I am starting to understand grace, I don’t mean that I understand grace like a scientist can map and explain an H2O molecule but I am starting to grasp the concept of grace like someone who has dipped his toes in the ocean and started to wonder what it would be like to swim.

It has been a long trek, like every new turn on this journey it reveals a brand new vista and, like all the other renewals it is impossible to go back to what was before, it quickly becomes the new normal, the old normal long forgotten.

It is like I have been infected with grace and it’s chronic. I read some books and I caught it from the spirit of God who whispered to me through the words of the people who has travelled this road before me.

What bothers me is that I have been a Christian of and on since I was 14, committed and involved in christian ministry since 1998, and it is not until now that I can say that I have started to understand grace. This is not because grace was not talked about, no, we talked, sang and wrote about grace in my first youth group. It seems that the grace we talked about was only available once, in the salvation moment all kinds of grace was available, however after that you where supposedly reborn and had no need for such things as grace. Alternatively grace was only available for the unsaved, us saved folk, we had holiness and the power of the holy spirit. The problem was that we where also taught (indirectly) that sin repels the holy spirit and therefore if you sin, you no longer have the power of the spirit and so you cannot be holy. Therefore you are now a backslider, stumbling in darkness, outside of Gods grace.

Yes you could always repent (tears and fasting and grand gifts in the offering helped to show that you where really sorry) and be bestowed an extra helping of grace, but I always felt a bit like Oliver Twist when walking the walk of shame up to the platform for repentance and that second (third, fourth … fifty-seventh) bowl of grace. This grace felt very conditional… as long as you promise never to do it again …

This is not the grace I have now stumbled upon, this grace is outrageously and scandalously available to the sinner even while in the midst of sin, this grace walks in to the bar and asks you what you are drinking with a smile that offers no judgement only love. This grace has a name, it is Jesus.

Let me quote Jay Bakkers beautiful book “Fall to Grace”:

What changes when you embrace [this kind of] grace? Everything. You begin to love God instead of fearing God. You begin to trust Christ in your life and in the lives of others instead of judging everyone (especially yourself) by impossible standards. With grace comes the freedom to fall short. You can deepen your relationship with God even when you fail—especially when you fail. With grace comes the inspiration to start living out the crazy, impossible teachings of Christ: to love God above all else; to love your neighbor as yourself; to love even your enemies.

Life turns from trying to please God to trusting him, loving him, living with him, in him, by him, and for him. It is not the competitive “Holier than thou” christianity we are so often confronted with but a deeper, truer and very raw kind of faith, where we explore what we where meant to be (and be like) together with God, where my sin is not only my problem and it is not a barrier between me and God but rather something I work on together with God as we sort out not the superficial sins and addictions that are on the surface but the deeper issues and reasons that have produced the behaviours in the first place. This kind of grace is the kind that Nadia Bolz-Weber calls “Big wet juicy grace. The kind that runs down your chin like a peach you have to eat over the kitchen sink.”

This is a scary journey as I am confronted with myself at the most base level, but it is a liberating journey as I am finally released from having to produce or in worst cases display holiness by myself but by the power of he who is within me every day, every where.

Some helpful grace literature should you want to venture there:

[amazon_link id=”159644133X” target=”_blank” ]The Ragamuffin Gospel[/amazon_link] [amazon_link id=”0964729253″ target=”_blank” ]He Loves Me! Learning to Live in the Father's Affection[/amazon_link] [amazon_link id=”1576836932″ target=”_blank” ]TrueFaced[/amazon_link] [amazon_link id=”0964729245″ target=”_blank” ]The Shack (Special Hardcover Edition)[/amazon_link] [amazon_link id=”0446539503″ target=”_blank” ]Fall to Grace: A Revolution of God, Self & Society[/amazon_link]

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