The word “grace” has become somewhat of a buzzword in our Christian culture being used as the measure of your kindness toward other believers, the attitude God has toward your sin and the tone that should permeate all we do as followers of Christ. Well, in reading David Platt’s book, “Radical”, I came across the following excellent quote:
“We live in a church culture that has a dangerous tendency to disconnect the grace of God from the glory of God. Our hearts resonate with the idea of enjoying God’s grace. We bask in sermons, conferences, and books that exalt a grace centering on us. And while the wonder of grace is worthy of our attention, if that grace is disconnected from its purpose, the sad result is a self-centered Christianity that bypasses the heart of God. If you were to ask the average Christian sitting in a worship service on sunday morning to summarize the message of Christianity, you would most likely hear something along the lines of “The message of Christianity is that God loves me.” Or someone might say, “The message of Christianity is that God loves me enough to send his Son, Jesus, to die for me.”
As wonderful as this sentiment sounds, is it biblical? Isn’t it incomplete, based on what we have seen in the Bible? “God loves me” is not the essence of biblical Christianity. Because if “God loves me” is the message of Christianity, then who is the object of Christianity?
God loves me.
Christianity’s object is me.
Therefore, when I look for a church, I look for the music that best fits me and the programs that best cater to me and my family. When I make plans for my life and career, it is about what works best for me and my family. when I consider the house I will live in, the car I will drive, the clothes I will wear, the way I will live, I will choose according to what is best for me. This is the version of Christianity that largely prevails in our culture.
But it is not Biblical Christianity.
The message of biblical Christianity is not “God loves me, period,” as if we were the object of our own faith. The message of biblical Christianity is “God loves me so that I might make him–his ways, his salvation, his glory, and his greatness–known among all nations.” Now God is the object of our faith, and Christianity centers around him. We are not the end of the gospel; God is.
God’s Grace and his Glory go hand in hand. It isn’t about how I feel, but what God desires. It is about his holiness, righteousness, justice, wrath and joy.
May we all be careful to have been the recipients of God’s grace and then to be so self-centered that we don’t see our need to be channels for his glory. This is a nuance in the heart of every believer that must be taken captive for the glory of God is at stake.