The Discipline of Asking for Grace

You know how a well-timed and appropriate joke can break tension and get people to relax and work out things?

Well, I was sitting here at my laptop with a bowl of cereal contemplating today’s post. I was thinking about how somber I’ve been. The deep sadness caused by all this division and hatred in the world. Not just the United States, but seemingly everywhere.

Suddenly I had to cough. Too quickly to stop. Mouth full of cereal. The joke’s on me. Now I have to stop, run to the kitchen counter for paper towels, and clean off the computer.

Time for a different perspective.

Don’t ask why. I suddenly thought about Romans 1 and Romans 8. Paul’s great work on spiritual formation. He begins his argument in chapter 1 talking about how bad we all are. There are none who are good. Not one of us.

Had a conversation one time with a guy with Reformed (or a version of) background. He thought it all ended there. We are all bad. Nice guy, but he never seems happy. I wonder why.

I replied, yes, but. Paul was great at those transitions, too. He used a lot of “however” or “but”. Yes, but, there is Romans 8. Another of Paul’s great transitions–“therefore.”

Therefore there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

Chapters 8-10 take us into grace.

This I know:

While there are many in the church who think they are saved and thus perfect and free to hold these evil thoughts, there are also many who are there to learn about grace acknowledging imperfection and praying to grow.

We need Romans 1 people in the church. Better there where they can be taught about and experience God’s grace.

There is evil in the world. We must live with it. The first Christians did. Read about it in the Acts and the letters.

But there is grace. God help us when we fail to show it.

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