It is Finished
This is the title of the final chapter of Charis by Preston Sprinkle. I thought my last post would be the last on this book, but there were too many more great thoughts that needed to be shared. Here are quotes from final chapter and epilogue:
Only unconditional, stubborn love toward your enemy produces ripple effects strong enough to change the world.
We are enemies, loved and pursued by our Creator, who will stop at nothing to reconcile us to Himself. Such reconciliation happend on the cross. . .
It was Jesus' declaration "It is finished" that made God love you. And when Jesus declared, "It is finished," He meant it. God's punishment for our sin was paid for, permanently settled, finished--100 percent. If you have responded in faith to God's free pardon through Jesus, then God will never punish you for your sin. It's finished. No more. If you screw up today or tomorrow (which you will), it's already been paid for through Jesus. "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus," Paul said (Romans 8:1). None. God will not and cannot condemn you after He has already condemned Jesus for you. It's impossible. God will never be angry with you since His anger was poured out on Jesus. All of it. One hundered percent.
I have also spoken to many people who believe that the bad things that happen to them are God's punishment for their sins. An illness, failure to find a mate, even the death of a child--it must be God's judgment. But the gospel cannot be understood in terms of such tit-for-tat retribution--do this and get blessed; don't do this and get cursed. The gospel blows apart the categories of transaction and conditionality. . .
In the epilogue, Sprinkle addresses questions about obedience. Here are some of those quotes:
Energism is the third view, and to my mind, it's the most accurate way to understand the relationship between grace and obedience. . .Energism, therefore, refers to God working in and through us to do His will.
Paul's obedience, rather, was the natural-or supernatural-by-product of God's grace. Any ounce of obedience produced by Paul was ultimately the result of grace. . .Lack of obedience reveals a lack of grace. Divine grace produces the obedience God demands.
In other words, do something in response to what God has done for you.
Because grace doesn't just park at salvation, get out, and hand you the keys.
Jesus and His finished work are not just the motivation for obedience, but its enabler. Jesus's life, death, and resurrection don't just take care of your past sins, give you a fresh start. Rather, Christ's work is the energy, the fuel, the ongoing power to do the impossible: render joyful obedience to your Creator.
This is why Jesus can confidently say, "If you love me, you will keep my commandments" (John 14:15). He's not encouraging us to grit our teeth, double up our devotions, and muscle our way through the pearly gates. Rather He tells us to abide: to look to the One who enables us to obey. To submit to the Spirit, who gives us the ability to render good works to God.
Again, obedience isn't grace's enemy, but its by-product.
We are prone to wander, but God is prone to pursue. And He's faster.
If you're living in sin, don't run from grace. Run to it. You don't possess the moral power to create obedience. Only God does.