Sunday, October 17, 2010

A discussion of the application of grace

JB: "Finishing the deck on my house and praying for a good inspector who understands grace and isn't hung up on law, so I pass the first around."

DB: "But then he wouldn't be perfectly just :-) Someone has to fulfill the requirement of the law, perhaps you could have used Jesus' carpenter skills on this one - lol"

Me: "The truly gracious inspector will send his own son, the carpenter, to fullfill the requirements of the code on our behalf. AND he pays for it by himself, taking the debt upon himself, because he knows we could never afford the perfect carpenter -- His son, Jesus."

This is not a judgment of anyone in the conversation. It is simply an illustration of how our thinking tends to go. I think any one of the three statements could have been made by any of these three people. It just so happens that I had a chance to think about it a little more and to resonate more deeply on how to apply the Gospel.

Analysis: The first thought is: I sure hope the person judging will be gracious, because I worked hard and don't want to be rejected. I put my all into this and don't want to have additional expense that I hadn't planned for. Something like that.

The second thought is: Well, perhaps if I had worked harder or smarter or had better skills or was a better study, then I would have been able to meet the code. If I had modeled myself after the master builder, Jesus (or the guy on this Old House, you know someone with real skills) then I would have been in much better shape. WWJD? That's what I SHOULD have done.

The third thought is: Who am I kidding? I could never be the perfect carpenter and meet with the perfect standard required by the inspector. He demands perfection, and I am not capable of it - no matter how much I study or how many hours I put into it.  I will do my best to the glory of God, but even my best efforts fall far short of His Glory.

So, I give my best and rest. I rest knowing that inspector will check the work and what he sees is not my faulty workmanship, but he sees his sons' work -- the work of the perfect carpenter, who met the entire code, fulfilled all the requirements of the law and whose work is now considered mine. I humbly submit my filthy rags (good works) at the foot of the cross and when I get the inspector's bill of approval it says: "Well done, my good and faithful servant."

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