An Aesthetic Of Grace

Recently, Mike Lueken, the senior pastor of our church, Oak Hills, preached a sermon on unbounded grace which hit me in a profound way. I wanted to share some of his words to you as artists of faith. Enjoy.

“The New Testament was written in what is known as “common” Greek or “everyday” Greek—Greek spoken out in the streets. The Greek word for grace is “charis,” but it is such a rich word, it means far more than one single English word is capable of conveying.

“There is a certain attractive aesthetic that the word, grace, describes. In secular Greek, a sip of an expensive cabernet might be followed by closing the eyes and saying “that’s grace.” A well worded phrase, written or spoken, might be savored by saying “such grace.” Various goddesses in Greek mythology are known as “the charites,” or “the grace goddesses.”  These goddesses were personified grace and beauty, and they amplified ordinary enjoyments of festive life and made them even more enjoyable.

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Sufficient For Its Day

~ Sayable blog

A friend wrote of having a “winter soul” yesterday and I commented there are some who struggle with SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) up north from the spate of gray and shortened days, while I struggle with it down south in the minute variation between seasons. But today it was cold enough for me to see my breath when I let the dog outside in the still dark morning. I breathed it in and breathed it out, watching the fog escape my lungs in the light from the neighbor’s garage. I have always been happier in crisp, chilly days.


Grace Like Rain


For even as we have many members in one body, and all the members don’t have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another, having gifts differing according to the grace that was given to us: if prophecy, let’s prophesy according to the proportion of our faith; or service, let’s give ourselves to service; or he who teaches, to his teaching; or he who exhorts, to his exhorting; he who gives, let him do it with generosity Romans 12:4 WEB

As we drove to the client’s office, I was dreading what lay ahead. I just felt that the job that we were setting out to do was going to take all day because it involved a network of machines that I knew to be temperamental, and they tended to work when they wanted.

God’s Mercy and God’s Wrath Meet at the Cross

~ Challies

Today I want to wrap up this short series that I’ve titled “The Holiness of God and the Existence of Hell.” It looks at what happens when the holy God comes into contact with sin. So far we’ve seen that God may react to sin with just wrath and that he may react with patient mercy. Now I want to look to the place where God’s wrath and mercy meet–the cross of Christ.

The cross of Jesus Christ is all about God’s holiness. That may seem strange, that a place of blood and suffering and torment would be all about holiness. But the cross answers this question: How can a holy God be reconciled to unholy people? That question demands this one: How can the relationship between a holy God and an unholy people be restored without some gross act of injustice?

At the cross we see just how much God values his holiness. We see that God will not violate his own holiness even in order to save the ones he loves. Here at the cross we see wrath and mercy meet. We see both of them in their glorious fullness–the ultimate display of God’s wrath and the ultimate display of God’s mercy.

When we look to the cross we see Jesus Christ serving the just sentence of a sinner. There on the cross Christ experiences physical death, so his heart stops beating and his body begins to decay. He also faces spiritual death, spiritual destruction. He is punished by facing the fury of the wrath of God. He is punished consciously for sin done in conscious rebellion against God. He faces an eternal measure of wrath for sins against an eternal being. There on the cross, he faces the justice and the torment of hell.

So where is the mercy of the cross? All we see here is Christ experiencing all wrath and no mercy. How can I say that wrath and mercy meet here?

There is more at:

God’s gift of grace

Every trouble but this one

Say No to Cheap Grace

“Costly grace is the Incarnation of God” —Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship

Cheap grace is worthless. It tries to rob you of your peace and rest in Christ. Christians always need to be on the lookout for cheap grace and stay far away from it. Here are two kinds of cheap grace that pretend to be the costly grace God gives us in Christ:

1. Grace without Christ

The rest is at:

Rule #1: Trust the Means of Grace (8 Rules for Growing in Godliness)

The great goal of the Christian life is to be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ. The Christian longs to be influenced by Christ to such an extent that every thought is one Jesus would think, that every action is one he would take. Such conformity depends upon a renewed mind, for it is only once our minds are renewed that our desires and actions can follow (Romans 12:2). The Christian life, then, is one of taking off the “old self with its practices” and putting on “the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator” (Colossians 3:9-10).

So noble a goal can only be achieved with great effort and lifelong commitment, for we are sinful people, only recently liberated from our captivity to the world, the flesh, and the devil. The Christian life is not a leisurely stroll but a purposeful journey. Jesus tells us we must “strive to enter through the narrow door,” knowing that the Christian life permits no complacency, that salvation must be “worked out,” not waited out (Luke 13:24; Philippians 2:12). The Christian is not a passive spectator in sanctification but an active participant.

We are looking at “8 Rules for Growing in Godliness,” a series of instructions for becoming increasingly conformed to the image of Jesus Christ. (Here’s the Introduction to the series.) The first rule for growing in godliness is this: Trust the means of grace. Every Christian is responsible to diligently search out and discover the disciplines through which God grants increased godliness. Then he is to make a lifelong, whole-hearted commitment to each of them.