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Might As Well Face It, You’re Addicted To Law
The Gospel Coalition ^ | 5 Jan 2012 | Tullian Tchividjian

Posted on 01/17/2012 6:59:45 PM PST by Gamecock

I’ll never forget hearing Dr. Doug Kelly (one of my theology professors in seminary) saying in class, “If you want to make people mad, preach law. If you want to make them really, really mad preach grace.” I didn’t know what he meant then. But I do now.

The law offends us because it tells us what to do–and we hate anyone telling us what to do, most of the time. But, ironically, grace offends us even more because it tells us that there’s nothing we can do, that everything has already been done. And if there’s something we hate more than being told what to do, it’s being told that we can’t do anything, that we can’t earn anything–that we’re helpless, weak, and needy.

The law, at least, assures us that we determine our own destiny.

The law does promise life to me,
If my obedience perfect be. (Ralph Erskine)
This we understand. And we like it. We like it because we maintain control–the outcome of our life remains in our hands. Give me three steps to a happy marriage and I can guarantee myself a happy marriage if I follow the three steps. If we can do certain things, meet certain standards (whether God’s, my own, my parents, my spouse’s, society’s, whatever) and become a certain way, we’ll make it. Law seems safe because “it breeds a sense of manageability.” It keeps life formulaic and predictable. It keeps earning-power in our camp.

The logic of law makes sense.

The logic of grace, on the other hand, doesn’t.

Grace is thickly counter-intuitive. It feels risky and unfair. It turns everything that makes sense to us upside-down. Like Job’s friends, we naturally conclude that good people get good stuff and bad people get bad stuff. The idea that bad people get good stuff seems irrational and wrongheaded on every level. It offends our deepest sense of justice and rightness.

Grace is not rational…The gospel of grace throws our glory train off its tracks. Instead of calculating, mastering, and determining, we find ourselves completely helpless, left with no option but to fall into the everlasting arms of the God who could consume us in his wrath but instead embraces us in his Son. (Mike Horton)

So, it doesn’t surprise me at all when I hear people react to grace with suspicion and doubt. It doesn’t surprise me that when people talk about grace, I hear lots of “buts and brakes”, conditions and qualifications. That’s just the flesh fighting for its life, after all. As Walter Marshall says in his book The Gospel Mystery of Sanctification, “By nature, you are completely addicted to a legal method of salvation. Even after you become a Christian by believing the Gospel, your heart is still addicted to salvation by works…You find it hard to believe that you should get any blessing before you work for it.”

Because we are natural born do-it-yourselfers–God-wannabes–(and have been since Genesis 3), the vitriol reaction to unconditional grace is understandable. Grace generates panic because it wrestles both control and glory out of our hands. This means that the part of you that gets angry and upset and mean and defensive and slanderous and critical and skeptical and feisty when you hear about grace is the very part of you that needs to be reckoned dead. That’s where mortification begins–it begins with that part of us that hates grace.

But while I’m not surprised when I hear venomous rejoinders to grace (the flesh is always resistant to “It is finished”), I am saddened when the very pack of people that God has unconditionally saved and continues to sustain by his free grace are the very ones who push back most violently against it. Some professing Christians sound like ungrateful children who can’t stop biting the very hand that feeds them. It amazes me that you will hear great concern from inside the church about “too much grace” but rarely will you ever hear great concern from inside the church about “too many rules.” Why? Because we are by nature glory-hoarding, self-centered control freaks. That’s why.

It’s high time for the church to honor God by embracing sola gratia anew–the “high-octane grace that takes our conscience by the scruff of the neck and breathes new life into us with a pardon so scandalous that we cannot help but be changed…For many of us the time has come to abandon once and for all our play-it-safe, toe-dabbling Christianity and dive in” (Dane Ortlund). It is time, as Robert Farrar Capon put it, to get drunk on grace. Two hundred-proof, defiant grace.

It’s scandalous and scary, unnatural and undomesticated…but it’s the only thing that can set us free and light the church on fire.


TOPICS: Evangelical Christian; General Discusssion; Mainline Protestant
KEYWORDS: gospel; grace; law

1 posted on 01/17/2012 6:59:50 PM PST by Gamecock
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To: drstevej; OrthodoxPresbyterian; CCWoody; Wrigley; Gamecock; Jean Chauvin; jboot; AZhardliner; ...
GRPL Ping


2 posted on 01/17/2012 7:01:51 PM PST by Gamecock (I am so thankful for [the] active obedience of Christ. No hope without it. JGM)
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To: Gamecock

The name was familiar to me (I thought right that he is Billy Graham’s grandson, so I looked him up. I did not realize he was here in Florida and is the Pastor at Coral Ridge.

I looked at the website and this Pastor and his church truly walk the walk. You can see they have a true zeal to serve Christ and do so with all their hearts.

The world needs more men like him.


