From Legalism to a Feast of Grace


This year, the year of 2014, I have been calling the “feast of grace” year. For a number of years now I spend New Years reflecting over the past year and looking prayerfully toward the year ahead, asking the Lord what He wants to be teaching me or working on in me. So clearly, so profoundly He spoke “Gospel” and “Grace” over the year 2014.

I haven’t written at all about this on the blog yet {yes, and it is now June!} because honestly what He has been speaking and doing in my heart is so immense and overwhelming {and so deeply personal!}  I don’t even know where to begin.

I am a legalist by nature, a performance-addict. Even though I first experienced God’s grace for myself as a young child when I received Christ, it is still utter mystery to me. And in His glorious grace, I am still experiencing His grace afresh day by day all these years later.

What kind of God is this, who gives grace upon grace to the likes of us who cannot ever comprehend or fully appreciate the fullness of His grace to us in Jesus Christ?!

What kind of God is this who gives the fullness of His grace to a child who has no idea the riches she has in Christ Jesus, nor the immensity that it cost Him to grace her so richly?

God has me, a grace-spurning, Gospel-underfoot-trampling legalist, feasting on the riches of His grace found in the Gospel all year long. In the profound beauty and richness of His grace, He always aims to set us free. His kindness leads to repentance.

I just finished Jerry Bridges book “Transforming Grace,” what I would call the Christian’s Primer on grace. I cannot express adequately how helpful it has been to me, nor how often it has kept me up at night because my mind and heart could nearly burst from what God has as been teaching me through it. It is a grace feast that I will be rereading all throughout this year. Years of legalistic, merit-based thinking are not helped by a cursory reading. A thorough mind-washing in the Truth is what’s in order!

This sweet poem has become a treasure to me in the hard and ordinary trenches of parenting, which daily, {no, momentarily!} drives me to the throne of grace:

“He Giveth More Grace”

He giveth more grace when the burdens grow greater;
He sendeth more grace when the labours increase;
To added afflictions He addeth His mercy
To multiplied trials, His multiplied peace.

When we have exhausted our store of endurance,
When our strength has failed ere the day is half done;
When we reach the end of our hoarded resources,
Our Father’s full giving is only begun.

His love has no limits, His grace has no measure,
His power has no boundary known unto men;
For out of His infinite riches in Jesus,
He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again.”
– Annie Johnson Flint

Oh, to be this kind of parent to my own children!  The only way possible is for me to believe and experience such radical grace, grace in the face of my continued daily battle with sin.  Only those who have received such grace know how to give it.

“For from His fulness we have all received, grace upon grace.” {John 1:16}

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