to share the preeminent message of God’s love rather than condemnation. God’s love is best expressed in God’s grace that grants us opportunity to become better rather than infliction of bitterness; grace transforms us into the image of God rather than transfer us the face of God; grace liberates us from the pangs and punishments of sin rather than makes us liable for destruction because of sin.       

Among many theological concepts that are continuously intriguing us, we have constantly visited and re-visited the theological concept of grace and the function of grace in God’s salvific process for humankind. Grace is intrinsic to the gospel message that must be communicated maximally or emphasized more effectively. This book assumes the need for grace for everyone. In fact, while grace appears to everyone, sustaining us even in our sins before we accept salvation, grace does not disappear when we surrender to the divine call of salvation. Grace remains, rather, an essential element for the successful Christian life. John Wesley once said the following in his sermon, “On Repentance of Believers:”

It is generally supposed, that repentance and faith are only the gate of religion; that they are necessary only at the beginning of our Christian course, when we are setting out in the way to the kingdom…. And this is undoubtedly true, that there is a repentance and a faith, which are, more especially, necessary at the beginning: a repentance, which is a conviction of our utter sinfulness, and guiltiness, and helplessness…. But, notwithstanding this, there is also a repentance and a faith (taking the words in another sense, a sense not quite the same, nor yet entirely different) which are requisite after we have “believed the gospel;” yea, and in every subsequent stage of our Christian course, or we cannot “run the race which is set before us.” And this repentance and faith are full as necessary, in order to our continuance and growth in grace, as the former faith and repentance were, in order to our entering into the kingdom of God.

Agreeing with Wesley, this book contends that there is no place in our spiritual walk or faith journey wherein we have elevated to a state of perfection devoid of a need for God’s grace.

Important questions emerge in this discussion: what is grace?; what is the function of grace?; does grace require human transformation?; and does grace excuse the need for human transformation and justify humanity before God without human transformation? These questions and others concerning grace continue to ponder my thoughts.

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Antipas Harris
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One Response to “Grace Still On My Mind”

  1. Dave Belles says:

    If I remember the content of this sermon, the repentence of believers is due to an awareness in the Christian of the sin that clinges to our “every word and deed.” For Wesley, the awareness of the sin that remains post-justification is due to the activity of the Holy Spirit. As such, my answer to the question “What is grace?” must include some reference to the person of the Holy Spirit. Grace is not merely an impersonal force, but is made immediate by the personal presence of the Spirit.