3 posted on 01/17/2012 7:16:36 PM PST by lastchance ("Nisi credideritis, non intelligetis" St. Augustine)
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To: Gamecock

IBLBLWDLFIOC!

[In before the Law Bound Legalists Who Drag the Law from Israel Onto the Church]


4 posted on 01/17/2012 7:38:01 PM PST by aMorePerfectUnion (Proud RINOmney Denialist since 2007!)
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To: Gamecock

Love it...so much truth in so few words


5 posted on 01/17/2012 7:46:28 PM PST by RnMomof7
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To: Gamecock
“ If you want to make them really, really mad preach grace.”

This guy heard me discussing fallacy of free will with some of my arminian brothers.

6 posted on 01/17/2012 8:33:11 PM PST by strongbow
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To: Gamecock

By the Law shall no flesh be justified.

On another note, does Elaine know that Rabbis are allowed to date?


7 posted on 01/17/2012 9:48:11 PM PST by F15Eagle (1 John 5:4-5, 4:15, 5:13; John 3:17-18, 6:69, 11:25, 14:6, 20:31; Rom10:8-11; 1 Tim 2:5; Titus 3:4-5)
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Galatians 3:16 KJV


8 posted on 01/17/2012 9:49:51 PM PST by F15Eagle (1 John 5:4-5, 4:15, 5:13; John 3:17-18, 6:69, 11:25, 14:6, 20:31; Rom10:8-11; 1 Tim 2:5; Titus 3:4-5)
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To: F15Eagle
By the Law shall no flesh be justified.

One of the more dumb things Paul wrote.

9 posted on 01/17/2012 10:00:16 PM PST by blasater1960 (Deut 30, Psalm 111...the Torah and the Law, is attainable past, present and forever.)
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To: blasater1960

Well at least you got the author of Galatians correct. Good job.

There is also James 2:10.


10 posted on 01/17/2012 10:18:24 PM PST by F15Eagle (1 John 5:4-5, 4:15, 5:13; John 3:17-18, 6:69, 11:25, 14:6, 20:31; Rom10:8-11; 1 Tim 2:5; Titus 3:4-5)
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To: strongbow
fallacy of free will

Wouldn't that be adding something else, irresistible, to unconditional grace in the article, or did i miss it?

11 posted on 01/17/2012 11:30:35 PM PST by D-fendr (Deus non alligatur sacramentis sed nos alligamur.)
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To: Gamecock

And praise God! Law & Grace keeps our minds in conflict until the Spirit teaches us:

“Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.” (Galatians 3:24)


12 posted on 01/18/2012 12:38:00 AM PST by LetMarch (If a man knows the right way to live, and does not live it, there is no greater coward. (Anonymous)
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To: Gamecock

As many as 25 years ago a pastor in Memphis used to teach:

“To give less under grace, than you do under law, is a disgrace to grace.”

That goes for much more than giving, but also for all our living!”


13 posted on 01/18/2012 12:43:33 AM PST by LetMarch (If a man knows the right way to live, and does not live it, there is no greater coward. (Anonymous)
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To: Gamecock

As many as 25 years ago a pastor in Memphis used to teach:

“To give less under grace, than you do under law, is a disgrace to grace.”

That goes for much more than giving, but also for all our living!”


14 posted on 01/18/2012 12:43:33 AM PST by LetMarch (If a man knows the right way to live, and does not live it, there is no greater coward. (Anonymous)
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To: Gamecock

Thank you for this article. Very well said.


15 posted on 01/18/2012 4:19:56 AM PST by lupie
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To: Gamecock

Great article! Thanks for posting it.


16 posted on 01/18/2012 7:04:26 AM PST by CynicalBear
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To: F15Eagle

And some of ‘em have condos in Myrtle Beach, too.


17 posted on 01/18/2012 7:19:12 AM PST by MayflowerMadam
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To: Gamecock
AMEN. "But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence." 1 Cor. 1:27-29.
18 posted on 01/18/2012 7:22:58 AM PST by smvoice (Better Buck up, Buttercup. The wailing and gnashing is for an eternity..)
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To: Gamecock

Thanks for pinging me on your post.


19 posted on 01/18/2012 8:12:47 AM PST by oldcodger (...and may you live to see your children's children - Ps 128:6)
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To: Gamecock

Thanks Gamecock — great article!

Hoss


20 posted on 01/18/2012 9:27:21 AM PST by HossB86 (Christ, and Him alone.)
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To: Gamecock
The law was also given for our benefit, that we may live happy and productive lives. The fact that we don't obey the law is not just rebellion against God but shows that we tend to be self destructive beings incapable of wanting the very best for ourselves. It's like Paul states that we know the law is good but we don't want to keep it. Who can deliver us from this wretchedness?

Given this paradox, the only way we can be delivered is for God to shine His mercy and grace on us. The law killed us not so much because we couldn't keep it, but because it shows us that we don't wish to keep it.

21 posted on 01/18/2012 4:21:55 PM PST by HarleyD
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