Crucial truths – doctrine of grace

By Dave Henning / August 21, 2023

“The doctrine of grace presupposes [crucial truths], and if they are not acknowledged and felt in one’s heart, clear faith in God’s grace becomes impossible.”- Timothy Keller

“But I, with the voice of thanksgiving will sacrifice to you.  What I have viewed I will fulfill.  Salvation comes only from the LORD!”- Jonah 2:9

Timothy Keller moves on in Chapter 6 of The Prodigal Prophet with an observation about the climax of Jonah’s prayer.  In that climax, Jonah speaks of chesdh, often translated as ‘steadfast love’ or ‘grace.’  It’s a reference to the covenant love of God.

Furthermore, Pastor Keller notes, Jonah’s prayer shows that he comes to grip with three crucial truths the doctrine of grace presupposes.  Pastor Keller covers the first two truths today.

1.  Our moral ill-desert.  Pastor Keller views this as a hard message to grasp in our culture.  Because we live in an age marked by ‘The Triumph of the Therapeutic.’  For example, this concept teaches that no one has the right to make you feel guilty.  As a result, you must figure out right or wrong for yourself.

These beliefs dominate our society.  Therefore, the Bible’s persistent message of our guilt as sinners comes across as oppressive.  Even evil and dangerous.  Hence, these themes make the concept of grace unnecessary and an insult.  However, Jonah knew divine justice existed and that he deserved it.

2.  Our spiritual impotence.  In addition, we must admit that we can’t repair or cleanse ourselves from our sins.  Yet, Pastor Keller states, the most common way we try to do this involves applying the technology of morality.

Consequently, we believe it’s possible to repair our relationship with God through hard work and/or fastidious religious observance.  Also, we like to put God in a position where He must say ‘yes’ to us.

For the doctrine of grace to resonate deeply we need to admit we cannot save ourselves.

Today’s question: How do you respond to the first two crucial truths regarding the doctrine of grace?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Lip service – ‘Amazing Grace’ “

About the author

Dave Henning

Leave a comment:

Call Now Button