“The law could promise life to me, if my obedience perfect be.”- Ralph Erskine (Scottish clergyman, 1685-1752)
“If you want to make people mad, preach the law. If you want to make them really, really mad, preach grace.”- Dr. Doug Kelly, Tullian’s theology professor
Tullian Tchividjian expands his discussion of judgment in Chapter 3 of One Way Love by observing that when we feel the oppressive weight of judgment against us, we tend to slip into the slavery of self-salvation. We attempt to appease friends, a significant other, even ourselves. If there’s an element of fear behind our everyday trials, the law probably isn’t far behind.
Yet, Pastor Tchividjian notes, our relationship with the law is not one-dimensional. Although we may dislike being told what to do, we easily can become addicted to control. Conditionality allows us to feel safe because it gives us a sense of control. As the author states, life may be formulaic and predictable, but it keeps power in our hands.
Against this tumult of conditionality comes God’s grace, His one-way love. Ironically, Tullian asserts, even grace can be offensive to us. While we’re offended by the law because it tells us what to do, grace can be offensive because we’re told there’s nothing we can do. The author posits that if grace generates a specific negative response in you, that part of you still is enslaved.
The good news is that Christ has met the ultimate demand, as Pastor Tchividjian states:
“The internal voice that says, ‘Do this and live’ gets drowned out by the external voice that says, ‘It is finished.’ ”
Today’s question: As you examine your response to your vocation loss, have you been addicted to law or ever felt grace to be offensive? Please share.
Tomorrow’s blog: “Fight, flight, and appeasement”