My husband once taught a message to our church back in Davenport on the idea of the “two camps” we have in Christianity:
- The Glory of God
- The Grace of God
Usually, because of things past and present, we find ourselves with our tents pitched in one of the other. Generally, more conservative, reformed types live in the Glory of God camp, where God is very big and we are very small. On the extreme, this camp is “letter of the law” in their theology. The Grace of God camp is generally where the more progressive, post-Christian, less conservative people live. The extreme in this camp is that truth is colored by culture and that continual, habitual sin is, well, okay…because there’s always enough grace, right?
Yes, there always is enough grace. So much grace that a man died on a cross for it all. Yes, there are many things in the Bible that are clearly true, and there are many things that aren’t so clearly true.
The problem, Tim says, is when we do camp in one side or another, never venturing out or engaging with the other camp. Life is full of constant wandering and the world is big. We should explore it with the Holy Spirit and the things illuminated to be true to us as our guide.
Maybe it’s just me, my own introspection into my heart, or the blogs I read, or the people I follow on social media, or the conversations I overhear when I choose to write over coffee and not my kitchen table, but I sense a shift in culture. I used to think most of us lived on a midline, or even perhaps too far into conservatism. Now, however, I kind of see a lot of people expressing a truth-is-relative, no consequences world.
We think we are living more free in our grace, but I think we may be living under an illusion that our actions don’t have a cost because we aren’t the direct beneficiaries of it.
I know the Apostle Paul says everything is permissible and not beneficial, but not everything is wise.
I’ve found myself asking questions of my own behavior lately, in light of Titus 2.
Could what I say call in to question my faith? Could someone criticize me for using this word or that word, even though I don’t see a problem with it?
Could what I do – what I eat, drink or how I spend my time cause another person to see a relationship with Christ as something that doesn’t really make me any different?
Am I taking my faith seriously enough that I recognize the cost of grace for me and the need for grace for others?
I am realizing my actions, big and small, have very significant consequences. That in order to live the Gospel, using words or not, I actually need to live the Gospel.
I need to live a life of dying to myself, dying to my perceptions, and surrendering the “I’m entitled this behavior because of grace!” attitude I can have. Because the truth is we’re not entitled to anything except believing and receiving the grace given to us.
Is a life of quiet faith the one that speaks the loudest?