The arena of grace – Jesus the architect

By Dave Henning / August 13, 2019

“Jesus is not only the architect of the arena of grace but also the portal into it and the first to take up residence within this unnatural — this supernatural — way of being.”- Tina Boesch

But I say to you who hear, “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.  To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either.”- Luke 6:27-29 (ESV)

As Tina Boesch continues Chapter 8 of Given, she talks about Luke 6:27-29.  First, she observes, each statement represents an emphatic command.  In addition, Jesus addresses this rule to everyone who follows Him.  Thus, disobedience isn’t optional.

Furthermore, you can’t separate any of the commands from the others.  Yet, love undergirds them all.  Tina explains:

“Jesus is saying that the entire orientation of the self — in thought, word, deed, and prayer — should be focused on the good of others, even our enemies.  Collectively, these commands point to the reality that for Christians, hatred, malice, retribution, and curse are forbidden fruit.  Jesus’ teaching on loving enemies was so unexpected, so surprising, and so revolutionary that it ‘has rightly been described as the most characteristic saying of Jesus.’ ”

Therefore, the arena of grace stands in stark contrast to a world where aggression draws a fight or flight response.  As a result, Jesus calls us to override what Tina calls our adrenaline-fueled biological systems.  Also, Jesus only asks us to do what He’s already done Himself.

From the cross, Jesus showed us what it looks like to put His teaching into practice.  And, He calls us to pattern our lives accordingly.  1 Peter 3:9 exhorts us to bless rather than repay evil for evil.  Because God’s called us to bless, that we may obtain a blessing.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Extending mercy to the merciless”

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Dave Henning

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