Are You Cultivating a Culture of Grace or a Culture of Law?

This past Lord’s Day, my church began a Sunday school class that is on the topic of developing a culture of grace in the church.  For this class, we are utilizing Paul David Tripp’s lectures Your Christian School: A Culture of Grace?.  In the first lesson, this question was asked, “Are we asking the law to do something that only grace can accomplish?”  Behind this question is the truth that the law cannot accomplish what it demands.  That is not its purpose.  But so often, this is exactly how we approach the law.  We think, “If I can just do [ a certain outward behavior] enough, even when I don’t want to do it, then eventually there will be an inward positive effect.”  Or, we think something like this, “If I can just do it for thirty days, then it will become a natural habit that I will do all the time.  If I can thank God enough for my difficult trials, then I will truly become thankful.”  This approach to the Christian walk is a legalistic approach and it just simply won’t work. Continue reading

>Why Has Guilt, Grace, Gratitude Become Guilt, Guilt, Guilt?

>Many are aware that the historic way of breaking down the Heidelberg Catechism, even the Christian life itself, can be summarized with the three-fold description Guilt, Grace, Gratitude.  But for some reason today, it seems like I talk to a lot of people who do not experience this three-fold description, but rather, their experience of the Christian life seems to be Guilt, Guilt, Guilt.  Understanding our guilt before God is certainly necessary and a good thing, but it’s not everything.  In fact, guilt is supposed to take us to the cross where we find the objective work of Christ, and then subjectively embrace it by faith so that by grace, we can rejoice in salvation and walk in the newness of life–guilt leads to grace and grace leads to gratitude.

With this purpose for guilt, and with such amazing grace, why is it that so many Christians feel so guilty all the time?

At his blog today, Kevin DeYoung asks this question and provides four basic reasons why he thinks so many Christians feel so guilty:

  1. We don’t fully embrace the good news of the gospel.
  2. Christians tend to motivate each other by guilt rather than grace.
  3. Most of our low-level guilt falls under the ambiguous category of “not doing enough.”
  4. When we are truly guilty of sin it is imperative we repent and receive God’s mercy.

DeYoung believes that this constant guilt is dangerous because it can harden one’s conscience and even lead a person to ignore his conscience.  This constant feeling of guilt, which can sear the conscience, can lead people to ignore actual sin from which they need to repent, and hence, miss out on the salve of the gospel, which is what they need.

DeYoung believes that grace is the answer:

 . . . the best preaching ought to make sincere Christians see more of Christ and experience more of his grace.  Deeper grace will produce better gratitude, which means less guilt. And that’s a good thing all the way around.

Yes it is, but why limit the prescription just to preaching?  Why not offer all the means of grace that Christ affords his church?  Yes, preaching is important, necessary and foundational, but seeing in communion what is spoken in a sermon is also important, necessary and beneficial.

Do you seem to feel guilty all the time?  The bread that came down from heaven makes himself available for you to feed upon him, and hence, be invigorated by the heavenly realities in him.  Maybe you’re not eating enough.

>An Extraordinary Encounter – A Must Read

>“But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.” Luke 6.27-31

Have you ever wondered what this looks like in everyday life? Then read this . . .