Control vs. grace

By Dave Henning / August 6, 2014

“Grace is radically unbalanced.  It contains no but: it is unconditional, uncontrollable, unpredictable, and undomesticated- or else it is not grace.”- Tullian Tchividjian

As Tullian Tchividjian (One Way Love) continues his discussion of Jesus’ meal at the home of Simon the Pharisee, he observes that, unlike the other dinner guests, we have compassion for the woman who anointed Jesus.  Christ’s interaction with Simon is more shocking, for it indicates that there was more than one person who needed to be saved.

While we don’t know Simon’s motivation in asking Jesus to dinner, we do know that Jesus wound up demolishing everything Simon knew about God.  Simon’s insidious assumption was that he thought he didn’t have a problem and was in control of the situation, unlike the sinful party crasher.

Yet, as Pastor Tchividjian posits, even those of us who have experienced God’s one-way love intuitively find it hard not to put conditions on grace when we extend it to others.  While this tendency to hedge (by retaining control) may be understandable, grace is unconditional, as Doug Wilson explains:

“Grace is wild.  Grace unsettles everything.  Grace overflows the banks.  Grace messes up your hair.  Grace is not tame.  In fact, unless we are making the devout nervous, we are not preaching grace as we ought.

Tullian concludes that God’s grace is so deeply offensive that if we haven’t been offended by it, we probably haven’t encountered the real thing.

Today’s question: What is your response to Pastor Tchividjian’s closing assertion about grace?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Lazy grace?”


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Dave Henning

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